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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My son and I looked at a 90 year old house (for him). Price was $79k, it's a 3 bedroom, 1 bath home on 1/2 acre. It has new windows and new doors, new roof, and furnace is only 8 years old (oil forced air). It had the electrical upgraded to 100 amp breaker box more recently too. It will need rewired for the most part. Most rooms have only one outlet (on the floor) and one overhead light. Has plaster walls and on the second floor it looks as though the plaster has come loose from the lath as it's drooping out. I would just bust the plaster off and put drywall up after rewiring where we need to. I can do most everything, but am wondering if I can just use a respirator type mask to protect myself from possible lead and asbestos in the plaster? Also we're a bit concerned about a pine tree next to the house that's probably even older than the house I'm guessing. It must be at least 4' in diameter at the base and I'm guessing 100' tall. It looks healthy, but leans towards the house and if it ever decided to fall would completely demolish the house it seems. Would a tree surgeon be able to tell how safe it might be? according to my google search, pine trees in PA can live anywhere from 200-450 years and grow 75-100' tall. The house needs a lot of TLC. Needs new siding, soffit, facia and gutters. someone replaced the old porch with a smaller deck and we'd want to restore the old porch. It has asphalt shingle siding on it now, but we'd probably just put vinyl siding over it, or remove the asphalt and apply vinyl over it. Does that cause a dampness trap with plaster walls?
 

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#1,There's no location in you profile so where all going to have to guess what house values may be in your area.
Old steel plumbing lines that will need to be replace because for sure there going to plug up and leak at some point?
On a septic system or city sewer?
 
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Asbestos use in plaster started around 1940. It is doubtful that a 90 year old house has asbestos in the plaster but testing is the only way to know for sure. Some plaster only contained around 1% asbestos and 1% is the action level. Have a sample tested, it doesn’t cost much and you will have the answer.
 

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- The old pine tree must go.
- While you have the wall open, re-pipe and run cable or other necessary lines for today devices.
- Add more receptacles to meet your town present code, not because you have to, but because you want to.
- Don't cover existing exterior with new siding. If you remove the old exterior, you get a chance to inspect and correct all deficiencies.
- How's the main sewer line? Main water supply?
- With a lot of sweat you can turn this house into a show house. Enjoy !
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I think the pine tree is his biggest concern. I know of a good tree servie in the area. I may just call the guy to get an idea over the phone what it would cost to remove it before he even makes an offer. I'm guessing upwards of $5k.

I'm thinking he might be wise to remove the plaster and lath from the outside walls at least to insulate. I would definitely remove the asphalt shingles and put house wrap and vinyl siding on. Don't know what the plumbing is like, but if we're redoing the exterior walls, it would be easy to replumb everything if necessary. Not sure what to do about heat to the upstairs. There are no heating ducts running to the second floor. only grates set into the floor on each room so the heat from the main floor rises up. Probably would not qualify for a traditional loan, but he has other options in that regard. The house is in Clarence, PA if that helps determine home value. I think the price is a high, but it's kind of a local market and it will eventually sell I'm sure. It is a family selling it after the death of its occupant, an older lady. It was in the family since it was built 90 some years ago. I've attached a couple more photos. One is the other side of the front and the other is a photo of the back. I'm guessing there may have been some water damage to the back corner of the house prior to the new roof being installed and they had to remove the siding and replace the boards with sheathing. There is also a chunk missing from the one chimney for whatever reason. But both chimneys look straight and solid otherwise. Just need new chimney caps other than that. A chimney inspection would be done too. I know a good guy for this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here is a photo of the pine tree. It's easily 4 times the height of the house. photo makes it seem smaller due to shooting up at it i think to get the whole thing in view.
 

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I wouldn't worry about the pine tree unless it was diseased, had large dead branches or a dead top or something. Yes it leans over the house, but is it any more likely to fall in that direction? If the wind is pushing it, it seems like if it was blowing against the lean it would create more stress on the trunk and roots.
 

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I have no idea what your real estate market is like so I can't tell you if you got a deal, but that there is a pig pile of work.
 

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I would get rid of the pine tree. If you get heavy rain and wind it might fall down or it might get hit by lightning. I had a tall white pine close to my house and it took a lightning strike. It was on the same side of the house as my ground rods and it did some strange things to the electrical devices in my house. It took about 20 years but it eventually killed the tree. I am glad it is gone, it would shed needles and plug up the gutters and needles got in the vents of my cars and made noise with the heater fans. It also dripped sticky crap on anything near it.
 

