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starry 04-20-2009 05:17 PM

first home
 
Hi everyone,
Just a quick question, Just wondering if anyone who has bought an old home with a stone foundation has regreted this?
We are looking to buy and have looked at everything from new homes to very old homes to condos. Going to look at an older home tomorrow with a stone foundation and not real sure what im looking for (red flags) Im just being told I dont want stone and im not sure why not. Just curious how others view this? I can do minor projects like painting etc.. but this is a whole different level and think help and advice from other will be needed :)
Thanks
Jenn

DaveyDIY 04-20-2009 07:54 PM

My last house was on piers - built in 1905
My regret was no basement
But the price was right, less then my truck :D

Nestor_Kelebay 04-21-2009 01:23 AM

Jenn:

I realize this comment doesn't address your concerns over stone foundations,but...
...if I were you, I would look for a house built between 1950 and 1970.

The reason why is that copper plumbing became common around 1950. Prior to that most houses were plumbed with iron supply pipes, and they gradually cake up with rust on the inside, discolouring the water and pinching off the maximum flow rate.

Also, after 1970 was when the baby boomers were all getting married and buying homes to start families in. That created a great demand for houses, and so plumbers, electricians and carpenters all started demanding higher wages, and the price of houses shot up. As a result, builders tried to keep the cost of houses affordable by lobbying the government to lower the standards of residential building codes. And, the government complied. That's when you saw aluminum electrical wiring showing up in houses cuz it was cheaper than copper wiring. And, fir wall studs got replaced with spruce wall studs. (You can't even find fir wall studs for sale anymore!) And particle board underlayment replaced fir plywood underlayment and fir plywood or lumber gave way to spruce plywood subfloors and so on.

I don't know if this is the case in the US, but I was told according to our Canadian government, spruce is just as strong as fir. That reminds me of the joke: "If ducks are considered to be geese, then if you have 18 ducks and 16 geese, how many geese do you have in total?"

Sixteen. Calling a duck a goose doesn't make it a goose.

And, if it wuz me, I would try to find a house that hasn't had it's basement renovated or a deck added in the back yard and that wasn't renovated by the current home owner. The reason is that the homeowner is going to want you to assess the value of his work as that of a professional. Whereas, this might have been the first time he's done these kinds of projects, and the renovations he's wanting you to buy for top dollar contain all of his learning mistakes. At least with no renovations, you won't be paying extra for bad decisions, dumb mistakes and/or built-in problems made on his way up the learning curve.

(I don't think that stone foundations are as much of a problem as buying a house that was built at a time when fuel was cheap and insulation unheard of. It's all the other technologies of the time that would need to be updated as well, like the plumbing, electrical wiring, windows, heating system, etc. and all of the technologies in the house that are no longer current; like ornamental plaster crown moldings and such. If there's a roof leak and that plaster gets damaged, who does that kind of work anymore, and how much is it gonna cost to fix?)

DaveyDIY 04-21-2009 08:24 AM

Very good information
Our current house is from the 50's - nice & solid
The plumbing is copper, main stack is cast iron
Bathrooms have PVC

The wiring service was upgraded to 200a - that is nice to have
But the wiring itself, while copper - was the older cloth covered type
Only one run was 2 wire without a ground - replaced fairly easily as it was basement wiring
The rest of the wire was fine, but a lot on the 2nd floor has been replaced due to renovations

The house was original - down to the 50's kitchen
I have now dormered the back, added a 3 season front porch, re-built the 3 season back patio room (had been demolished) into a sunroom, now adding a garage/great room addition

If you are handy then its best to look for something you can add on to or improve to increase the house value. If you only do paint & minor stuff then look for a house that you like "as is". Or that you can afford to hire someone to do the work. While most house values have dropped in the current market ours has gone up

Good luck


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