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Old 04-08-2018, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Near Falls Lake
2,310 posts, read 1,682,175 times
Reputation: 2151

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Having owned the 100 year old house, my recommendation would be to watch "The Money Pit" prior to purchase!
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Old 04-09-2018, 07:41 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
24,737 posts, read 59,671,842 times
Reputation: 26895
A good home inspector who will actually work at it is extremely hard to find. A good home inspector who actually knows anything about historic houses is virtually impossible. Better to educate yourself.

If you go with an inspector give them a little test up front. Work into your conversation a little test to see if they know the difference between and benefits and downsides of brace framing, balloon framing, platform framing. Do they know what a diaphragm wall is and when it is reasonable to use? If they say all Knob and tube wiring must be replaced, they do not know what they are talking about. If they identify all unevenness in floors as a major problem that must be corrected - find someone else. If they say they would ever recommend installing Vinyl windows to replace wooden windows, find a different person. You can spend weeks interviewing potential inspectors without finding one who will be anything but useless or detrimental. Best to educate yourself, which you will need to do to some extent in order to figure out whether a given inspector is of any value whatsoever.

There is no real test or knowledge requirement for an inspector. They may have a contractors license, but then you have to ask "why aren't you contracting?" One solution is to talk to people who actually do the work (in old homes). Get a plumber to look at plumbing, an electrician who knows old systems to look at electrical, a roofer to look at the roof, a foundation contractor to look at the foundations. Make it clear they are not auditioning for a job. Pay them for their time and try to choose people who are not likely to be trying to get work form you. Also, absolve them of liability. Otherwise, they will tell you everything needs replacing, just to be safe.

This can all be expensive, but you are considering what is likely to be the biggest purchase of your life. It is worth a little time effort and expense to help you make a wise choice.
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Old 04-09-2018, 08:51 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
7,060 posts, read 8,219,454 times
Reputation: 9333
Quote:
Originally Posted by carcrazy67 View Post
Having owned the 100 year old house, my recommendation would be to watch "The Money Pit" prior to purchase!
Trust me, that movie is definitely on my mind in this situation.
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:57 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
22,749 posts, read 21,804,424 times
Reputation: 27822
Quote:
Originally Posted by johngolf View Post
ADD ON

My last two homes were new builds. I want what I want, the way I want it, and when I want it. I could only get all this with new builds.
Carpet in the bedroom? Not for me. I'm not going to launch into a rant, but I don't like that floor covering.
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Old 04-11-2018, 05:59 AM
 
Location: Norfolk
1,574 posts, read 1,981,635 times
Reputation: 5073
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
A good home inspector who will actually work at it is extremely hard to find. A good home inspector who actually knows anything about historic houses is virtually impossible. Better to educate yourself.
You can find a good home inspector, but if I were advising a home-buyer today, I would *urge* them to hire me, or someone like me. I am an architectural historian with a background in construction, and I can tell you more about your old house than you might ever want to know.

Thing is, me (and people like me) don't necessarily hire out, but we do home inspections as a kindness for friends and relatives. Thing is, those friends and relatives often don't listen, and end up in nightmarish situations.

Years ago, I had a "relative" who bought a house without seeking my advice. Instead, she hired a home inspector who did a crap job. Later, the house was found to have extensive damage to the sheathing (due to an experimental material being used and then failing). The cost of repairs was more than $50,000.

She called me after the fact, and I had to bite my tongue and ask why she didn't call me before she bought it.

If I were buying a house today, and I didn't know me, I would hire an architectural historian to give an assessment.
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Old 04-11-2018, 06:13 AM
 
522 posts, read 134,574 times
Reputation: 957
Get a professional and thorough inspection prior to purchasing. Make it contingent on final decision to buy.

STLG
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Old 04-11-2018, 06:19 AM
 
1,528 posts, read 729,353 times
Reputation: 2062
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
A good home inspector who will actually work at it is extremely hard to find. A good home inspector who actually knows anything about historic houses is virtually impossible. Better to educate yourself.

If you go with an inspector give them a little test up front. Work into your conversation a little test to see if they know the difference between and benefits and downsides of brace framing, balloon framing, platform framing. Do they know what a diaphragm wall is and when it is reasonable to use? If they say all Knob and tube wiring must be replaced, they do not know what they are talking about. If they identify all unevenness in floors as a major problem that must be corrected - find someone else. If they say they would ever recommend installing Vinyl windows to replace wooden windows, find a different person. You can spend weeks interviewing potential inspectors without finding one who will be anything but useless or detrimental. Best to educate yourself, which you will need to do to some extent in order to figure out whether a given inspector is of any value whatsoever.

There is no real test or knowledge requirement for an inspector. They may have a contractors license, but then you have to ask "why aren't you contracting?" One solution is to talk to people who actually do the work (in old homes). Get a plumber to look at plumbing, an electrician who knows old systems to look at electrical, a roofer to look at the roof, a foundation contractor to look at the foundations. Make it clear they are not auditioning for a job. Pay them for their time and try to choose people who are not likely to be trying to get work form you. Also, absolve them of liability. Otherwise, they will tell you everything needs replacing, just to be safe.

This can all be expensive, but you are considering what is likely to be the biggest purchase of your life. It is worth a little time effort and expense to help you make a wise choice.
Good points. This is part of the reason why (see other thread) it's nonsense for agents to always refer a single inspector. Or give a standard list of 3. There are many different types of buildings and you can't deeply understand them all.

I had a very good inspector through the purchase of a circa 1900 Victorian. My test was understanding of solid wall construction and what issues to look out for. I had a preferred choice through a trusted (non agent) recommendation but I also interviewed 3 others. When i mentioned 1900 solid wall masonry and asked about their experience and what they looked out for with that, 2 pretty much said that they are very solid and much better than today's construction and since it's brick, you don't really have much to worry about. WRONG ANSWER! I won't even go into the discussion about slate roofs (and specifically 100+ year old ones).
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Old 04-11-2018, 09:50 AM
 
Location: Mendocino, CA
858 posts, read 478,369 times
Reputation: 561
If Montezuma National Monument is up for sale, I would buy it.
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Old 04-14-2018, 03:26 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
31,223 posts, read 57,365,082 times
Reputation: 52083
Quote:
Originally Posted by NDak15 View Post
If you get a house in good shape it won't own you any more than you let it.
Isn't that what I said?
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