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amandamy 05-05-2013 12:49 PM

Older home with updates. Is it worth buying??
My fiance and I are on the fence about purchasing our 1st home. Here are the details

100 year old house. Youngest child is selling to settle estate of two parents who recently passed away.
3 bed 1 bath
on 1/2 acre, yard slopes down to trout stream.
Out of town

6 years ago the house was updated through HUD. Updates are as follows...

New electrical wiring through out entire home
New roof/decking in attic
Blown in insulation
New septic/leech field etc.
hot water heater/water pump
Heat is forced air/oil
New siding (blech)
Most plumbing is new as well
New vinyl windows

The house is outside of town but with neighbors who are good people. It is in dire need of TLC on the inside. Cosmetically it is hurting. Bathroom needs to be redone (it actually has cedar shake in the shower)! Lathe and plaster through out but not all walls will need to be redone but most ceilings and walls will need to be replaced or patch.

We have looked at it 3 times, last time with a contractor who said the main foundation/sills are in good condition but the back foundation, where the kitchen and storage are has some rot on one side due to poor drainage of neighbors raised driveway... Old dug well may need replacing someday but is fine for now. The house is also full of CRAP!

they are asking 40,000. Realtor says they are willing to go in the 30's. I say offer 25!

Question is, what are we missing? Is this a great deal? It seems all major updates are taken care of. We do not have experienced family to go to for advice... Talk this out with me please! haha

dthornton 05-05-2013 11:30 PM

1. Do you LIKE the house? 2. Could you see yourselves in the house, and can you live with it "as is" while you renovate? 3. Have you had a house inspection done? Cosmetics can be a minor issue if the "bones" are good and the price is right. 4. What is the appraised value? 5. What does the realtor realistically think it would appraise for once you make the needed improvements? 6. How long do you realistically intend to stay there if you buy it?
We bought a 120 year old house a year and a half ago for a great price. We have plumbers replacing all of the metal plumbing (the water, not sewer) with PEX. I'm rewiring as I go (PART of the house had upgraded wiring, but part of it was still knob and tube). The siding is original wood and mostly in good shape. We have to paint it. It is very satisfying getting things finished and knowing "we did that". BUT, we have to watch how much we put into it. It should realistically bring between $60,000 and $80,000 when we finish. We only plan to be here maybe 5 years or so, therefore it will have to be "sell-able" for at least what we have in it when we're done. Also, it is "hell" living in the middle of a construction zone. (Watch the movie, "The Money Pit" with Shelly Long and Tom Hanks. That will be your reality until the house is finished!) Offhand, it sounds like it would be worth it if you can get it for around 30k. You need to have your "own" realtor - not the seller's realtor (They are obligated by law to represent the best interests of the seller. If you have "your" realtor, they are obligated by law to represent YOUR best interests and will give you good advice on home values in that area, making offers, etc). If it were me, I'd start with an offer of maybe $28k. Of course they will probably counter a lot higher, but you can counter their offer as well. As you go up in the money you offer, you can ask for closing costs as well as specific repairs, to be borne by the seller. WHATEVER you do as far as offers, be sure that it is contingent on; 1) Your being able to arrange acceptable financing, and 2) A home inspection. That way, you either have an "out" or bargaining power if for instance the house inspection reveals a rotten wall, or bad water heater, etc. Good luck to you, and keep us posted!

kok328 05-06-2013 06:08 AM

Personally, I'd pass. Too many newer homes on the market in turn-key condition to compromise with something this old. You get what you pay for.

nealtw 05-06-2013 08:48 AM

Three visits, you are all ready sold on it.
Will you be using contractors to do the work? Have you worked with contractors before? Or can you do the work yourself and do you have any experience?
How much is the land worth if there was no house on it?
How much are the turn key houses worth in the area?

A turn key house may only look good with many surprizes so a house like this may be a better deal, as long as it is cheap enough at the start.

amandamy 05-06-2013 09:43 AM

We decided to not go with it. We were a bit excited about doing the work ourselves. In our late 20's, active and physically (hehe) healthy leaves us eager to put some elbow grease into a home. However we felt we were kind of forcing the pros to out weigh the cons and possible future problems with the home.

We decided since we would have to take out extra, up to 10,000 extra, to even make it healthy and livable we might as well save us some work and time and just find a home in move in condition.

Thank you all for your responses and time. It really helped.

nealtw 05-06-2013 10:22 AM

When you look at houses, take photos of anything questionable and post them here. People here are happy to help you with what else to look for.

Frank0 05-07-2013 12:30 AM


Originally Posted by amandamy (Post 86698)
We decided to not go with it.

Consider yourself lucky. Who knows what kind of God awful mess you could have gotten into considering its probably worse than you think.

bud16415 05-07-2013 05:44 AM

We recently bought very much the same house you described. We closed on the house two weeks ago. 100 plus years old with great bones. It also had all the HUD work done with a new 200 amp service, siding etc etc. The inside was also a mess and being a short sale the owner left it full of junk. The house wasn’t interesting to house flippers as the area at this time isn’t selling much and there are a lot of move in ready homes not selling.

So why did we buy it? Well cost was first we basically bought it for the worth of the land it sat on and secondly I have done similar projects before and know the work and the reward of doing this. I’m not a home inspector but I did go thru the home with a fine tooth comb and was aware I would miss stuff at that. I also knew the work that remained was all stuff I could handle myself. We are in no big hurry to move in and that makes a huge difference as I have lived in homes under construction and you might as well triple the time involved.

The plus side is you get the place cheap enough you don’t have to live with things as they are and have the option of making every detail what suits you. Older houses and low cost houses like this around here have super low taxes also. In our case just the tax savings over ten years will pay for the price of the house. We are the type people that like the adventure of this also and would rather spend our weekend painting and tinkering with renovations than playing golf. We already bought a used oak kitchen off line that was over 100 miles away and hauled it home in a cattle trailer. We bought 700 sq ft of laminate flooring used also on line that came out of a new construction never used but the owner wanted darker hardwood. Friday I bought several double hung Anderson windows almost new off line and Saturday I bought 3 used exterior doors to use in the house. So in two weeks the value new of the upgrades might have been $15,000 to $20,000 and I have about $2,000 into stuff that will work and is as good as new or at least better than what we would have most likely found in a move in ready lower cost place. It killed me to go to Lowes Saturday and pay full price for a truckload of wood. I do try and reuse what I can out of any demolition work we do. But sometimes you have to bite the bullet. A contractor doesn’t have the time and you don’t have the money to have them do stuff this way but as a DIY project and allowed the time to look around there are great bargains out there.

I see you have already decided not to go with the house so my advice might be for others whose eye was caught by this thread. You really have to know your skill set going in and be realistic. You also need to know you need a fair amount of tools and equipment to go along with the skills. The TV shows complete the job in 30 minutes and in real life 30 months is maybe more accurate an that’s staying on task most of your free time.

I plan on starting a build thread with photos here documenting our process. I have been taking the photos but have been too busy to put them up to this point, but will soon.

Now back to Craigslist I still need a fridge and washer and dryer. And who knows what other pieces of the puzzle I will find today.

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