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Pros and Cons to buying 100+ year old homes?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by KRAZIE87K5, Jun 6, 2004.

  1. KRAZIE87K5

    KRAZIE87K5 1/2 ton status

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    I've been looking to move into a little larger house for some time now. My wife is really into the older style homes. We went looking today and found this home:

    http://64.53.225.17/113crawford/default.htm

    What are the upsides and downsides to buying a 100 year PLUS old home? We thought of lead paint, the cedar siding rotting, and the basement never being able to be finished.

    I'm a rookie at all this stuff, and really have no idea. We're serious though... as my wife is looking to possibly put an offer on this house soon.

    Comments? Questions? /forums/images/graemlins/dunno.gif /forums/images/graemlins/dunno.gif /forums/images/graemlins/dunno.gif

    -Dan
     
  2. bigyellowjimmy

    bigyellowjimmy 1/2 ton status

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    Pro's- character, style, history and often built on a large lot.

    Con's- Old plumbing, wiring, plaster, heating and air conditioning usually not forced air into each room, higher utility bills.

    /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  3. outlaw612

    outlaw612 1/2 ton status

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    The biggest problem with the old homes (in my opinion) is the lack of energy effeciency and old utilities. Ours was built in 1924 and is structuraly very sound but there is no insulation anywhere. Most of the problems can be fixed by a DIY guy like yourself, just do your research and dig in. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    Personally Id rather work on my house than the truck most of the time. /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif
     
  4. Z3PR

    Z3PR Banned

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    If you're going to buy a house, have it inspected. It's worth it to pay a inspector so you'll know what all is going too need to be done. /forums/images/graemlins/deal.gif
     
  5. KRAZIE87K5

    KRAZIE87K5 1/2 ton status

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    Matt-

    Yea, I'm a good DIY guy, but I don't know a dang thing about homes. I could probably figure it out though... my guess is that once I get the hang of it I might just like working on the house more than the truck too! /forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif

    Right now there is an 80 year old lady living there, and she's been there longer than I've been on Earth. Her son has done some work around the house like painting, appliance upgrades, and light remodeling. The roof was replaced in '01, after a complete tear off. I'm guessing you might be onto something with the lack of insulation... I HATE insulation too... but I'm sure there are better ways to deal with handling insulation than I've been used to in the past.

    The inside of the house is in great shape, and it seems very steady still considering its age. However, the outside of the house still has painted cedar siding, with all the detailing, stained glass (in certain places) and extra wood work which comes with homes like these. The paint on the house right now is in need of being redone. I have NO clue if its worth trying to keep the cedar, or if its just better to upgrade to vinyl siding. The houses on either side of this home have already (recently) upgraded to vinyl, and they look sharp! /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif

    I'm really kind of excited about it truth be told... I'm just a chicken though seeing as I know little to nothing about home remodeling. Time to go buy a home depot remodeling book maybe??? /forums/images/graemlins/doah.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    -Dan
     
  6. KRAZIE87K5

    KRAZIE87K5 1/2 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    If you're going to buy a house, have it inspected. It's worth it to pay a inspector so you'll know what all is going too need to be done. /forums/images/graemlins/deal.gif

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Yea, I currently own my home I'm in now. We had this one inspected by a friend in the business. He does an extra particular inspection for us on the homes we are serious about. /forums/images/graemlins/woot.gif

    -Dan
     
  7. darkshadow

    darkshadow 1 ton status

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    nice looken house, no insulation is a big worry but if you work away at it you can finish the rest of the work wiring ect.
    nice looken house though how much? i'd buy it /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif
     
  8. jakeslim

    jakeslim 1/2 ton status

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    the only drawback is that they are usually haunted with the likes of the forever punished...doors opening by themselves, footsteps at 2am and your the only one in the house and not walking, cries of pain in the attic, chills on your neck, buried bones in the backyard(zombie issue), and of course the little girl in the hallway wearing the long white dress pointing at you to follow her to the light...
    OTHER THAN THAT, sounds like a good deal /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif
     
  9. Capman2k

    Capman2k 3/4 ton status

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    Wow, that's a sweet house /forums/images/graemlins/yikes.gif

