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at the guts of your house.

Our first house in VA we found empty liquor bottles in the attic, could have been worse since a neighbor found a petrified pile of poo in hers. Next house we found full liquor bottles stashed all over...turns out the live in FIL was a drinker and hid bottles from his wife. We gave bottles of booze to everyone we knew.

Current house we bought in 2005, turned it into a rental till we retired and moved down in 2011. The owner/builder built it for his family and they lived here for 12 yrs, it's a solid house (according to the inspector) but the finishes are shoddy...the drywall looks like a 5 yr old taped and mudded it. We've slowly been working on it.

So, we're looking at turning an old TV cubby into a desk area, as we pulled out drawers and started poking around underneath we found he had used a cardboard box duct taped in place as an air return...it isn't even attached to the return's vent, it's just vaguely in the area sucking in random air :rolleyes: . We've lived here 3 yrs now and just found this...makes me wonder what else interesting is hidden away. But I don't think we really want to know.
 

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The house I know the most about, screamed to me, and apparently only me, run, don't walk away. There was a lot "carpentered over" in that house that the current inhabitant has chosen to continue. He got far enough into it, to maybe start to under how bad it is.

The house was begging for either a match or a bulldozer. It really needed to be put out of its misery. That was a case when lipstick on a pig would have been a whole lot better.

In the right hands, the house could have been brought back. At some point more good enoughs ain't enough.

If you've read this far, termites and rot ate up a lot of the uphill part. Novice plumbing and it'll do just made things worse.
 

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This house was about 18 years old when we bought it. We bought it from the people that built it. He thought he was a handyman but not so much. Weird plumbing (think the sewer gas came out the kitchen sink instead of the "stink pipe" because it was hooked up backwards),weird wiring, a set of faucets in the basement that go into a slop sink but there are no pipes under the sink to get rid of the water. There is no entrance/exit into the basement except the one from the hall/living room area as she was afraid someone would sneak in and "get her", never mind that one entire wall in the living room is glass--two sets of French doors leading into an entirely glassed in sunporch. It's been six years and we are still finding things.
 

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I'll assume most of you bought the homes at a greatly reduced price. Back in the early 80s that's what we did. We bought an FHA reject. It was the only way we could afford a home and after years of living in a small trailer anything would have seemed great to us.

We had to spend as much on the immediate repairs as we did on the original price of the house. The entire lot here is on a high water table. Prior to moving in we had to install a new septic system complete with leach field and pipes/guttering that moves all water off the lot. There was an attachment on our deed for 7 years with annual health department inspections checking off each year. So, the house continues to be high and dry but it's not without much expense on our part to keep it that way. We just recently had to rebuild the back drainage ditch that carries the neighbors water on through our property and we installed an underground drop box to keep down the tendency for the back of the property to flash flood.

So, if you've read this far you already know that the builder of this house used questionable tactics. We found in the remodel three years ago that there was an 18" gap in the flooring under the tub. Our contractor said it appeared to be something the original builder had intentionally left in place so he could install the plumbing after the plasterboard/tile had been installed and then he simply didn't close up the gap that ran half the width of the house. We felt fairly stupid to finally understand why we had a rodent problem for so many years.

I honestly don't think there's any upgrading needed now or in the future but we'll not push that parade button as long as we live. We're thankful to have a tight energy efficient home that will serve our needs in our retirement years and pray there won't be any more surprises.
 

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Come visit my house, it'll have you running away screaming!
Pig lived free in the house, they let everything go the heck, never fixed any issues like leaks, cracks, serious foundation issues, ect. Never even paid their bills and got foreclosed on.
We seriously should of burned the house down and started over....100% serious on that. We paid for the land, not the house at all. =/
We think we are finally making headway's and BAM something else goes seriously wrong!
 

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I wish I had only found liquor bottles!

My first house was an old repo. I could tell that there was bead board under the sheetrock that they had put on the ceiling. Pulled it down in the dining room only to find that the former owner(an electrician) had cut into it to install lighting. I didn't remove anything else from the ceilings.

Then I removed paneling and found two windows that they covered up.

Upstairs I removed parquet floor, that was mislaid, to get to the wood floor. I hadn't got to the underlayment. When I walked across to do more work I about broke my leg as it went through the hole that they had cut into the floor to install a fan in the room below.

When I went to pull up the flooring downstairs to get to the hardwood, imagine my surprise in pulling up the linoleum, underlayment, and plywood only to find another complete layer of underlayment, plywood and the SAME linoleum. Both layers of plywood were nailed every 3".

And that was only some of it.
 

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Come visit my house, it'll have you running away screaming!
Pig lived free in the house, they let everything go the heck, never fixed any issues like leaks, cracks, serious foundation issues, ect. Never even paid their bills and got foreclosed on.
We seriously should of burned the house down and started over....100% serious on that. We paid for the land, not the house at all. =/
We think we are finally making headway's and BAM something else goes seriously wrong!
Doing the same here.. Almost every room in this house has had the dirt under it as the main floor... everything rotted out.. And just last week it was the outside bathroom and mudroom wall... Thankfully there was some thin paneling that was still solid to keep the sun out..

