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Danandleniaus 10-29-2012 01:42 AM

1900's wooden home repair or remove?
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Hi there everyone, My partner and I are new to the Real-estate game and we have been offered a renovators delight for a starting point (Location is GREAT in the town) at a very reasonable cost. (so it seems, i'm not sure if it really is or not)

On paper, the property would rent out very well, as its walking distance to the CBD of town, and not in too busy of a street. We are looking at this as a long-term investment, not a repair and sell type investment.

I am a Qualified Mechanic, with a very strong Mechanical Engineering background, however i have an understanding of how to work to a guideline, and i'm very practical with hand and power tools (sometimes a bit slow, but very accurate)

Anyway thats enough about myself,
The house we are looking at is a 3 Bedroom property, right on the edge of town, its an early 1900's wooden house, with a few alterations along the path of life.... I know its had a chimney removed at some point (not very well) and its been re piled (stumped) however, I feel the foundations have slipped again in that time.
There is about a 2" drop over the length of the house (say 25') which I would imagine could be jacked back up, possibly spacers ontop of the stumps, or adjusted bearer heights to make up for it)
We are looking to see what has actually happened to the house which has caused the house to do this, and would this straighten when the back of the house is lifted 2" (and foundations repaired accordingly)

The first photo shows the back of the house, the upper floor level seems to have moved back i guess this is around 2" or 2.5" and the 2nd photo shows the angle of the timber (should be vertical) boards inside, i know the 1' steel rule shown is not a "100% verticle" however it gives an idea, Electrically its good for another 14 years, so it has been up graded at some point. the 3rd photo shows some of what i can see from the storage space under the staircase, it looks fairly recent.

Is it possible to pull the upper floor forward (so to speak) to the front of the house again to straighten the back edge up? replacing the bearers and beams, joices' etc doesn't worry me too much. however if the house is almost impossible to straighten, its a bulldozer and build again type job. nor does the plaster on the inside walls (if done slowly, i'd imagine it would straighten again, as it doesn't seem to have been repaired over the time)

The middle of the house has been concreted to fill up the space and make a floor, so there is no wooden section in there, its possible to put a sand base, then chip-board and a floating wooden floor over the top. however I guess this would limit how much the back section of the house would move (approximatly 12' this is the most severly altered section)
anyway, all information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and looking forward to your replies!

Dan and Leni :)

oldognewtrick 10-29-2012 04:35 AM

:welcome: to House Repair Talk.

Have you bought this yet? Call a structural engineer and get them to give you a report of the condition and what is required to get this in a safe condition.

Ttainet 10-29-2012 06:06 AM

I agree with old dog/new tricks to engage a structural engineer.

All foundations settle. A structural engineer may do is to determine if the structure shifted through differential settlement or if the house continues to move. They may install gauges and record if there are any movement over time or givee you an educated guess based on their experience and knowledge.

You notes pile footings. Is the soil sand? The structural engineer may require a geotechnical assessment of the soil, bearing capacity, water table to understand if the piles and footings are appropriately designed.

You may have to spend some money up front and do som Due diligence before diving into the work. Anything is possible but there is a cost associated with it. This will help you assess the costs and scope before investing to much capital or sweat into the project.

nealtw 10-29-2012 10:36 AM

We all like a bargain. The problem with coming here for opinions is that you will only show photos of things that you see as a problem. You need a trained eye to look this over and lay out a plan. Your best bet is to spend the money on the engineer and have him draw up the plan of action. Then if you go ahead come back for advice for how to implement his plan.

notmrjohn 10-29-2012 01:55 PM

Run, do not walk away from this place. If you are looking for a starter investment property look for one that is not quite such a bargain but needs less repair. Once you've gained experience in what you can't see until you start to fix some minor problem, and rebuilding those things, a place like this might be a long term investment. Long term in repairing, long term in recouping investment.
This place needs rebuilding not repairing. Upper story that far out of whack is not just pull it straight and drive a few nails. Those beams underneath didn't just slip loose, severe stress did that.

I've built houses from ground up, built additions, repaired many. This is kind of job I'd like to be hired on. I could buy new bass boat and truck to tow it. Unfortunately I would not get sense of accomplishment for finishing job. You'd run out of money.

I hope you mistyped and didn't mean 12 feet out of line. I sure don't like mass of concrete in middle of house, that might have to be broken up and hauled out in buckets to get to other things.

Don't know what kind of "partnership" you have but consider a retired carpenter who never got that big job that payed for a boat. Mebbee heorshe'd enjoy riding around and seein your possibles for a modest fee. Spend a little now and kiss it good bye to save a lot later that will knock you down when it says good bye.

joecaption 10-30-2012 10:25 AM

I Googled money pit and a picture of that house came up.
It does not happen often but I'm with Notmrjohn on this one.
Way to many major flaws.
Unless you can get it for less then the lot would cost just not worth it.
It has to be less because it's going to cost thousands to get it torn down and hauled away.

notmrjohn 10-30-2012 12:13 PM

"I'm with Notmrjohn on this one." !!!!!!

You feelin OK, joe? Didn't get whopped up side the head with a 2X4 or sumpin?

Danandleniaus 10-31-2012 12:20 AM

Thank you all very much for the replys!!!!! (And so quickly)
As for the structrual report, we are trying to get hold of a builders report from the previously interested people, the owner is sending us a copy, we are also applying for a plan of what was originally involved, and whats been modified from the city council. We have not paid for the property (or even agree'd to) as yet.
As for the Value, we are looking at the land value for the place, so thats why the original question was repair or bulldoze, however we are still uncertain! it would all be done diy (there go's that Bass boat and truck you were thinking about) lol except for maybe the foundations, but we are looking into some contractors and prices first.
sorry about the 12' reference, i was meaning the majority of the house was looking ok, but the last 12 feet of the building had really dropped a lot, and this was behind the concrete slab, and also the section where the chimney has been removed from one wall (right next to the edge that has moved back, as shown in the first photo)

thanks again for the advice, and i'll keep you all updated with what i find and decide to do! :) cheerio for now
Dan and Leni :D

nealtw 10-31-2012 01:01 AM

A builders report? Sounds like a contractors opinion. Get three and have three different opinions and three different prices and no answers. Hire an engineer.

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