Houzz Logo Print

Home inspection for old house; should we walk away?

3 years ago

Hi everyone. We recently put an offer on a house built in 1949. We just did the home inspection yesterday. While we haven't yet received the report, we followed the inspector around. He basically told us that we better have money to put into this home. Here are the main issues:

  • Foundation: The exposed foundational wall in the basement had efflorescence buildup. This might be due to poor insulation (the garage window is broken, the door has cracks), but it could also point to something worse. There were some small diagonal cracks in the cold room walls. There's moisture present, yet the floors in the basement are hardwood (likely old). They show no sign of water damage. The house is slanting slightly towards the back which is also where that problematic garage wall is found. The door and window frames have warped a bit, too.
  • Gutters: Seems like they've either never been changed, or haven't been changed in a long time. The house is on a slant. It's at the higher end of the hill, so water rushes away from the house. But there is one wall on the steepest side where water is probably accumulating, not helped by the bad gutters.
  • Rotting balcony and extension: On that same steeper side of the house, there is a second-floor balcony that sits atop a raised extension (maybe used to be a sun room?). The extension used to go into the kitchen, but that wall has been closed off, so it's only accessible from the outside. It's all rotten and needs to be torn down. It's likely that the wall behind is messed up.
  • Masonry: In some places, it's repointing work, other parts it need to be redone. The ledges under 2 windows are crumbling and need to be redone.
  • Insulation: the general insulation of the home is poor. We wouldn't reinsulate, but we would change some windows/doors
  • Plumbing: The plumbing has been redone in the kitchen and bathrooms, but the main supply pipe is the original. It's corroded inside and will need to be replaced within the next 5 years.

I'm willing to put ~50K into this home because it's in a great area and I'm confident it will appreciate in value. What I'm scared about is that this is my first purchase. Neither myself nor my partner has, carpentry skills, so we would need to hire help.

Torn what to do here. Emotionally attached to the home, know it's a rare find, but know it needs structural love. Would really appreciate anyone's feedback.

Comments (43)