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Perry401 02-27-2013 12:39 PM

Options for new basement
I am relocating and have found a possible house to buy. It was built around 1930 and is 2-1/2 stories. Everything upstairs looks pretty nice and there is a lot of old woodwork, hardwood floors, etc. which make it appealing. It recenty was rewired and re plumbed, has a new roof and repainted outside within the last 5 years, etc. The only issue is the basement.

One wall in the basement had tilted in. A previous owner had this repaired with "Gorilla Posts", and had the wall jacked back to close to square. A structural engineer has signed a document stating that the wall was "stable" but it is ugly and there are other issues in the basement. The walls are some type of old masonry units -- larger than todays concrete blocks and there are marks from lots of leaks. Some of the blocks have slid in a few inches, making me think they have little mortor between them that is still good. The blocks appear to be solid (without cores like modern blocks) and about 12 inches thick.

The house is a steal since no bank will finance a house with such a bad basement. I have the cash to buy without financing. I can afford to get the basement replaced, based on estimates. At the same time I would have the basement floor lowered (or upper floors raised) to increase basement headroom. and add footers and foundations for a much needed attached garage. Starting with a "clean slate" in the basement, I could build in more usable floor space for a "man cave", recreation room, shop, playroom for the grand kids, nice laundry room or whatever.

Please give me opinions on which method is best. These have been proposed by the foundation people and the local building inspector I have talked to:

Option 1 -- Lift the house, create a ramp down to the basement level, tear out the old foundation, dig out deeper footers, pour footers, pour foudation walls, lower house pour new basement floor.

Option 2 -- Since there is space on the lot, move the house entirely off the foundation, build a new foundation, move the house back onto the new foundation. (This is practical since nobody is living there now.)

Option 3 -- Since there is room on the lot, build a new foundation adjacent to the existing foundation, move the house to the new foundation, remove the old foundation and fill. The existing house could be used for a while until the actual "move date". The contactor estimates that there would be "about" two weeks to a month when the house could not be used as the actual house move occurs.

All three methods wind up being within 20% of the same cost, based on initial proposals. While Option 1 requires the smallest amount of house moving services, Option 2 requires the most (since they have to move the house twice). Options 2 and 3 free up the area when the old foundation is removed and new are built -- speeding up the process and reducing labor costs. Option 3 is actually the cheapest, Option 2 second, and Option 1 the most expensive. There are no overhead clearance issues and only a few shrubs near the house that would be in the way of any house move. There are no code issues or asthetic problems associated with moving the house as described in option 3.

Bondo 02-27-2013 03:48 PM

Ayuh,.... If the new site suits the house, go with option 3#, 'cause it's Cheaper I guess...

Beepster 02-27-2013 04:21 PM

Option 4 - Find another house.***

***Unless the purchase price PLUS the moving/building new foundation/etc. is still a screaming good deal.


bbo 02-27-2013 04:34 PM

GuyI used to work with did option 3. he was very happy with it.

his house was set back very far on his lot ( looked out of place with the rest of the block .. his house was the oldest if I remember right) so when it was moved to the new basement in the front it looked more in tune with the neighboorhood.

you can get the basement and foundation exactly like you want, have beams put in so totally open floor plan.

thats said, I'd find another house like beep's option 4.

Canarywood1 02-27-2013 06:09 PM

The logical one is option #3

joecaption 02-27-2013 06:33 PM

You need to go back and post your location.
I just can not imagine a house that nice that it would be worth all that effort when there's thousands being sold dirt cheap that would just need some paint and a few DIY fixes.

gregzoll 02-27-2013 06:43 PM

If the neighborhood is good, not run down, or bad criminal element and building a new structure is not going to be a loss, go for it.

Perry401 02-27-2013 08:56 PM

Option 4 (find someplace else) is still a possibility. I will need to be absolutely sure I am not creating a money pit before taking on such a job. I plan to have two friends, one a very good real estate appraiser and one who runs a commercial construction business give the house a good inspection to try to avoid any pitfalls.

The house has been on the market for almost a year now, and the price has dropped to about half the original asking price -- and that was low due to the inability to qualify for any type of standard bank financing. THis means the cost now is about 1/3 of what comparable houses in the area have sold for in the last year or so. It also is the only house on the street with an extra wide lot, and having a new basement and attached garage would certainly make it eligable to be priced, when sold, near the top end of nearby houses.

The cost of the new foundation/house move will be about 50% of the cost of the house. This means the total cost would be about half of what compairable houses are worth. I have been looking for something like this for several months and had passed over it a few times when I called the realtor and they ask if I would be using bank financing -- informng me that every attempt to sell the house through bank financing had failed. Of course, I was not going to tell them how deep my pockets were or how I planned to finance a purchase either.

The neighborhood is stable. Many houses have upgrades like in-ground swimming pools and one has a tennis court in the back yard. There is a huge public park which is well maintained across the street. Houses on either side would be a steal at three times the price ask for this one, and I would seriously think of buying one of them if it was on the market at those prices.

If I buy it, I plan to use the house as a home for a period of at least 2-3 years, perhaps more, based on what my employer wants me to do and if I decide to retire from the "real" work world. This would be the ninth house I have bought and fixed up -- each with more and more problems but also more and more potential to make money. Some I have done and immediately resold. Some I now rent. Some I have lived in myself. This house would fall into the last group. If I buy it it will be the most complex job I have done -- but also the one that will generate the most profit if sold.

gregzoll 02-27-2013 09:22 PM

I would say then, go for the tear down & rebuild. They do it in a lot of places. We have a neighborhood here, that like most areas, they tear down everything but one wall, and call it a remodel, so they can get around the New construction permit. One place where my brother in law did that with a home built back in the 50's. Tore it all down, left one wall, and built a whole new structure.

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