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Old 07-10-2011, 11:10 AM   #1
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The 1890 Yellow House


Ok, so we are pretty sure that this is THE house-the one we will make an offer on, after seeing it we just fell in love...and it didn't smell like cat pee so that was a major plus!

Its a two story home, built in 1890 and a little over 2400 sq ft. It orininally had gas lights and the 'nozzles' are still in the ceiling next to the ceiling fans/light fixtures. The front yard has two koi ponds and is heavily landscaped BUT has been allowed to have free run for a very long time. The back yard has another koi pond with a little bridge going over it, and then a larger pond/pool that is in disrepair and the concrete bottom is cracked and crumbling...this one has a waterfall that starts on the 2nd story porch (which he also built himself). He used to have a monkey and over 200 exotic birds that lived in the back yard...all on a 50x150 lot.

So what I'm asking is, with those details...what should be looked for as far as possible issues with the house in the future?

He is removing all the bamboo that has taken over the backyard-which is a plus for sure!

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Old 07-10-2011, 04:56 PM   #2
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The 1890 Yellow House


A house of that age??

Look for out dated electrical--might have knob and tube wiring.--Budget accordingly.
I would pay an electrician to assess the wiring and make a plan if it needs help.

Look at the plumbing---there is another expensive item that is 100 years old.

Insulation was unheard of that long ago----figure a plan on that ----

Make sure the foundation is still in acceptable shape.


Learn the fine art of rebuilding and tightening up old style windows. Often they are worth saving and the look fits the house.

There's the short list -----more will come.------Mike-----

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Old 07-10-2011, 05:24 PM   #3
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The plumbing has been updated, the owner said the plumbing was done with PEX.
The electrical is on 20 watt breakers.
New roof in 2008.
All windows are weighted and can open/close and are original (at least all the ones I REALLY looked at-the window in the front door in a stained glass piece he created.)
The dining room/foyer are tiled while the rest of the downstairs is all original hardwood. Upstairs the floors appear to be painted and the boards are wider than downstairs. One bathroom is carpeted...the one with the huge clawfoot tub.
The foundation is good and I was actually suprised at the age after seeing the good condition it was in.
Is there anything we should worry about with the old gaslight lines?
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Old 07-10-2011, 05:53 PM   #4
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The 1890 Yellow House


Here are some pix...

Front of the house
_

Back of the house-which looks like a jungle

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Formal and Family rooms
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:37 PM   #5
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The 1890 Yellow House


The house looks nice although the landscaping is so lush that the house is a bit obscured--That's good,lots of shade.

The old gas lines should not be a big concern--they could be disconnected in the cellar if they bother you
Other wise leave them alone,

Have you checked the house wiring yet?

Plumbing? Pex is good---very good actually.

There is plenty of info on servicing antique windows---several antique home folks here--when the time comes to service your windows--ropes,weights,rot or putty you will find plenty of experienced help here.

I would like to see the Koi ponds---My folks had a nice one--I miss the evenings spent with a cold drink--good conversations and swimming fish.

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Old 07-10-2011, 07:51 PM   #6
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The 1890 Yellow House


I always recommend to people buying old houses that they hire an experienced inspector or engineer to perform a thorough examination of the house from the ground up. This is generally going to be more in depth than the standard $350 report you get from a home inspector, so be prepared to pay more than that.

Old houses often used framing techniques not currently used, often because longer and wider structural boards were available. Old houses often have settled, sometimes substantially, which can lead to floors out of level, cracked plaster, windows and doors that do not open properly. Determining the cause of cracking in an old house is generally well beyond the expertise of the typical home inspector, hence the need for a specialist. But well worth it.

You have already fallen in love with the house, so you are not likely to perform an objective evaluation of the house. That would be the job for your inspector, who should be able to assess the significance of issues, and may be able to offer some insight as to the cost to repair (again, no regular home inspector should ever offer an opinion as to means of repair or likely cost to repair, that is not their job). Your inspector/engineer should take a hard look at structural problems, especially the foundation, as those are likely to be expensive fixes. Wiring and plumbing can be expensive to fix also, but not usually as much of an issue as an inadequate foundation, or improper framing.
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:34 PM   #7
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Mike, I have not checked the wiring...not sure what to look for there. Also, there is no cellar, just a crawl space.

Daniel, After watching so many episodes of Holmes on Homes that it has driven my fiancee nuts I know that home inspectors can miss a LOT of things so I want to be sure to get someone that will find any issues that are of concern.

Thank you guys for all your advice!
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Old 07-11-2011, 01:52 AM   #8
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The 1890 Yellow House


My 1890 hours had 3/8 black pipe to supply the gas lights. Unfortunatly, the pipe is all that is left of hte gas lights. The gas piping is only on the main floor, not the second floor or cellar. I found the first gas pipe when I was cutting a hole for the wood stove chimney, with my chain saw. I was about 6 inches away from the pipe when I decided hte hole was large enough. The gas supply was about 1/4 mile away, There was a wood gasisfication plant that supplied the downtown area and residential area.
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:42 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
I always recommend to people buying old houses that they hire an experienced inspector or engineer to perform a thorough examination of the house from the ground up.
I worked on old houses almost exclusively and I counseled to get an inspection done by someone who knew old houses too. Everything from structure and how they were framed to electrical, plumbing and legacy stuff.

