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Ormond

01:53PM | 03/05/05
Member Since: 03/04/05
8 lifetime posts
Bvrealestate
I have just made an offer on 123 year old brick rowhouse - it wasn't practical but I fell in love (and its in a very nice inner city neighborhood). I am having it appraised/inspected. Inside, everything is old but not 123 years old. My question is, barring any structral problems (boy lets hope we don't find them) what is the average life of a brick home? foundation? I am single (and a teacher) so I'm concerned financing Major structural issues (inside I'm happy to keep tinkering away at old "llittle stuff" - grew up on a farm - I can lay carpet ect. ) I'm hoping I will grow old in this home (I'm 36) - is that unrealistic? Its age is in keeping with the mostly "restored" neighborhood - the bulk seem to be roughly 100-112 years old. Its a beautiful neighborhood - but I'm wondering if I may be buying "too old" for anyone on a budget?


Ormond

06:20PM | 03/05/05
Member Since: 03/04/05
8 lifetime posts
Yup --

the old rowhouse is in a strong neighborhood (property is selling over 30% higher than last year, many restored historic homes and the builders are planning to fill the vacant lots!)

I have made an offer and put in my "earnest" money (the home is cheaper than the other properties - as it is a fee simple -- i.e. it has been divded into two properties, divided by a firewall that runs basement to roof -- I would own everything roof to basement - and have a private yard) - but MAJOR roof or structural issues will be something I will need to work with the other owner on?

I will have the property inspected in the next 10 days (I can pull out if major issues arise) but I am more concerned with simple, but major aging issues with the brick/foundation over the next 10-20 years? I can't seemed to find any literature on how bricks/foundations on these old mid 1800's homes hold up?

Any idea's where I might research something like this?


Ormond

06:26PM | 03/05/05
Member Since: 03/04/05
8 lifetime posts
hey k2in CO-

I launched into my resonpse and forgot to say thanks!! (sigh) first time homeowners jitters -- please excuse the momentary lapse in manners!

Glenn Good

01:57PM | 03/06/05
Member Since: 09/10/03
314 lifetime posts
Being a home inspector myself, with over 34 years in construction as well, I can tell you that brick and any concrete that is in good condition today should remain so for quite some time to come. In addition any settlement of the foundation and house should already have taken place (unlike a new home).

The main concern I would have would be in the wood structure. If it is in good condition you should have little to worry about. Another advantage to older houses is the wood is no longer desirable to termites and many other insects. Water damage and/or rot are the main concerns here.

I restored a church in Raleigh, NC that is well over 180 years old and the brick and foundation are still in good structural condition, and should be for many years to come. Some old buildings have problems with weakened mortar between the bricks. This is easy for a home inspector to spot and may be of some concern if found.

Be sure your home inspector is certified.

Good luck with your purchase and I hope all goes well with the inspection.

Glenn

Moderator: Construction Systems, Foundations, and Masonry & Stone

For more information about me and/or my qualifications please visit my website at:

www.consultationdirect.com

Ormond

04:28PM | 03/06/05
Member Since: 03/04/05
8 lifetime posts
Indeed there is a new development. I went back to reinspect the exterior carefully -- there are issues: one wall is visibly "bowed" or "buckling" (not at the foudation but up towards the second floor?) and many of the bricks are cracked/crumbling (I see some masonry work has been done.)

I am having an inspector look at the house this week (my realtor is arranging it -- she says its a company she really trusts and this fellow has extensive experience with Hisotric homes).

I will check that he is certified (good tip) and might even pop for two inspections if need be. You'd think I would bow out at this piont -- but, alas, I LOVE this building. I'm not sure what I'm hoping he will say - the foundation seems solid, but it seems a stretch that a bowed wall can be an easy or economic fix (at least not on a single teachers salary).

Here's hopin' -- thanks so much for the advice!

Glenn Good

05:39PM | 03/06/05
Member Since: 09/10/03
314 lifetime posts
The bowed walls could be from a number of things:

• Weak or Deteriorating mortar

• Lack of wall ties (or too few)

• Foundation settlement (would normally be accompanied by cracking)

• Wood structure failing behind the brick veneer

Your home inspector will be the best judge of what the cause may be or he may suggest you contact a structural engineer or other contractor to assess the damage. If it is only one area of the wall and the problem is not too severe it may be worth repairing. It may mean redoing the brick veneer in the bowed area.

The inspection report could also give you leverage to get the asking price lowered enough to make it worth your while.

Glenn

Moderator: Construction Systems, Foundations, and Masonry & Stone

For more information about me and/or my qualifications please visit my website at:

www.consultationdirect.com

Ormond

05:45PM | 03/06/05
Member Since: 03/04/05
8 lifetime posts


...with your advice I feel very confident in how to approach this now. I researched the "title" issues & know how to check if the inspector is certified (my agent also mentioned we might need an engineer as well, but the inspector alone may say its the mortar & estimates - enough to know its beyond my scope to handle financial) From my novice perspective, it does seem likely its Mortar between the bricks (We don't have documentation on the age of the roof - and the masonry work may very well have been done 20-30 years ago - but its certainly not all the original stuff on the exterior wall?)

My contract allows me to pull out (with earnest money) if the inspection shows major undisclosed structural issues. I hope this doesn't happen but even if I need to bow out on this property- its a beautiful area with lots of historic brick homes -sombody bolder with more experience will still want it - & I'll get the next one -a little wiser for having gone through this process!

I will let you know what happened!


Ormond

05:38PM | 03/09/05
Member Since: 03/04/05
8 lifetime posts
Today a certified (ASHI) inspector came and noted the following:

• bowing across wall was above wall ties

• suspects original ties mid wall, below bow, were

put in to when the bowing occured

• most likely the bowing occured from some roof

leakage

-Ill know about the roof by tomorrow but ..

• if the roof has no leaks the bow/ties are likely from quite awhile back - some additional ties would be good "preventative" maintenance, but the wall doesn't seem to be on borrowed time, are there foundation problems, and wall ties though not cheap, won't break the bank even for a teacher on a budget!

Whoopie! & Thanks again!


Ormond

05:42PM | 03/09/05
Member Since: 03/04/05
8 lifetime posts
My ... I have lost my ability to type... I typed "are there foundation problems" I meant to type "there are no foundation problems" according to the inspector.


Ormond

12:15AM | 05/23/05
Member Since: 03/04/05
8 lifetime posts
sigh...the story has a sad ending!

I was so excited ... the inspector (-minus the furnace) gave the home a thumbs up! I found a someone to do the all the wall ties...

BUT .. the property had a major water damage claim in the last 12 months ... and the insurace companies wanted no part of it (123 years old & a flat roof) - if they would insure it - they warned me that any new claim in 5 years would result in cancellation of my policy? No policy means no mortgage loan - and so, its over ...

Long story - made short .. I bought another place just down the street from the one I originally wanted... despite your best efforts ... you can't ignore issues like insurance? Old homes, even if your willing to take the risk ... may be out of reach for the average shmo' ....

But thanks to everyone for their time (I wish I had better news!)

beckynbloop


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