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Old 09-28-2012, 06:16 PM   #1
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Help with "as is" house and structural issue...


Hi everyone... I'm hoping someone can help me out here. I'm looking at a house that is a FANTASTIC DEAL and the inspection was all good except for the structure support under a small addition to the master bedroom. The inspector said that to have an engineer come in and fix it could be $10,000. Gross. It's not a lot of space so I'm wondering if anyone knows enough about this stuff to know if it's generally possible to just remove the addition and be done with it? The outside of the house is concrete blocks so putting in the wall wouldn't be very expensive or time consuming. I just don't want to take on more than I can handle That being said, I'm having a friend who flips houses look at to get his take on it and since I will straight up own the house in 9.5 years it may actually be just a small problem that we can stabilize and worry about later but I'm having my anxiety attack NOW and need to know how hopeful I can be. *phew*

Thanks in advance!

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Old 09-28-2012, 06:28 PM   #2
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Help with "as is" house and structural issue...


You could remove the addition, but fixing the structural issue will be way less work. Call a few local contractors ad have them come take a look at it. Without seeing exactly what you're talking about, I couldn't give you an estimate on what it would cost. $10000 seems a little high though.

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Old 09-28-2012, 06:42 PM   #3
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Help with "as is" house and structural issue...


Well I thought about it and I would bet that the contractor was giving the price FIX FIX it. I mean, the house was built in 1943 so everything in it isn't nearly as level as the stuff they build today. I'm thinking it would probably be better to say that I want to STABILIZE it. It's totally fine the way it is now... just as long as it doesn't get any worse. I think what he's talking about is essentially re-doing it and pouring foundation underneath. Truthfully if it comes down to that, the addition can kiss it. There is just a small crawl space underneath the addition so big, hefty permanent support beams aren't really an option... That being said, I think we can probably come up with a solution that maybe a home inspector wouldn't like but one that stabilizes the area for safety reasons. To be quite honest, the fact that I'm able to get this house when you combine my income, student loan debt, and 2 children is an absolute miracle so I don't foresee selling any time soon and having to explain our methods to potential buyers

I mean, I think we're talking a space that's maybe 32-40 sq ft.
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Old 09-28-2012, 06:53 PM   #4
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Help with "as is" house and structural issue...


Not one picture of what the problum is and you want use to suggest what to do?
Simple and easy to fix, to who?
Can you do any of this repair work on your own? If not then make some calls to some masons and see what it's really going to cost.
Taring that addition is not going to be free.
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Old 09-28-2012, 07:07 PM   #5
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Help with "as is" house and structural issue...


Ah Joe, I tried to explain it the best I could. I didn't want to know what to do per say, just to know that I wasn't totally screwed. I panicked, cut me a break.

And NO WAY am I doing all the work. Are you kidding? Did you see how flipped out I got over THIS? I know how to do some things, but obviously I'm not qualified to handle this problem.

I needed general options, reassuring words, and for someone else to tell me that $10,000 seemed high to them too. I'm also lucky enough to have a few friends with varying construction experience (including one who flips houses for a living) who can help out with things that are too advanced for me but before I start draining the bank, who will work for reasonable prices or pizza and beer (well, the beer comes after the work!).

Plus, for a girl, I'm pretty awesome at swinging a sledge hammer.
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:35 PM   #6
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Help with "as is" house and structural issue...


I think pros here can give a semi accurate suggestions with some pictures of the problem area.

Do you think you can post some pictures? Maybe include what the inspector specifically saw as problems?

It's good to hear that your friends with construction experience will be taking a look.

Good luck
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:07 PM   #7
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Help with "as is" house and structural issue...


I am reluctant to suggest whether $10K is realistic or not even though I know what you would like to hear. Red flags for me are that you said there is only a crawl space under the addition and the inspector found it was not properly supported. That means it may come to pass that you have to hollow out under the addition just to get to what has to be shored up with new foundation, floor joists, joist hangers or whatever the issue. That could get labor intensive in a hurry. It would be handy to know exactly what the inspectors report said needed fixing. Don't take Joe too seriously as he needs photos of everything and snaps at people now and then.

Also if you gave us the dimensions of the addition correctly you are talking 1,280 square feet. I wouldn't call that an insignificant addition. I would be curious if permits and inspections ever happened when it was built.

I guess my final question to you is whether the inspectors report is going to keep your bank from lending and you from closing on this? Will you have any trouble getting necessary insurance if the structure is questionable? I think in addition to having your flipper look at the situation I would take the report and talk to an architect or engineer to see what you are up against. One should be willing to offer an initial consult with you for free. And do not be frightened, architects and engineers are not just for the rich and are fun to work with. They can save you oodles of money too. You will then have another opinion on how to proceed.

I hope that if this really is a great deal without too many surprises it works out for you! Good luck.

Last edited by user1007; 09-29-2012 at 12:40 AM. Reason: Minor correction
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:48 AM   #8
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Help with "as is" house and structural issue...


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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
I am reluctant to suggest whether $10K is realistic or not even though I know what you would like to hear. Red flags for me are that you said there is only a crawl space under the addition and the inspector found it was not properly supported. That means it may come to pass that you have to hollow out under the addition just to get to what has to be shored up with new foundation, floor joists, joist hangers or whatever the issue. That could get labor intensive in a hurry. It would be handy to know exactly what the inspectors report said needed fixing. Don't take Joe too seriously as he needs photos of everything and snaps at people now and then.

Also if you gave us the dimensions of the addition correctly you are talking 1,280 square feet. I wouldn't call that an insignificant addition. I would be curious if permits and inspections ever happened when it was built.