    I grew up in an old house... I don't know what year it was built, but when the landlord had the kitchen remodeled, they found the walls lined with newspapers from 1924, so we assume it's at LEAST that old... /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif /forums/images/graemlins/peace.gif /forums/images/graemlins/peace.gif /forums/images/graemlins/peace.gif /forums/images/graemlins/peace.gif

    Old houses are pretty cool... except they get all creaky sometimes
     
  10. 84gmcjimmy

    84gmcjimmy 1 ton status

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    Don't watch the movie ColdCreek Manor if you move into that house /forums/images/graemlins/doah.gif
     
  11. beater74

    beater74 1/2 ton status

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    another problem is after you spend ALL your money fixing up the house you woun't have any money left for your rig.

    my house is only 45 years old and in the last 6 months i've spent colse to $10,000 on it /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif

    now ask me how much progress i have made on my rig. /forums/images/graemlins/doah.gif
     
  12. outlaw612

    outlaw612 1/2 ton status

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    Im currently dealing with both vinyl siding on my house and the cedar on my in-laws house. They are both durable and attractive sidings, but Im lazy and dont want to paint so the vinyl is for me. Cedar siding is very expensive to replace if you ever need to repair anything.

    If you get the house and decide to upgrade to vinyl, that is the perfect time to solve the insulation problem by blowing in cellulose insulation. It requires 2 holes to be drilled into each cavity (between the studs) and is blown in with a machine that can be rented. Cellulose is shredded newspaper that is mixed with a flame retatdant and doesnt have the ichiness assosiated with fiberglass.

    Lots of fun working on homes and unlike the trucks, your home will appreciate and you wont lose your ass if you decide to move. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
     
  13. outlaw612

    outlaw612 1/2 ton status

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    BTW, that house sounds really similar to ours (history wise), the house we bought was my aunts from the 40's untill 02 when she passed away and we bought it last year. Very out dated but very solid and well built.
     
  14. newyorkin

    newyorkin 1 ton status

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    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
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    See if you can find out exactly what's been done. My house is 1920's design (it was built over many years), and has an endless stream of problems I've been absorbed in. The only systems really up to modern times are the floor 1 bathroom waste pipes, replaced in the 80's, and most electric after a 1981 fire. Oh yeah, ask if it's ever had a fire... This house used to be a tinderbox (insulation helps).

    We had a main structural beam replaced a couple years ago because of 70's or 80's termite damage, most of the basement floor re-poured after a tree decided to send it's roots under the house and got watered by the shower leak for years... I could go on and on and on, especially with the crap it still needs *cough*foundation*cough*.

    But, this house absolutely rocks when it comes to running wire, fixing damaged wall plaster and installing new outlets. The living room has more character than my high school class photo. There's some wierd amazing thing about these cruddy old houses that's immensely appealing. My boss is going through the same thing, he just has a lot more money than me.

    Insulation is a real good point. We have the blown-in stuff all over the place, and I guess it's helped, this house isn't really that drafty, and when it warms up in winter, it warms up.

    Old houses are built pretty stout. My house has 4x8 joists throughout the basement. It's like they just squared some trees and layed them across the foundation.

    And then you'll have to put some money into it.
     
  15. Storm Trooper

    Storm Trooper 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Well, it's a beautiful house but.......
    Old houses like that usally have galvinized water pipe which will tend to rust inside and plug or leak or loose pressure because it plugs up.
    The heating systems are also a mess. They have cold rooms, cost a fortune to run and could fail at anytime. Most back east are forced air but some are gavity without a blower that really costs you and suck at heating a house.
    I know that the roof was replaced but looking at the pictures, the outside ceiling looks like it was damaged. The rot that could have taken place may have caused additional unseen damage in other places. Make SURE you check all the wood you can for rot (soft wood) or even a simple window replacement will turn in to a nightmare.
    The mortor on the blocks for the basement looks like they have been patching it and if it is desinigrating, then the basement will leak.
    The wiring on some of the old houses can be really dangerous and could cause a fire.
    Most of the old windows bearly work and don't seal worth a dam (more wasted fuel dollars).
    The siding has been painted and painted and painted. They didn't even do a good job and painted over the cracking, chipping paint so when you want to redo it, it will be a real pane.
    If you ever decide to change a room or remodel and the walls are plaster (not drywall) if will be a major job.
    Not to mention that the walls aren't square and the floors might not be level.
    Don't forget the sewer. The piping in the house maybe fine but the piping underground to the street could be in bad shape and made out of materials that will fail at anytime making you dig up the yard. If it isn't deep enough, then it will freeze in the winter time.
    The garage floor level looks low enough that when the snow builds up it will become a pool in there.
    I might be missing something but you asked /forums/images/graemlins/dunno.gif.
    Don't get me wrong, I still think it's a nice house but I know how much work it could take and I hate to see someone get stuck in a place they can't sell if they want to.
    On the other hand, if things check out and you fix it up it might just make you some money.
    My last house was built in 1935, then moved from down river to town from a ranch, then moved to the new town because they were turning the area into a lake. I guess you could say it was a mobile home /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif.
    I bought it for 71K and sold it for 267.5K after a lot of work and ten years, so who knows???
    By the way, go rent the movie "Moneypit".
    I hope it works out and I wish you the best with whatever you decide /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif.
     
