06:24AM | 07/14/04
Member Since: 07/13/04
10 lifetime posts
My husband and I are in the process of buying a house. We had the home inspection yesterday.

The house in question was built around 1950.

It is a brick house, 1200 square feet.

The home inspector brought to our attention a problem in the crawl space. While there was no standing water in the area at the time- apparently there had been some significant water there before as the ducts for the heating and cooling are rusted and have holes in them. (As a result the young lady renting the house has been paying $200 a month for utilities as she has been heating and cooling the crawl space.)

The house has been in a state of neglect for at least the last 2 and half years. The gutters were over flowing with debris and the soffits have some water damage as a result of overflowing gutters. Also, no efforts seem to have been made to help the water to drain away from the house. They have a small portable sump pump, but I don't believe the renter has bothered with using it. One more bit of information is that the neighbor next door said that her house and this house in question are lower than the surrounding houses.

What we want to know is if this is reason enough to walk away from the house. Can a problem like this be solved with grading to the lawn, maintenance of clean gutters, and a sump pump?

My husbands uncles all seem very alarmed at this issue and have my husband about convinced to walk away... but I'm not ready to give up yet. This house is about 50 years old and the inspector said the foundation looks really good. How is it possible that the house has been there 50 years and has a solid foundation- if it has an unsolvable problem? Couldn't the problems with the ducts be related to neglect rather than a water problem that can't be solved?

Any advice would be appreciated!!



09:49AM | 07/14/04
Member Since: 07/01/03
549 lifetime posts
First, congratulations on having a home inspection. This gives you the opportunity to be aware of problems and to consider whether you can overcome them. You could have additional contractors (landscapers, drainage specialist, HVAC technician) provide you with bids so you know in detail what needs to be done, and whether you are equipped to deal with them yourself. The cost of repairs may be taken into consideration in your offer.

None of the problems is without a solution. The home is renter occupied and neglected. Depending on damage to the duct systems, Ducts are easily sealed using mastic and coverings. If replacement is needed you need to have professional estimates. Also be sure the furnace and plenum are inspected an get a total cost of repairs.

90% of your moisture problem can probably be solved by cleaning the gutters. Moisture under the house can be significantly reduced or eliminated by drainage, grading, maintaining gutters, and possibly an internal drain and vapor barrier system. These issues would not deter me, contingent on the results of consulting with the drainage and HVAC specialists. You may even find you can negotiate a better deal.

Take your time (if the market allows) and get the drainage and HVAC folks to look at the problem and give you a report and estimates. You may need to pay for the service call. A good investment considering the leverage it gives you in making a decision, and negotiating a price.
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