I guess my final question to you is whether the inspectors report is going to keep your bank from lending and you from closing on this? Will you have any trouble getting necessary insurance if the structure is questionable? I think in addition to having your flipper look at the situation I would take the report and talk to an architect or engineer to see what you are up against. One should be willing to offer an initial consult with you for free. And do not be frightened, architects and engineers are not just for the rich and are fun to work with. They can save you oodles of money too. You will then have another opinion on how to proceed.

I hope that if this really is a great deal without too many surprises it works out for you! Good luck.
Thank you! It's not 1280 sq ft. The 32 to 40 is square footage, not dimensions. I didn't measure exactly, but the addition is just to the side of the master bedroom and really didn't need to be put on at all. I doubt that there were permits... the owner and her husband (who passed away in 1998) had lived there for over 50 years. The addition has been on for about 40 years.

I tried to reply the other day with my idea but my internet crapped out for a bit. I decided to go ahead and take the house. I flipped out for a second because I was worried that I couldn't take it on, but I think stabilizing it until I can build up some more cash to actually fix it will be fine. Just to give you an idea of what pushed that decision through, I'm getting the house at roughly 60% of the appraised value, I paid $5000 down (hence the current lack of cash--I really only have about $2000 for immediate use) and the remaining amount is seller financed with no interest. I would be a fool to pass that up just because of the tiny little addition.

It's just that it is an old house and there are several other things that should be done to update it and I had a mini anxiety attack LOL I have a 6 x 8 section of roof that needs patched--will take me a lot of time to get it done, but not money. (Edit: The roof isn't leaking, the inspector just said to get it done within the next year... I'd rather not risk it and want to have that done before we start getting snow.) I also need to cover the tiles in another addition that the man built on because they are asbestos tiles. The electrical box should be updated--it works fine for now, I just don't want to put too much strain on it. The hot water heater is old and is gas... I'm debating on whether or not to switch it to electric, but I want it to be an option--which will certainly require the electrical box upgrade.

I also have a storage building and a workshop to tear down. Cosmetically, I just have a lot of painting and floor covering to do. The house looks like it's stuck in 1968. AND I need to decide if I want to remove doors or just leave them... The original house was 4 rooms and a bathroom. It's now 8 rooms, 1.5 bathrooms, an odd hallway with a bench, and an AMAZING (and sturdy) porch that that is the entire length of the house. There are 5 doors just leading from outside to inside and in the side entry there are 3 doors just until you get into the main part of the house. I joked that if anyone ever tried to break in they'd get so turned around they would just end up back outside!

I know it's a lot to do, but I will completely own the house in 9.5 years. Looking at my financial situation as it sits now, realistically, I will likely only have $1000 a year for the first 4 years to sink into it. After that, about $2000 for the next 5.5. It's just too bad I don't have all of that now LOL I'm pretty comfortable believing that I can keep it safe and slowly improve until I can really bust loose on it in 9.5 years I truly don't mind sinking all my spare change into this place. The yard is lovely, the house is full of character and charm, and the neighborhood is old and not over-crowded like the newer developments.

I will be able to get better pictures of everything within the next 2 weeks. The financial documents will be ready to sign next week and then I can switch over the utilities I'm free to move.
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:59 AM   #9
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Help with "as is" house and structural issue...


Just tearing off the addition may not be the only thing. You will possibly have to figure out how to support the wall/roof that the addition was attached to as well as fill in the big hole in the house...
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:32 AM   #10
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Help with "as is" house and structural issue...


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Originally Posted by hand drive View Post
Just tearing off the addition may not be the only thing. You will possibly have to figure out how to support the wall/roof that the addition was attached to as well as fill in the big hole in the house...

This ^^^

Demo permit, dumpster fees, back filling & landscape work, closing-off and finishing interior/exterior surfaces and possible rooflines, along with electrical, heating, and any other terminations (and permits)- could cost you upward of $5000 to $10K.

I'd suggest looking at structurally correcting the area first - as others have already stated = get local estimates from reputable and legitimate contractors.
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:09 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by AtlanticWBConst. View Post
This ^^^

Demo permit, dumpster fees, back filling & landscape work, closing-off and finishing interior/exterior surfaces and possible rooflines, along with electrical, heating, and any other terminations (and permits)- could cost you upward of $5000 to $10K.

I'd suggest looking at structurally correcting the area first - as others have already stated = get local estimates from reputable and legitimate contractors.
I know there's no electrical running through that wall currently. Like I said, tiny and pointless--I think he just got bored and wanted something to build. :/ It's quite literally *just* a wall. If I were a smart girl, or simply not panicking, I probably would've put that in the original post but... Well, I was freaking out because I wasn't counting on being faced with that right out of the gate. Also the 1/2 story above that was made into 2 bedrooms is not sitting over the addition either, thank goodness.

So here's a question that you may or may not be able to answer without any pictures: With the house being concrete block would I likely need additional support in the actual wall? I was under the impression that after it was blocked back up that I would just need to insulate it, put up a frame, and hang drywall. I'm no expert for sure, but I believe that pulling back the roof will be more time consuming than costly.

I won't attempt any of this insanity without professional supervision because I know that 1) I'm not qualified and 2) any "surprises" would totally screw me, but I'd like to have a probable idea of what I could be up against.

Edit: Obviously haven't decided which way to go here, but the more information I have, the less panicky I feel and the more confident I'll feel discussing this with a local pro. You guys don't know me and can't screw me out of thousands of dollars so I don't mind so much if you think I'm a idiot.

Last edited by rnk84; 09-30-2012 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:33 AM   #12
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Help with "as is" house and structural issue...


it's not a fantastic deal unless you know how to fix it cheaply. asking people that can't see it will not get you a lot of good information on how to fix it.

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