New to forum - Need advice on offer please

13 years ago

Long time lurker but haven't had anything to contribute since I haven't bought or sold in years. I have found a small weekend place that I'm interested in but, as with all buyers, think it's overpriced.

It is small, built entirely of concrete block on a slab & needs cosmetic upgrading. Inside is paneling and there is evidence of termite damage. Lots of termite damage. The corner round at the floor is gone & the window sills are soft so I'm guessing that the studs are shot too. Because all exterior walls are masonry, there is no structural damage. I went into the attic & checked for damage to the trussing & they haven't made it up there yet. Well, there is a bit of damage to the sill that sits on top of the block - but VERY minimal & the beam is still solid. However, it will cost a bit to tear all of the damaged wood out of the inside & replace it with something. Also, a termite treatment is a must.

Are termites inactive in the winter? I didn't see any live ones. Also, is termite poop dangerous? I of course would wear a respirator when working on it, but just wonder if having it in the walls is a big problem.

There is also a retaining wall that is showing strain with cracks & leaning. I think this can be fixed with some drainage work. I can see it having to be taken down & rebuilt eventually.

There are also ceiling tiles that I suspect could have asbestos since the house was built in the late 50's. Can you just paint over those with kilz or some sort of blocker? Still, I think it should be a negotiating point.

They are asking $120/sq ft. There is another house that's nicer & newer for $85/sq ft. No other houses have sold in the last few years so there's nothing to compare to.

I feel that the house in it's current condition is worth far less than they are asking. Maybe as much as 30 - 35%. By the time you hire a back hoe/landscaper to repair the retaining wall & fix the drainage issue, termite treat, rip out all of the interior paneling, old carpets, etc., replace all of that & deal with the possible asbestos ceiling tile - I can easily see $40K+ in repairs. Oh, I forgot to mention that the wiring is 2 pole (ungrounded) so should be replaced too while all of the walls are open.

Any advice? If I make an offer, should I back it up with photos that I took while looking at the property? I know it will appear to be an extremely lowball offer but honestly with all of the work needed I think 65-70% of asking is reasonable. This house is not what I would consider even "good" condition, however because it is built out of blocks the overall structure is sturdy. With time & money it could be exactly what I want. I believe that if I put the money into it, fixed the problems, etc. that due to it's location I could get the money back out of it eventually if I needed to. This is not a flip - I plan to use it for weekends now & retirement home later.

Am I crazy to consider this property?

Also, if any of you have any insight into what it would really cost to renovate this house, please let me know. I think I will post this in the home building & renovation forums to get a better idea of the cost involved.

Thank you in advance for your opinions - even if they don't agree with mine, they are welcome!

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