You might want to go ahead and get a cup of tea or hot chocolate, because this will be a lengthy post.
I know that I did a YouTube video that gave a sort of update on my housing situation, and I promised a longer video. So here it is.
After signing the contract, my realtor arranged to do the home inspection approximately 2 days after the attorney review period was over. As I state in one of my videos there were a few unexpected things that came up.
1. Asbestos pipe insulation.
2. Structural issues in the basement
3. Structural issues in the attic and carriage house
4. Potential knob and tube wiring
The home inspection lasted about 3 hours. Thankfully this inspector has an appreciation for old houses. The first time around when I was looking for a house, the inspector I used had an issue with historic type houses. He couldn’t imagine why anyone would want one and was pretty vocal about it. I had to sort him out. It wasn’t pretty, but a lady needs to handle business. This inspector wasn’t like that. He told me, “old houses aren’t a problem as long as you go in with your eyes open.” Aside from the list above, there were minor things like needing insulation, new windows, etc. The inside of the house was in good condition, and the inspector was pleasantly surprised by how even the floor was. He told me that there wasn’t any issue that he saw that wasn’t fixable. A lot of the issues individually weren’t overly expensive.
The inspection of the basement took an hour by itself. In the end, he recommended that I get a structural engineer. The reason was that some of issues, he wasn’t sure if it was an old house thing or an actual problem. He recommended one for me.
After the inspection, I had an in person meeting with the seller’s agent. My agent recommended that I tell him the problems in the basement. I did. At the time, the seller’s agent was very concerned- particularly with the knob & tube. He acknowledged to me that he knew that I wouldn’t be able to get a mortgage with it and that they needed to make sure it wasn’t active. I heard him make a phone call to the seller to advise her of the problems. From the discussion I overheard, I could tell she was afraid that I would walk. I didn’t want to walk unless she wasn’t going to fix the major problems.
I liked the structural engineer. He too had an appreciation for old houses. Most of his job was going to old homes an advising people as to whether the home was structurally sound. That inspection took 2 hours. The good news was that none of the structural issues was an imminent problem. Neither the house or carriage house was in danger of collapse (even with a snow load). Don’t get me wrong; I have a lot of projects to do for years to come, but the house wasn’t in danger of being condemned. The structural engineer really enjoyed himself! I think he was very excited about all of the old building techniques. I liked the fact that I could pick his brain about some of the changes I wanted to make I.e. remove the back staircase to make the second floor hallway wider than 18.” (Yes, you did read that correctly). I also asked him questions about the wonky floor lay out. On the second and third floors there was more than one landing. So some bedrooms were up 2-3 feet with respect to the main landing.
The structural engineer recommended that I get a termite inspection because he saw some wood boring damage. Repairs needed to be made, but no structural damage had occurred. There was wood rot that was of structural concern, but overall the engineer wasn’t overly concerned. Given, the fact that the house was built in 1840, he felt that structurally the house was in good shape.
The termite inspector was very thorough. He was also quite the flirt! He recommended treatment and repair. He too really liked the house. He told me that years ago, he used to buy flowers from the seller. She and her husband ran a nursery from the house. So he was really excited to see the inside of the house.
One thing that all the inspectors said after they were finished was that it was a great house.
I don’t know if any of you are interested in purchasing a historic house in the future, but it is very important to do your research (there will be plenty of posts in the future about that), but also surround yourself with people who appreciate old houses. You can’t treat an old house like a new house. If you do, you will destroy it!! There are ways to repair and take care of it, and the right people will know how to do it without a gut rehab. Also, the right people will know the different between an actual problem as opposed to sound old fashion construction technique.
This post is getting a little bit long; so I’ll stop here and pick the tale up later.
P.S. The rose in the photograph is Golden Celebration.