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Old 05-17-2010, 09:00 AM   #1
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Things to look for in a waterfront home...


Hey guys!

So i'm house shopping and I am unfamiliar with waterfront homes.

I've rented in the suburbs so I am not sure what red flags I should be looking out for...

The homes I have seen all seem to be built ontop a crawl space and range in age from 1920-1940.

Alot of the homes seem to have a noticeable "lean" to them... this normal?

What key things should a home inspector look for? Or should I just contact someone that just deals in foundations :-x

Thanks guys!

Chris
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Old 05-17-2010, 09:37 AM   #2
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Things to look for in a waterfront home...


Key thing for me is if the house is in a flood zone
We bought a house right next to a small stream but we are out of the flood zone
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Old 05-17-2010, 01:54 PM   #3
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Things to look for in a waterfront home...


So to narrow this down...

When I look in the crawlspace..

What are big signs the foundation is about to say "i'm done" and fail?

How should the crawl space be sealed/insulated?

How should the house be sealed/insulted from the crawl space?

I'm use to basements... kind of a different beast here.

Thanks again guys!
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Old 05-17-2010, 06:17 PM   #4
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Things to look for in a waterfront home...


Here is a good article about conditioned crawlspaces that someone shared. http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...wner_resources
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:17 AM   #5
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Things to look for in a waterfront home...


What does having a home in a flood plain consist of?

Looks like this one is indicated as such.
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Old 05-19-2010, 01:28 PM   #6
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Things to look for in a waterfront home...


House in a flood plain has serious restrictions against it including possibly not being able to rebuild if destroyed.
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Old 05-19-2010, 02:03 PM   #7
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Things to look for in a waterfront home...


Find out how much Flood Insurance is too
And regular insurance may be more too
Some waterfront homes are higher up on the banks
Others are lower & flood in storms
Just a couple feet can make a big difference
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Old 05-19-2010, 02:10 PM   #8
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Things to look for in a waterfront home...


You homeowner's insurance wil be able to discuss all things flood-plain related with you.

Per what to look for - adequate drainage away from the home. This is just a gimme with any home, whether it's near water or not. If water doesn't drain *away* from home when it rains then it's likely to go into your crawlspace which promotes a host of problems (I speak from experience).

Signs that water frequently gets under your house:
If you have plastic it's likely that you might see tiny puddles in the folds - or evidence of old puddles that have slowly dried out leaving a ring of dirt around it.
Water-level lines on piers and pillars, etc.
Lifeforms like frogs, lizards and turtles will live in a crawlspace if it gets routinely wet.

If your near water - as in, it's really close (back yard stream, nearby lake) then that means it will take longer for heavy rainwater that puddles to drain off. So you'll want to make sure that if you have flat spots in your yard they're not going to force the water to sit near your house.
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Old 05-19-2010, 02:13 PM   #9
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Things to look for in a waterfront home...


I'm trying to get ahold of the Building Department now to see if they have any information on that among other things.

On the east side of the property there is a large (6foot) storm wall that is on the Lake Erie side. (From top of the wall to water level is around 12feet).
On the west side of the property there is a detached garage... then the road... then a 5foot grassy area that drops off into the canal (maybe 3foot drop).

I'll also ask the negibors about insurance and if/when they've been flooded last.

At first glance it seems like it'd take ALOT for this spot to get flooded (like Lake Erie rising a couple feet). But I do need to double check.
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Old 05-19-2010, 02:33 PM   #10
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Things to look for in a waterfront home...


If it seems you have adequate height for drainage off your yard then look into the normal and extreme water levels. What might seem normal, now, might be low - or high.

You need to remember that being near a body of water, especially a feed-in creek - means that everyone else's water will be coming by your house. If the water level, now, is even just a few inches lower - when it comes back up to a normal level it means that it's just *that* much more water in the creek. Creek areas flood when the run-off of a storm gets "clogged up" - either with just too much water or with debris.

that 6' high retaining wall was put their for a reason. . . I'd be leary.
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Old 05-19-2010, 02:38 PM   #11
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Things to look for in a waterfront home...


I used a Fema map to look up my address for Flood map

http://www.msc.fema.gov/webapp/wcs/s...0001&langId=-1
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Old 05-19-2010, 02:59 PM   #12
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Things to look for in a waterfront home...


Hmmm according to this I would be in a Zone AE but would not be located on a "floodway"

However it does classify my area as:

Special Flood Hazard Areas Inundated by 100-Year Flood

Zone AE Base flood elevations determinded.


Whatever that means :-x
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Old 05-19-2010, 06:12 PM   #13
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Things to look for in a waterfront home...


Not sure what kind of waterway you're at, but from experience I'd want to know if the part of the waterway you're considering living on is an area considered as "Party Cove," if you know what I mean.

Many folks look at properties on a Monday, not realizing that all day Saturday, and late into weekend nights, the area that looked so peaceful and serene during the week can become a drunken spectacle on certain days during the boating season.
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Old 05-19-2010, 06:17 PM   #14
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Things to look for in a waterfront home...


Lake Erie is not prone to flooding like a river. It is however prone to very large storms with very large waves. Depending on where you are on the lake it may not be a problem. You could be protect by a point etc.
Here is a pic from last week small storm on the north shore and one from the next day.

Things to look for in a waterfront home...-may-8-2010-002-small-.jpg

Things to look for in a waterfront home...-may-9-2010-001-small-.jpg
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Old 05-20-2010, 08:17 AM   #15
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Things to look for in a waterfront home...


Ohhhh yeah it will look like that.

The people next door said that it's not uncommon for some waves to break and splash up and OVER the stormwall haha.

The house is still a good 30feet back from that thou so that shouldn't be a problem

I will keep you guys posted on the property/home and if all goes well I can make a "home redo" post.
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