  16. beater_k20

    beater_k20 Banned

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    [ QUOTE ]
    the only drawback is that they are usually haunted with the likes of the forever punished...doors opening by themselves, footsteps at 2am and your the only one in the house and not walking, cries of pain in the attic, chills on your neck, buried bones in the backyard(zombie issue), and of course the little girl in the hallway wearing the long white dress pointing at you to follow her to the light...
    OTHER THAN THAT, sounds like a good deal /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif

    [/ QUOTE ]
    our last house (the one we livied in from the time i was born until right before i turned 18) was built in 1929, at least that's what the materials reciept we found in one of the walls said. it had a lot of character, but some things that really freaked me out. from time to time when i was growing up, there would be a silvery cloud that would sit down on my mom's bed beside her in the mornings. never any negative stuff, but enough to freak her out. right before my sister was born they decided to build on to the house. they gave me their old room, and took the other bedroom in the new section of the house. i experienced the silvery cloud a few times, but just blew it off as my eyes playing tricks on me early in the mornings. i didnt find out about my mom's experiences with it until a month or so after we moved out. the doors closing, we had that too. one could be explained because it was not plumb, you could actually see the wall leaning a little bit. what could not be explained was the force at which it was closed sometimes. sometimes it would just gently go closed, then others it was an obvious slam. never did it with the windows open either. /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif the general creepy basement things, like the window between the basement and the crawlspace from when it had been built onto sometime prior to my parents buying it. something i dont like about a "room" that only gets light through a window into a most of the time dark basement, and yet plants still grow in there. not sure what they were, but they were obviously growing in there. no, no grow lights either for those of you who might be thinking that. /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif

    overall though, the experiences i've had with older houses (mostly helping relatives with remodeling projects, and general repairs) older homes seem to be easier to work on, and can be alot more fun. as was mentioned earlier, you can find alot of neat stuff when remodeling an old house. i mentioned the materials reciept, but also when i tore up the carpet in my room when i was 16, i found under the carpet was linoleum, and under that were newspapers for late 1969. i found alot of neat stuff in those newspapers. ads for the local Chevy dealer, and their "brand new 1970 Camaro". also happened to find the classified ads. looking through some of those ads made me absolutely sick. classic cars that even a high school kid could afford. tri fives for under $200, 64-67 Chevelles for under $500, even saw an ad for a '63 Vette for $1300.

    neat stuff really, i'd dive in.
     
  17. hi pinion

    hi pinion 3/4 ton status

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    Couldnt have said it better /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif
     
  18. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    Lots of folks that I worked with in Massachusetts got sucked into the "charm" of an old house. At the time (mid-80's) I saw people buy a home for $150K and then spend ANOTHER $150K "fixing it up". /forums/images/graemlins/yikes.gif Unless it's been rewired, you'll find BARE wiring running through the attic, strung from one ceramic insulator to the next. /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif

    Storm Trooper already covered some of the plumbing nightmares that you can expect to find.

    You can also run into structural problems as well. There wasn't much in the way of inspections or even building codes back then. So it isn't unusual to start on a small project, only to find that the joists, main supports, etc. are WAY below todays minimum standards once you peel back the wall coverings. Suddenly a $2,000 project becomes a $20,000 project. /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif

    When the wind blows outside, it will also blow inside. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

    Old houses LOOK really awesome. But if you aren't prepared for the cash outlay that owning one can create, it can put you in a world of financial hurt. /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif Quite often, just the additional money that an old place costs in heating/cooling bills alone can be enough that the monthly cost would have bought a nicer new house. /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif Add in the water heater or furnace that fails at 3:30 on a Saturday morning, and any of a thousand other things that can go wrong with a house that old, and the monthly cost can get astronomical quickly.

