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Old 04-12-2013, 02:18 PM
225 posts, read 682,304 times
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Recently saw a house in “as is” condition, which as you can imagine, means it needs some work. Location is great and price is noticeably lower than other houses on block (obviously partially due to repairs needed).

Various renovations that would be needed (including bathroom gut) would probably come in around 20k or so (ballparking). Given location/cost, it would be worth it.

However, there is one issue I’m wary of that I’m not sure whether or not it is worth it. Many of the rooms on the first and second floor slope. Seems to happen around the same spot in the middle of the house where there is almost a bump and house slopes in both directions from there. It’s definitely noticeable and on the first floor, there are some cracks in the wall around this area and the floor boards don’t meet the floor in all parts. I suspect one of the previous owners probably took down a weight-bearing wall near the middle of house which may (or may not) be the culprit. So the cause would have to be determined, fixed, and then all the floors would have to be leveled. Does anyone have any idea what kind of time/cost we are talking about here (4 bedroom house)?

I know everyone is different and every situation is unique, but for a first time buyer who isn’t handy and would already have approx. 20k in other rennos to deal with, should we walk away from this? Keep in mind we haven’t bid and therefore haven’t had inspection, so there may be more issues than we are even aware of besides these.
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Old 04-12-2013, 02:39 PM
Location: The Triad (NC)
32,586 posts, read 76,032,147 times
Reputation: 40399
Originally Posted by NJHomebody View Post
price is noticeably lower than other houses on block...
Lower by how much?

If the "slush fund" isn't at least $100,000 this sort of property will make those capable of answering
the sorts of questions you have shy. Such a property shouldn't even be considered by those who have
to ask those questions.
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Old 04-12-2013, 02:43 PM
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,085 posts, read 73,787,049 times
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If it is an older house it could be differential settlement over the years. In that case, the cost is $0. You just live with it, it is not hurting anything. If it is something that needs correcting the costs can be all over the place. It depends on the type of construction and the nature of the problem. Sometimes pier and post issue can be easily correct by simply cutting down a few posts. That can cost less than $1000. A cracked floor joist or an unevenly settled concrete slab could be very very expensive.

You are going to have to find an expert to look at it. Problem is finding a true expert instead of someone who is just a good salesman and really does not know what he is talking about. Ask around the neighborhood to see if others had similar problems and who they used for the fix.
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Old 04-12-2013, 04:40 PM
Location: Out there somewhere...a traveling man.
42,573 posts, read 56,735,774 times
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I'd suggest hiring a structural engineer, his fee may save you 1000's of dollars. Then at least you'll know what's involved and can get estimates on the costs.
And you may want to walk away from it and leave a headache for someone else.
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Old 04-12-2013, 07:08 PM
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Even if it is just minor differential settling, can you live with it? Personally, that's something I find disturbing to live with. Chairs roll across the floor, pens roll of desks, furniture sits crooked, and every time you walk over the sloping part it feels odd. Plus there's the problem that no renovation you do is going to square up unless you fix the problem. I may be picky, but I've rented a few places with that issue and avoided buying one with a perceptible slope.
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Old 04-14-2013, 09:11 PM
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Have a structural engineer look at it. Uneven floor can be just that, uneven and not a problem other than getting used to it.

If the foundation is ok or can be corrected without breaking the bank, you can float floors to give you more or less level living areas. Carpets areas will be less noticeable tile or other hard surfaces will show it more but again, can be corrected.

Are you going to change floor covering? If so and the engineer gives you an ok for safety and so on, floating some floors during the remodel is no big deal.
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