So long as there is no gas in the light lines it is kind of cool that they were left.

Insulation has been mentioned but move that to the top of your list. These oldies can be real tough to afford heating in the winter with old wavy glass single pane windows and nothing in the attic or walls. You might think of budgeting for storms if they do not come with the house. The ones that fit inside are nice since you do not have to scale up a ladder twice a year.

I would definitely pay extra over the home inspection (if not included) to look at the sewer by video camera, especially given that landscape growth and vintage of the house. You could be looking at a chunk of money to dig that up and fix it at a time you are least prepared for it! Or even regular rotor rooting cutter blade service.

Cellar looks dry?

Any historical landmarks on the place? Or the hood? I love such things but they will restrict you in what you can do with your home to a point. Lacking those, any sort of neighborhood association you should look into to see if they are likely to make your life heavenly or Hellish? Your real estate person should be able to give you a name of a person to chat with.

Sounds like you found a cutey. Good luck. I hope the inspections all pan out. It looks like those before you really took care of the place.

Not sure what guarantee you should ask for as to the bamboo. Just digging it out so that, for the closing, you do not see it may not do the trick and you may want an allowance for a couple attempts to abate it.

The ponds and waterfall can all be fixed. A high school friend's father en law raises Koi of all varieties if you need fish. He is in the SF Bay Area.

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Old 07-11-2011, 12:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koffinduster View Post
Daniel, After watching so many episodes of Holmes on Homes that it has driven my fiancee nuts I know that home inspectors can miss a LOT of things so I want to be sure to get someone that will find any issues that are of concern.
I would recommend you find your own inspector rather than leave it up to your realtor. I don't want to sound like I'm bashing realtors or suggesting they do anything unethical, but face it, they have a financial interest in your sale going through as smoothly as possible.
They want the guy who says "no sweat, no problem".
You want the pickiest you-know-what you can find.
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Old 07-11-2011, 01:41 PM   #11
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I would recommend you find your own inspector rather than leave it up to your realtor. I don't want to sound like I'm bashing realtors or suggesting they do anything unethical, but face it, they have a financial interest in your sale going through as smoothly as possible.
They want the guy who says "no sweat, no problem".
You want the pickiest you-know-what you can find.
And one distant from a sales commission is a good idea! Not to say a good real estate agent wouldn't find you someone good. Mine have usually looked after my interests. I just like things that don't feel too incestuous if you know what I mean.
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:26 PM   #12
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The 1890 Yellow House


Well I have an honest general contractor and a foundation guy (that he knows) going to check the place out on Wednesday. The realtor is actually really nice and suggested I find my own person if at all possible. Since all the girls I work with know the GC and he is doing all the work on our new vet clinic (I am the office mgr) he is only charging us $100 He said he will give the place a thorough look thru and get in the crawl space and check all the pipes and whatnot and the other guy will look at the foundation, of course LoL

No historical anything as far as I know...the neighborhood is pretty built up and maybe 20ft from the next yard...which is much closer to the neighbors than we are now but the house on the corner is vacant and is for sale...so thats a plus on one side at least. The other houses close by look early 1900s-1940s no one is restoring anything and the victorians have been turned into apartments-which just kills me. The big historical district is 10 blocks away so I am sure we have free reign of what colors we do LoL I REALLY want to get some history on the place though, find out who lived there/what they did and such.

The one big thing we don't like about the place is no CH/A...well the air anyway. Its been 102-108 here for the last few weeks and our window units are keeping it at 80 inside at full blast.

No cellar, that I know of.

SanFran is a bit far to get koi from...I am in Arkansas LoL
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:30 PM   #13
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The 1890 Yellow House


Greetings KoffinDuster. Curious about where the house is located. Don't worry, not looking to buy I got my own old house here in Fort Smith and was just curious about where that one is. Mine is a block off Rogers behind Hardee's.
Okay, it's the next day and I located it in the local multilist. Looks really nice inside for the pictures posted by the realtor. Looks like it still has the original moldings around the windows and doors at least as far as the pictures show. Very interesting price as well. Go here http://countyrecordsdirect.com/default.aspx?ci=35 select street address option button and you will at least get some later records. Won't go back real far but might be interesting anyway. Bamboo can be difficult to get rid of. I don't think just cutting it down will do much long term. It spreads underground is very invasive. You might want to read up on how to eradicate it online. Another consideration is that that is a LOT of siding to paint

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Old 07-16-2011, 06:31 PM   #14
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Well we made an offer and it was accepted, so we are pretty happy.
The kitchen floor will have to be worked on at some point, it has a dip in the center of it-though its very sturdy and not spongey at all...just the way the house settled after 100+ yrs. If if only needs to be jacked up it will be around a $1000, unfortunately if it needs more its potentially $4000-10000.
The contractor and foundations guy said its pretty much only cosmetic damages and if we were fine with that then go ahead and make an offer
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Old 07-16-2011, 06:35 PM   #15
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Congratulations May all your housing problems be cosmetic

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