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Old Yesterday, 03:18 PM
Location: Tucson
20 posts, read 90 times
Reputation: 15


We are planning on moving to BV in a couple months. Have struggled with the Buy/Rent question and at this point have decided to buy. I don't want to deal with the time constraints or hassles of building. I have been doing various area research and see that for most of the area, soils are not rated as very good for septic fields nor foundations/basements. OTOH they have been building that area with septic and basements since the 70's... at least.

In looking at various homes for sale, We find that the new construction seems sterile and we don't particularly care for the modern black-white-grey color scheme nor painted kitchen cabinets.

Although most of the houses we flag as 'maybe' have an open floor plan, wood, tile and granite, many also seem to have been built in the 80's ~ 2000 time period, and some of the lots are fairly steep.

This brings up several questions I haven't found answers to, and I'm hoping people here can offer some insight. So in no particular order...

o- Are septic systems problematic, needing frequent cleaning or repair... I worry that older homes may have leach field clogging from years of using the garbage disposal indiscriminately, and with tight lots and steep slopes that it is a tear-it-out and replace type of fix.

o- Although soils are well drained, considering the steep slopes, is foundation slippage, wall cracking, water seepage a common issue to deal with?

o- What versions of the building codes were in force during those periods and did the inspectors typically enforce it? Particularly the electrical code, amp service, wire type, and structural/roof/wind codes to ensure things don't blow apart. If it turns out I need to look at newer houses built after (for example) 2005 because of code updates, I would like to know that now before I waste time or put $ down.

o- I see a lot of houses listed with Heat Pumps, even with electric heat strips, I have always considered a HP as not worth using below 40 F as they tend to run all night and blow cold air. With longer Arkansas winters and periods in the 20's at night I wonder if the house will always feel cold. (We had a heat pump in our 2400 sf Arizona house and it always was cold in the winter).

o- Do the roads get icy and do they use salt/ solution to clear the roads- our vehicles are not undercoated and I would hate to see rusted body panels after a few years...

Well I guess i will stop an see if anyone responds, I'm sure I have more Q's to pick your brain with...
Thanks for all your help and we're looking forward to getting out of this purple place.
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Old Today, 06:17 AM
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
74,343 posts, read 86,691,348 times
Reputation: 44765
wow so many questions but I have a few answers: you may want to contact a reliable realtor for other answers.

1-heat pump: we have one and it now about 2 years old. The only disadvantage is, yes, they do, on occasion blow cold air for a few minutes, but no, they do not run all the time. We keep ours at 68 night in the winter and about 73 during the day. 99% of the time they work very well. We have no complaints.

2-slope versus flat lots: we are very lucky, we do have a flat lot, and there are many in the area, but there are more slopped ones. There are advantages to the slopped ones: they usually come with a wonderful view and great decks, for us, flat is much better. Our daughter has a slopped lot, level drive way and does have a finished basement. We have a lot of friends with similar types of lots.

3-Septic tanks: on the west side of town almost everyone has one: on the east the newer homes are on sewers. We have lived in our house 12 years and have yet to need the tank pumped. we just make sure we treat it every month of so with a cleaner. The down side: we do not and most other people do not use their garbage disposals, Our garbage does into the trash can for pick up. We have adjusted to this, but it did take awhile. You will find some who do use the garbage disposal. In our case, we would rather be safe than sorry. I will run it, maybe once or twice a week as things do go down it occasionally.

4-Icy roads: with all our hills and winding roads there are times when they are not too safe, but that is only about 2 or 3 times a year unless we have a really bad winter. This has not happened in about 5 years. Yes, they do prepare the roads for the weather, but if you live on or near a hill driving can be a challenge. We choose to just stay in on crappy days.

5-just one more thing: you mentioned long winters: I am not sure where you live now so long winters might be different to you than to us or others: We really do not, as a rule get much snow and ice. When we do, it lasts a day or so. Our first frost rarely comes before early to mid Nov and our last maybe March. But, sometimes the last will come in early April. That being said, we certainly do not get frost every day or even every week and if it is just frost it is usually gone by early to mid mornings. Super cold nights are not common. Right now we are going through the coldest weather we have had in a year, but by Sunday they are talking 60s and even close to 70.

6-BTW our house was built in 1993 and we still have the stained cabinets not painted. You can get lots of homes with light or dark stain, with only the very newest ones painted.

Hope this answers some of your questions.

ps; Like your comment about Sarah Huckabee
pss: I now see where you are coming from: I guess your idea of cold winters are different from ours, but I also see you lived in WV and I think VA. Hubby's family were originally from WV. A few are still there and we lived in Alexandria VA for 7 years in the 80s. Hubby worked in DC.
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Old Today, 12:02 PM
Location: Tucson
20 posts, read 90 times
Reputation: 15
Thanks for your comments nmnita,I was starting to wonder if anyone had any dealings with the issues i listed.
There are a lot of attractive older homes for sale right now and many have been updated or totally renovated. I love the stone work on many but they all seem to be built in the 70's and 80's and I detest the T-111 I see used for siding (although it appears many were well maintained). Besides septic condition, the one thing I am most concerned about is the electrical... code requirements (lack thereof), amp service, wiring, outlets etc.

Yes, I have lived in some colder climates where once it snowed in Nov, it usually stayed around until March, thankfully those days are gone. For the last 15 years I have been in Az but at 4500' where once the sun goes down in the winter it would drop into the 20's and we would have a day or two of snow once in a while. When the sun came up the temp quickly rose into the 60's. I imagine NWA not too much different except for the winter humidity chilling to the bone. Once the temp gets down around 35 there isn't much heat left in the air to pump out so most HP have an electric heat strip that comes on- very inefficient cost wise so I would look to alternatives. I was surprised there isn't natural gas in BV but understand that the hilly terrain would have been expensive to run the pipes.

Yep, old hillbilly here...grew up in Wheeling,left in 68... when I was in Va in the mid 70's, I lived in Falls Church (they were building a big store way out in the country at a place called Tysons Corner) then when I moved back in the late 80's I was out by Reston.

I consider myself a libertarian, but I tend to lean right. Any more, I don't trust any politician. Every once in a while a good one comes along that seems to want to be there in the public's interest, not their own. She seems like one of them. Time will tell.
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