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January 7th, 2009


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02:05 am - Possible New Home
We looked at three houses today (actually, two houses & a townhouse). The townhouse was in an ideal neighborhood, less than a decade old and was just large enough. However, the lack of a bathroom on the main floor means that we likely can't take it, since asking aging cats to use stairs to get to their catbox is easily a recipe for ongoing unpleasantness. One of the houses was honestly too large, would require some work, already has a bid on it, and is outside our ideal area. The other house is perfect - it's 4 blocks from our old place (in a direction that puts it very close to all of the shops and restaurants that we love), it's large, but not overly so, and looks lovely. It doesn't have as many flashy touches like top end appliance, but those can be saved up for. Instead, it feels like it could be our home, and it's (barely) affordable and top of the list for all of us. It's also 112 years old. The basement and foundation look solid, but with a house that old, there is definite cause for worry. We will likely put a bid on it tomorrow or the next day, but won't get serious until the home inspection. For many of the places we've looked at, this inspection would largely be a formality, here's it's a cause for worry - major foundation issues are not something we have any interest in dealing with. We shall see... The idea of choosing a house is astoundingly nerve-wracking, but my parent's are eager to do this for us, I hate where we are living now, and this house appears to be a gem. We shall see...
Current Mood: nervousnervous

(15 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:kiarrith
Date:January 7th, 2009 10:52 am (UTC)
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*hugs* good luck!
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From:queerbychoice
Date:January 7th, 2009 02:22 pm (UTC)
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Good luck!
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From:kitten_goddess
Date:January 7th, 2009 02:27 pm (UTC)
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Congratulations and good luck!
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From:heavenscalyx
Date:January 7th, 2009 02:51 pm (UTC)
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Good luck! If you haven't found one already, I'd suggest looking at Angie's List for a good, competent house inspector. (We went with one suggested by our realtor and have regretted it.) As the owner of a 120+ year old house, I can tell you that some of things you want them to look at include, in addition to the foundation:

- plumbing, especially the age of the water heater (ours turned out to be a 24 year old former rental unit, not a new install 3 years earlier, like the inspector said! our inspector apparently didn't know how to read the serial numbers, and just went by the install date), the furnace, and any piping associated with them (apparently, when the furnace was plumbed -- we have steam heat -- the pipes were done... imaginatively... but not particularly efficiently); also, mystery pipes running near your electrical switchbox! (we had a *black iron pipe* plumbing our external spigot, and it ran directly over the electrical switchbox -- as you might imagine, this led to fretting as the pipe started to rust...); also, are all rooms actually heated?

- electrical system, especially if you've got any remaining knob-and-tube wiring in the house (some insurance companies [cough cough State Farm cough cough] will not insure a house with knob-and-tube); also, are all rooms actually electrified?

- roof (age of roof, type of roof, how many roofs?)

- termites, carpenter ants, and other entertaining pests

Also, check nearby trees for signs of impending end of lifespan (fungus growing up a side, for instance).

This is probably not needed, but since we've gotten burnt on our particular aged and lovely money pit, I thought I'd share some points we've learned about. I certainly don't know everything there is -- there's always a new and entertaining life lesson around the corner with an old house. Still, we haven't been put off old houses, and are probably going to look for another one when we have to move. :} There's something about having a house with character. :)
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From:helen99
Date:January 7th, 2009 03:58 pm (UTC)
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Here's hoping it passes the inspection! As heavenscalyx has said, make sure it's a good inspector who knows old houses.

One concern we had with an antique Victorian home that I fell in love with was the cost of heat. It wasn't constructed to be energy efficient. However, it *was* constructed to be well-loved and for people to live well in it, which is very important.

We eventually opted out -- That particular house would have required too many repairs for our budget, and we have few DIY repair skills (though that is improving). Hopefully this house has been well maintained and possibly recently rewired and replumbed to modern standards.

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From:silvaerina_tael
Date:January 7th, 2009 04:54 pm (UTC)
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It looks as though things are looking up. This is a good thing.

If the house is that old, definitely have it inspected by a reputable inspector. That said, older houses have a character and quality newer ones simply don't have.
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From:martianmooncrab
Date:January 7th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
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in the current market, you can negotiate down any repairs or discrepancies in your offer.

Plumbing, electrical, and the roof are the major highpoints. When I lived in NE those were the worst parts, but mostly it was the sewer connection between the house and the street that was the most prone to failure. My landlady also had a talent for getting the wrong contractor to fix anything.
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From:heron61
Date:January 7th, 2009 08:59 pm (UTC)
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in the current market, you can negotiate down any repairs or discrepancies in your offer.

Definitely. We're also not as worried by the idea that the house will require some repairs as by the idea that it requires a new foundation or something similarly drastic that will turn it into a money-sucking pit.
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From:earlofstomp
Date:January 7th, 2009 07:07 pm (UTC)
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Good luck I even use an inspector on my new build house we bought last fall.
Homes are great things to own
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From:lupagreenwolf
Date:January 8th, 2009 01:36 am (UTC)
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***hugs*** Good luck!
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From:darkoshi
Date:January 8th, 2009 04:09 am (UTC)
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In addition to finding out if it still has knob-and-tube wiring which could be difficult to upgrade, check if there are any well-grounded outlets for your computer equipment in good locations. Part of my house has grounded outlets, and part doesn't.
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From:alephnul
Date:January 8th, 2009 06:58 am (UTC)
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Ooh, nice looking house (it's the one with the nice wrap around porch, right?)! Are you guys familiar with www.portlandmaps.com? Looks like the back yard gets at least some sun.

Isn't it a little creepy that I can go from your description (and knowing where you used to live) to reading the construction permit for its plumbing (installed in 1907 and replaced in 1978, from the look of it)?

Good luck! That looks like a lovely find.
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From:heron61
Date:January 8th, 2009 07:14 am (UTC)
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That's the place. I'm indeed impressed. We looked this place up on portland maps. However, we haven't found the plumbing info - where was that on the site? When looking at permits, all we saw was ones from 2000 & 2001. I'd love to see the earlier info.
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From:rjgrady
Date:January 9th, 2009 02:41 am (UTC)
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I wish you well in your quest. Just do not let impatience have you, and you will be fine.
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From:moominmuppet
Date:January 9th, 2009 02:41 am (UTC)
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Oh, best of luck!

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