    Just think about what a hassle it can be to drive a 20+ year old truck, and how often it needs repairs. Now think about all the stuff that can go wrong with a 100 year old house! /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif You can easily become a financial prisoner of your home...

    Then again, perhaps you can cut a deal with Hometime or Bob Vila to come and fix your place up on the cheap for ya! /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  19. newyorkin

    newyorkin 1 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    You can also run into structural problems as well. There wasn't much in the way of inspections or even building codes back then. So it isn't unusual to start on a small project, only to find that the joists, main supports, etc. are WAY below todays minimum standards once you peel back the wall coverings. Suddenly a $2,000 project becomes a $20,000 project.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Yah, I can kinda vouch for that. My house doesn't even have a CO (cert. of occupancy) because it was built before they were required.

    I actually just picked up a bunch of carpentry, plumbing, and finishing books copyrighted 1923 that I'm using to figure out some of the stuff in our house.

    ...And we're also giving thought to just throwing in the towel and getting the frig out while we still have some cash in hand...
     
  20. 70jimmy

    70jimmy 3/4 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    I am very familiar with the problems of a house like this. Dad bought his in 1972 and still lives there. We redid basically the entire place.

    Wiring: Nothing grounded a lot of two prong outlets and if there were 3 prong they weren't grounded anyway. Wiring may still use old style fuses. Ours were glass screw in about the side of a quarter and hard to find. We rewired the entire house.

    Plumbing: already covered. Ours had iron pipes and copper water lines. Condensation problems caused mold issues. Poor water really killed faucets toilets etc. re replumbed entire house.

    Roofing: had to replace the old style 6 inch boards with spaces that were under shingles with Plywood or should I say OSB oriented strand board. new flashing very important.

    Siding and trim: Wood siding took a beating. We pressure washed entire house then used a filler to fill all cracks etc. 3 coats primer, 3 coats paint sprayed with airless sprayer. All trim boards replaced due to rot from poor gutters.

    Windows: May not open easily may have to strip paint off and take material off window to make open decent.

    Interior was all lath and plaster. We gutted all rooms and sheetrocked after adding insulation. Nothing is square everything had to be custom cut. Some areas varied over one inch in 3 feet.

    Flooring: ours was hard wood flooring throughout. Sanded and refinished. Sweet.

    Definately add insulation to attic and anywhere else you can. We got a big improvement by adding ventilation to attic. The circular spinning fan things then we put a screen door on the entrance to the attic. Helped immensely with air flow.

    Basement: Some of the walls were crumbling. Old brick. We jacked up the entire house and took out the basement from underneath and put new in. Old ceiling height was 6 foot in basement which put the light bulbs about 5'6" I am 6'2 made for problems. Now it is 8 foot. Old concrete is like iron. We had to use jackhammer to take out floor and footers. We tried with sledge hammers and after 10 minutes we had about a 1/4 inch depression in footers.

    Small projects definately snowball. We started once with wanting to replace toilet, sink, and put in a new vanity with medicine cabinet. That required new plumbing, wiring, floor work, we put in a new tub and shower combo.

    Watch the movie money pit with tom hanks and shelley long. My dad says it is the story of his life only we did all the work.

    Now for the good news. Dad got the place dirt cheap. $12,500.00 for the house barns and 12 acres. borrowed about $30,000.00. and now it would go for about $250.000.00 or more. His payments were dirt cheap and he was able to pay off all other bills. Great place to grow up lots of room. Each of us had a bedroom and a playroom of our own. TV room, living room, big yard. I also used what I learned redoing the house to build my own home and as a job for several years.

    It is a big commitment to buy a house like that but there ar many rewards. Lots of info out there on how to remodel and redo stuff too. Good luck. /forums/images/graemlins/hack.gif /forums/images/graemlins/grind.gif /forums/images/graemlins/weld.gif /forums/images/graemlins/whistling.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thinking.gif /forums/images/graemlins/deal.gif
     

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