The plumbing looked liked something Rube Goldburg would have been proud of.. working on that too... I still sit and look at stuff and shake my head in amazement..
 
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Glad to see we're not the only ones who found surprises. Ours had two types of wiring: the old cloth wrapped stuff, and EXTENSION CORDS running inside the walls. The upstairs was powered just on old extension cords.....

We had to replace all the plumbing, and of course we only found out after we bought it that it had no insulation whatsoever - up here where it often gets down to 30 below.

The former owners did a very interesting job putting the siding on themselves and when we investigated we found people had just put new siding over the old siding for years and years - like five layers of siding!

We're in the process of taking out a home improvement loan to blow in some retrofoam insulation, put on a new roof and hopefully get the siding taken care of. We probably won't be able to afford to take off all the layers of old siding and put new stuff on, we'll see.

But on the bright side! This house was built on solid bedrock. We have fossils in our basement floor because the floor is actually the bedrock. It's 120 years old and still standing strong. The huge timbers they used to build it with are something you'll never see nowadays and there's no rot. We don't get termites up here. You'd never know the timbers were 120 years old. The house doesn't shake at all in high winds. It's a very sturdy old house.
 

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Roof leaks fixed with green t-shirts
Plumbing fixed with duct tape
Rotted floors with layer upon layer of plywood just laying on top
Dead cats in the garage
Old non-working freezer FULL of meat in the garage
Fridge plug with pieces of three (!) different Dollar Tree type extension cords wired in
Gutter dumping water behind vinyl siding for 15 years
220 ac units wired into 110 plugs
Mobile home sized propane furnace to service 3200 sq ft. No heat/air upstairs and only a few vents down.
Need I say more?
 

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When we bought our present house, out here in the Country, It had been empty for a while, a year or so. And at one point it had been rented. It was built by the original owner, back in the 1970's. And, it has a few "quirks".
After we had lived here a few years, we went looking "closer" just out of curiosity.
There is a little cubby hole room under the front stairs. And we had just stashed our Camping things in there to be out of the way.

So after a few years, we decided to go Camping. And, we went ahead & cleaned out that little room, under the stairs.
Hunnh! Way back, in the back was a little card table and chair, that we'd never seen. with a clean ashtray, and an oil lamp.
And, as I ducked my head to leave the room, I put my hand up, above the door to steady myself. And... Above the door was a very old, partial pack of cigarettes, a pack of cigarette papers, bag of tobacco to roll your own, and a very old, cheap cigarette lighter. And, there were four of those little bottles of whiskey & gin that you get on the airlines. The seals were still good on the bottles. And, the whiskey was still good, too.
We figured it must have been the old fellow's, place to hide-out and have himself a smoke, and a nip, away from his Wife.
But, it surely was an "Interesting closer look", at that little room, under the stairs.
Chuckle, chuckle...
 

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Let's see:

All of the downstairs floors need to be refinished because of pet stains. The center of the dining room floor may even need to be tore out and replaced or have tile laid down because of urine damage.

The upstairs floors suffered water damage from a 100 year old leaky roof that was never replaced. They're structurally sound so we're laying carpet eventually. We finally got the new roof on last month!

Insulation? We don't need no stinkin' insulation! No, seriously..no insulation. It's a brick house and the way the old walls are built makes it impossible to blow insulation in so we are resorting to insulating the attics and slowly replacing windows.

Speaking of windows..original single pane glass windows. Most don't open because they have about eleventy-billion layers of paint on them.

The doors have no real seal the front door needs to be replaced due to damage but it's of course an odd size (99"l x 38"w) and we can either frame it down significantly..somehow..or pay out the butt for a custom door. We'll probably get a lumberyard to make a simple door eventually. Right now, we have other matters to attend do.

The plumbing upstairs needs to be replaced. The pipes are so corroded with rust that nothing can get through. My uncle is a master plumber and has thankfully started the bottom of the house with us because we couldn't have known where to start.

We're slowly painting every room in the house but it's hard because it has a hundred years of wallpaper in every room. That's a good 7 or 8 layers..with paint over top! WOOOO!

Ohhh..no heating and air! Well, there's a wood burning furnace but it's oldddddddddddddddd and not regulated anymore. It's being replaced with a new system this fall.. :grump:

There's more but I've mentally blocked some of the work out so I don't have flashbacks.

I'm not even going to start on the exterior woes. It's structually sound, but needs a lot of prettying up.
 

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We live in a 114 yo house. No gooodies have been found :(

I do know where they hid their moonshine and were they made it but nothing is left.

They where even good builders... nothing shoddy. Well, one thing was shoddy..... the dryer and kitchen stove shared a circuit.
 

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I will add this though: The house was originally built in a town that was washed away in 1937 due to a huge Ohio river flood. It, and it's twin, were the only houses that remained. The reason they stood so tough was because of how they were designed (in that era) to withstand natural disasters. They were built for the two masters of the dam down the road. During WWI, Ft. Knox temporarily housed visiting generals in them. Ft. Knox is across the river and they determined the houses to be a safe distance away and inpenetrable (sp?) at the time.

