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Old 01-07-2008, 11:26 AM   #1
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What to look out for on a 40s House?


I am in the process of purchasing a house built in the 40s. (approx. 45-49) I am having it inspected for termites and having a home inspection. I was wondering what to look out for and what are the most costly repairs to watch out for first.

I know it has asbestos siding. The service entrance isn't the best. It will need a new roof over the carport. It has been vacant for 10 years. It currently has the electricity and water on. It doesn't have many receptacals in each room. Sometimes only 1 per room.

It is approx. 1000 sq. ft. with a crawl space. The laundry room is outside in front of the car port and the breaker panel is there also. It does have a breaker panel but the wires from the service entrance to the meter and the panel are quite long. It sits up high on a hill. The more info the better. I am currently reading as many books as I can to learn about homes. Thanks.

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Old 01-07-2008, 11:35 AM   #2
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What to look out for on a 40s House?


What type of plumbing does it have? What type of electrical panel (breakers vs. fuses, and what brand of breakers)? Why kinds of wiring?

Where are you located? The climate will make a difference in what's important. For example, the state of insulation and weatherproofing is very important in my area, but in Florida that wouldn't matter so much, and gators in the septic tank might be a more relevant issue.


What's the price you're paying relative to similar houses in the area? That will set the expectation of how much you could be willing to spend on upgrades. Few problems are too expensive to remedy, but if the purchase price is only $20,000 below similar houses, then something like a complete plumbing and electrical replacement could be unfeasible because you'd spend more on the house + repairs than you would on one already in better condition.

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Old 01-07-2008, 11:47 AM   #3
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What to look out for on a 40s House?


It does have breakers. The house is in Eastern TN. So it does get cold but not really much snow. It gets hot in the summer. The home is in an area with many larger homes and there is really nothing to compare it to in the immediate area. This is the first time it has been forsale since new. The land is wonderful and I like the house but I don't want to put a lot of $$$ into it. The electrical is 120/240V going into the service entrance. I am not sure of the size of the box. The wiring looks quite old to me.
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Old 01-07-2008, 11:47 AM   #4
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What to look out for on a 40s House?


One of my biggest hassles (my house was built in '38) is the fact that more than half of the receptacles in my house are not grounded (3-prong) or polarized (one prong wider than the other). It's an inconvenience for me because I have a lot of electrical "toys" and until I can afford to replace all the outlets, I have things plugged in in less-than-safe ways.

That said, I should point out that with a little electrical knowledge, replacing those things is a piece of cake, and fairly inexpensive for the most part. Adding new outlets can also be fairly easy, but that totally depends on location, materials, etc.
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Old 01-07-2008, 11:54 AM   #5
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What to look out for on a 40s House?


Look very closely at just about everything.

Updating an older house, whether it's mechanically, structurally or athetically, will always cost more. It requires craftsmen and technicians who are familiar with older materials & methods.

Here's an article from my website that will give you a broad overview:

http://www.wrightworks.net/Old-House...ng-Article.htm


What I most look for when inspecting an older house is whether or not the house has been updated and what the quality of those updates has been. A good home inspector will be able to tell you the state of the plumbing, electrical & HVAC systems. Be very careful about water infiltration in the basement/crawlspace. If you inspect on a dry day, you may not get to see how good the drainage is around the house and wether or not there are issues. Look carefully for signs of fresh paint & plaster repair that may indicate a foundation, roof or plumbing leak that was recently "fixed."

Homeowners often try and save money when fixing up a house to sell by doing repairs & updates themselves--with mixed results. Mechanical repairs & updates are best left to professionals--ESPECIALLY in an older house.

Last edited by ChrWright; 01-07-2008 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 01-07-2008, 04:33 PM   #6
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What to look out for on a 40s House?


Be carefull about the home inspector also. My neighbor was selling his house and the buyers had a home inspector look at the house. The inspector inform the owner that his fireplace wasn't up to code and that he would have to tear it out and bring it up to code. Upon talking with the inspector the owner was somewhat versed with the codes and he was a DIY for years. He told the inspector that he better check his codes cause he was using a code for mobile homes. The inspector was a little taken apart but realized he was wrong. So as the old saying goes "Let the buyer beware"

twilightcall, where abouts in east TN do you live? I live just west of Knoxville and would be willing to help u.
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Old 01-07-2008, 06:19 PM   #7
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What to look out for on a 40s House?


Alirght!!! Thanks Guys. I greatly appreciate all of the help.

Thanks CHRWright. I will read you article in a few minutes. I appreciate the info.

Thanks for the tips on the H-I. I am in Chattanooga. I could use some help. Thanks for the offer. Let me know if you will be in the area soon.

Keep it coming.
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Old 01-07-2008, 06:41 PM   #8
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Should be down that way end of month. Celebrate birthday at Sicky fingers.
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Old 01-07-2008, 06:50 PM   #9
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What to look out for on a 40s House?


Any old paint should be considered lead paint until tested and proved other-wise
Unless there is proper paperwork from a certified lead abatement company to show it's been properly taken care of

Abatement of the whole house would be costly
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Old 01-07-2008, 07:15 PM   #10
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What to look out for on a 40s House?


Quote:
Originally Posted by slickshift View Post
Abatement of the whole house would be costly
And unnecessary, IMO, unless the paint is peeling anywhere, old plaster walls are crumbling, or you're planning to rent to tenants. Even if you have kids in the house I think it's fine if the windows are not painted double-hung (those create a lot of dust that can be inhaled or ingested by kids). The fact is, most of us grew up in houses covered in lead paint. Not it isn't a threat at all, but just to say that there can be circumstances where lead paint is not a safety issue.

Last edited by NateHanson; 01-07-2008 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 01-07-2008, 07:23 PM   #11
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What to look out for on a 40s House?


Lol...yes, and not necessarily necessary

BUT if it is necessary it would be costly

Not seeing it I still have to say that is something "...to look out for..." and is certainly one of the ".... most costly repairs to watch out for " in a '40s house
That cannot be denied
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Old 01-13-2008, 01:13 PM   #12
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What to look out for on a 40s House?


Did the home inspector look at the home yet?
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Old 03-04-2008, 08:54 AM   #13
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What to look out for on a 40s House?


Did you buy this home?

How is the remodel coming along?
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Old 03-04-2008, 05:26 PM   #14
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What to look out for on a 40s House?


cloth insulation on the wiring,minimal insulation good for the times but has all fallin down in the walls(in you do any removal long sleeves and respirator).plumbing is galvinized pipe back then so is the gas lines..1 socket per room was for the 40s probably not polorized or with a ground to take a 3-prong plug.note the roofing might be on its 3rd time over the original big bucks labor to remove down the wood.if your not leaking your ahead onthat one.next heavy rain go to the house abnd check the basement and attic,
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Old 03-04-2008, 05:53 PM   #15
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What to look out for on a 40s House?


Quote:
Originally Posted by wfischer View Post
One of my biggest hassles (my house was built in '38) is the fact that more than half of the receptacles in my house are not grounded (3-prong) or polarized (one prong wider than the other). It's an inconvenience for me because I have a lot of electrical "toys" and until I can afford to replace all the outlets, I have things plugged in in less-than-safe ways.

That said, I should point out that with a little electrical knowledge, replacing those things is a piece of cake, and fairly inexpensive for the most part. Adding new outlets can also be fairly easy, but that totally depends on location, materials, etc.
Did you know you can replace them with GFCI's? if you Line/Load them you could save some money...

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