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i agree on loose the tree. i would tie it to a 4x4, start cutting and have the 4x4 pull it away from the house. then if a few years he has a bunch of firepit wood.

far as the house goes. looks like you have to do about what i did to my house = nearly all new everything. and i would probably pull down those chinmeys.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
We haven't even made an offer on the house yet. Only told the realtor we were interested in case they got another offer, so they might wait for ours. I'm figuring we'll easily have $20-$30k in renovations even doing most things ourselves.

Another thing I was concerned with is if it has asbestos insulation in the exterior walls. Would hate to buy the house then find out we need a haz-mat team to remove the asbestos. I suppose we could make the sale contingent on an asbestos test. From what I saw laying around upstairs in the cubbies it kind of looked like that shredded newspaper stuff, but it's probably impossible to tell without taking a sample and getting it tested.

We were figuring on taking down the plaster and lath on the exterior walls to better run wiring and plumbing and also to put new fiberglass insulation in. On interior walls and ceilings we'll probably remove the plaster but keep the lath and just drywall over them. We could cut out where we need to run wiring and plumbing.
 

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We can see some water damage repairs have been started, if you are stripping the inside expect to find some more and some work around some of the windows. The basement was never meant to be anything like today's basement as you close up with modern insulation and less drafts moisture in the basement could be trouble.

Rooms in the attic don't have room in the rafters for insulation and venting and it is really hard to vent that style properly so there will be some learning and decisions to make.

Nice looking house and the price would be a down payment on a building lot up here.
 

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I like the look of old houses but I am not fooled by lipstick.
Your budget, time AND $, should be for a complete gut. Sorry.
And I'd include 200 amp service panel and new piping in walls and to-from the source. Good luck, oh and stock up on aspirin and or adult beverages, you're going to need them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
we certainly planned on doing a complete gut on it. removing the plaster from the walls will make it much easier to run wiring, plumbing and new insulation as well. btw, the tree guy gave him an estimate of $3200 to cut down the pine tree, cut it up, and remove it, which I thought was reasonable given its size and proximity to the house. my biggest concern now is if it has asbestos insulation in the walls or the plaster since so many homes built or renovated before 1980 have it. If it does, I told him I don't want to touch it and he should keep looking. we can make that a contingency of the sale I suppose. a test kit from Home Depot only costs around $10 with a $40 lab fee I understand.
 

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we certainly planned on doing a complete gut on it. removing the plaster from the walls will make it much easier to run wiring, plumbing and new insulation as well. btw, the tree guy gave him an estimate of $3200 to cut down the pine tree, cut it up, and remove it, which I thought was reasonable given its size and proximity to the house. my biggest concern now is if it has asbestos insulation in the walls or the plaster since so many homes built or renovated before 1980 have it. If it does, I told him I don't want to touch it and he should keep looking. we can make that a contingency of the sale I suppose. a test kit from Home Depot only costs around $10 with a $40 lab fee I understand.
I am not sure of wall insulation that had asbestos, some attic insulation did.
Floor lino tiles and the glue they used did and then you have lead in layers of old paint.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
since the walls are part of the roof due to their steep slope and going almost to a point, I was using "wall insulation" to cover both. guessing they used the same throughout.

which makes me question the best way to insulate the upstairs rooms. I would think there would need to be some distance between the insulation and the roof boards to allow for air flow to prevent condensation, no? use baffles all the way up? add a roof vent? There is no attic in this house. Bedroom ceilings come to almost a point.
 

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since the walls are part of the roof due to their steep slope and going almost to a point, I was using "wall insulation" to cover both. guessing they used the same throughout.

which makes me question the best way to insulate the upstairs rooms. I would think there would need to be some distance between the insulation and the roof boards to allow for air flow to prevent condensation, no? use baffles all the way up? add a roof vent? There is no attic in this house. Bedroom ceilings come to almost a point.
Yes but they are 2x4srafters so you have to add depth to them to get closer to code , venting in that roof is difficult with the valleys there are few if any clear runs for the venting. Best is when if you need a new roof you strap that and add plywood and use that space between for venting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
i was thinking of running those styrofoam baffles all the way up to the top and putting whatever insulation I could fit in there. Can't be worse than what it was originally I suppose.
 
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