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Old 05-10-2018, 01:51 PM
 
10,265 posts, read 6,495,798 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otterhere View Post
I'm considering a house for numerous reasons (location and price, primarily), but am concerned that the crawlspace is inaccessible. Although the majority of this house appears to sit directly on the ground, somehow or other there is plumbing and duct work under it (perhaps it's somewhat excavated), but there's no way to get under there and inspect. Where it IS sufficiently elevated, boards are nailed in place, and the seller won't remove them or allow them to be removed. The best I can do, I'm told, is to hire a home inspector with a remote camera that can perhaps be snaked under there, but even that may not reveal all since views can be blocked by the aforementioned duct work or other obstructions. The house is nearly a hundred years old and has its share of sloping floors (even what feels like a "hole" in one place under the new wall-to-wall carpeting), but I'm used to that, having owned old houses before. What I don't want is to buy is a house with completely destroyed sub-flooring or some other unpleasant surprise under the surface.

Suggestions?
You would be able to feel soft floors usually. Or even by lightly bouncing up and down, sometimes there is a slope in the floor if it's bad. bring a level and place it on the floor in several places to see if it's even or not. I walked into a home once and felt it right away, if it's bad you are going to notice.

If the boards are skirting, that's fine, if the boards look like they are hiding something I would run.
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Old 05-10-2018, 03:32 PM
 
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I definitely noticed the slope of the floors (no level needed), and there actually seems to be a hole under the new W2W carpeting in one place. It may be just an old opening for a cold-air return or ductwork -- or it could be the subfloor and flooring rotting away. Without being able to visualize it, it's hard to tell.
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Old 05-10-2018, 07:07 PM
 
46 posts, read 10,302 times
Reputation: 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by otterhere View Post
I'm considering a house for numerous reasons (location and price, primarily), but am concerned that the crawlspace is inaccessible. Although the majority of this house appears to sit directly on the ground, somehow or other there is plumbing and duct work under it (perhaps it's somewhat excavated), but there's no way to get under there and inspect. Where it IS sufficiently elevated, boards are nailed in place, and the seller won't remove them or allow them to be removed. The best I can do, I'm told, is to hire a home inspector with a remote camera that can perhaps be snaked under there, but even that may not reveal all since views can be blocked by the aforementioned duct work or other obstructions. The house is nearly a hundred years old and has its share of sloping floors (even what feels like a "hole" in one place under the new wall-to-wall carpeting), but I'm used to that, having owned old houses before. What I don't want is to buy is a house with completely destroyed sub-flooring or some other unpleasant surprise under the surface.

Suggestions?
Run. The hole in the floor under the wall was likely an old register. If he cared so little about the obvious stuff, imagine how conscientious he was about the work done in the dank cavern that had to be permanently sealed
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Old 05-11-2018, 07:28 AM
 
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I forgot to mention: a rolled marble works equally well for determining if a floor slopes or not, but - again - most old houses (this one's close to 100) have sloping floors. The previous owner actually died (I'm told not IN the house); his lone survivor prepared it for sale from a distance, and probably as quickly and cheaply as she could. How common are these inaccessible crawlspaces, what with settling and whatnot? I've managed to come across two of them just in the past couple of months...
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Old 05-11-2018, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Virginia
3,462 posts, read 1,642,859 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otterhere View Post
I forgot to mention: a rolled marble works equally well for determining if a floor slopes or not, but - again - most old houses (this one's close to 100) have sloping floors. The previous owner actually died (I'm told not IN the house); his lone survivor prepared it for sale from a distance, and probably as quickly and cheaply as she could. How common are these inaccessible crawlspaces, what with settling and whatnot? I've managed to come across two of them just in the past couple of months...
Hey, I can roll a marble in different directions in adjoining rooms. It doesn't bother me as I know what the foundation looks like and I've had work done to it as well under the direction of a structural engineer. It would make a huge difference if I had NO idea what was causing the slope and I was unable to access the space under the house to determine the cause. In fact, it would have kept me from buying the house.

Look, it really sounds like you are trying to talk yourself into the house purchase. If so, good luck. Personally, I know that the sloping floors of my house will be a deterrent to the next purchaser, simply because most people think that it means that the house is in danger of falling in. It's just something else buyers can use to lower the purchase price. Keep that in mind if you ever plan to re-sell this property. I will say that the nearby town that has a number of houses with inaccessible crawlspaces doesn't seem to have too much negative effect from that situation, price-wise; however, that is a beachfront town, so that's also a big plus factor. I do know that the drainage is awful there and the effect on those houses is dreadful as far as rot and joist and subfloor damage. Having no real crawlspace also creates plumbing and wiring nightmares.
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Old 05-21-2018, 10:05 AM
 
7,080 posts, read 3,780,855 times
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I think I've better formed the question in my own mind: aren't sellers REQUIRED to either disclose information about or make available for inspection all areas of the house? That is, couldn't you come back later (if a problem were "unearthed," no pun intended) and allege that the seller purposely nailed boards over the opening of the crawlspace and wouldn't permit their temporary removal (at buyer's expense) to allow access? Wouldn't this be comparable to, for example, applying stucco over a serious crack in the foundation in order to move (again, no pun intended) a problem property needing an expensive repair?

At any rate, it's all moot now; after sitting on the market for a year with no action, the house is under contract to someone else.
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Old 05-21-2018, 01:44 PM
 
Location: on the wind
4,131 posts, read 1,540,807 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otterhere View Post
I think I've better formed the question in my own mind: aren't sellers REQUIRED to either disclose information about or make available for inspection all areas of the house? That is, couldn't you come back later (if a problem were "unearthed," no pun intended) and allege that the seller purposely nailed boards over the opening of the crawlspace and wouldn't permit their temporary removal (at buyer's expense) to allow access? Wouldn't this be comparable to, for example, applying stucco over a serious crack in the foundation in order to move (again, no pun intended) a problem property needing an expensive repair?

At any rate, it's all moot now; after sitting on the market for a year with no action, the house is under contract to someone else.
There are some aspects sellers are required to disclose (such as lead paint) and others that are less so. I think states determine what is mandatory. You'd have to prove the seller deliberately misled to have recourse afterwards.

IMHO, think you dodged a very expensive bullet.
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