When we got the house, there was a lot of cool stuff in the attics. The attics have tiny bunkers hidden in them and we found old coins, tobacco, razors, and dirty comics in them. The basement still had mud from the flood waters, and there were really old books in great shape (the oldest was published in 1747 in England). We DO plan on having these appraised and we're hoping that a few of them will pay for some of the renovations. :)

So old houses have wrinkles, but they also have history!
 

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My father bought a cabin that was in sorry shape when he got it. Photos below. It was definitely built before there were any requirements for code -- around 1980ish. This area didn't have power until the year 2000, so it was retrofitted for 115 volt after the fact, by someone who tried (and failed) to flip the property for a profit. They did the absolute cheapest job possible, leading to some interesting ... features ... like outdoor porch lights used indoors for lighting, light switches in weird places, no vent for the kitchen stove (which is fortunately next to an open door), a rather scarce number of electrical outlets in strange place (one bathroom has NO electrical outlets), and just bizarre electrical wiring in general.

(To this day, my father turns off the power to the ENTIRE house rather than just selecting an appropriate breaker if he's working on the house's power. Apparently, wiring on opposite ends of the house has a tendency to be connected to the same breaker, somewhat randomly.)

A big issue was the outside deck, however. Note the 3 (three!) 2X4's holding up the upstairs deck, which were not inline with the footings for the downstairs deck. Upright posts holding the porch roof up were the same way. It was a bit bouncy.The footings were just stacked blocks (not held together with concrete). The deck was made of fir, which rotted out, and the railings were 2X3s and 2X2s. The entire thing was a disaster waiting to happen. My brother fell through the deck at one point. And this is in an area where 3-4 foot snowfalls and 50mph+ sustained winds are common.

Upstairs wall had no vapor barrier behind the log siding. The entire wall had to be completely replaced. (Downstairs is fortunately solid logs, so my father just had to grind off the multiple layers of paint -- apparently, the house at one point was painted forest service green from top to bottom over weathered logs by the "investor.") Note the "storm door" in the before photos that is a piece of painted plywood attached with hinges to the wall -- the door leaked when it snowed because there was a gap under it, so they apparently tried to stop the leaking by making a plywood storm door. (It was just a plain piece of plywood with hinges attached, and held closed during storms with a single hook and eye. This worked about as well as you would expect, and the rot was apparently pretty advanced when they tore the upstairs wall off.)

One neighbor actually stopped and thanked my father for fixing the place up. I guess it was a neighborhood eyesore for a long time.

We found dozens of gallon glass jars full of mystery grain (never figured out what it was or why it was there) in the crawlspace. As far as I know, there are still stacks of newspapers waist high in the attic of the toolshed -- no idea how it got up there. It's a difficult space to get to, as the access hatch is really tiny. No idea why they hoarded newspapers, particularly in such an inaccessible place. Yes, we've checked -- no valuables, just newspapers, mostly shredded by rodents.

I need to get some current pictures, with the railings done on the decks, and the place landscaped and fenced.
 

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I'm off to tidy up the yard a bit to get ready for the appraisal.....pray we can get this place looking good!
 

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Kristabelle, that sound so much like the first house we bought. My inlaws had lived there for 40+ years but had never owned it (rolled into their farm lease) so they also never did much for repairs. Knob and tube wiring, no insulation, windows painted shut but they were so loose a couple had carpet scraps between the upper and lowers. I did find a tiny shoe last between the basement rafters and parts of a very old spinning wheel in the attic. MIL had no idea they were there. The water tank, water heater and softener were wired in such a way, they guy had to go back to the shop and get another guy to figure it all out. One ceiling light in the center of each room, no light switches and only one or two outlets per room. One door that led to the backside of the siding. Knot holes in the floor covered with tin can lids and one plugged with a corn cob. I miss that house terribly, though. Our kids were impressed that the new house had "wall lights" What the heck are wall lights you ask? Light switches! Had to laugh at that!
 

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Kristabelle, that sound so much like the first house we bought. My inlaws had lived there for 40+ years but had never owned it (rolled into their farm lease) so they also never did much for repairs. Knob and tube wiring, no insulation, windows painted shut but they were so loose a couple had carpet scraps between the upper and lowers. I did find a tiny shoe last between the basement rafters and parts of a very old spinning wheel in the attic. MIL had no idea they were there. The water tank, water heater and softener were wired in such a way, they guy had to go back to the shop and get another guy to figure it all out. One ceiling light in the center of each room, no light switches and only one or two outlets per room. One door that led to the backside of the siding. Knot holes in the floor covered with tin can lids and one plugged with a corn cob. I miss that house terribly, though. Our kids were impressed that the new house had "wall lights" What the heck are wall lights you ask? Light switches! Had to laugh at that!
Did they live in IN?! Oh my goodness, it's uncanny!

We even a couple mason jar lids on some holes in the floor from radiator steam pipes and other random drilling. ;) Wood plugs work great for those though.

Our wiring is still partially the old cloth wiring and we have a couple spots that aren't working. Our laundry room outlets act up a lot..we are hoping the electrician doesn't run away screaming.

We love the house. I grew up in the house, actually. Would I have bought this house if I happened upon it on the market? No. Noooooooo.
 
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