Home Inspector's Report Arrived...

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by FiddleKat, Jul 30, 2005.

  1. FiddleKat

    FiddleKat Mother,Artist, Author Supporter

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    DH and I signed a contract with a realator on a mobile home in TN. We got the inspector's report today. We weren't able to see the house ourselves because we currently live in MA. So we thought the best thing was to hire a inspector.
    His list was 36 items long.Majority of items were no big deal. EX: chimney should be cleaned out before first use, storm windows missing, three screens missing, range cover/hood making funny noise/ dishwasher stops after it startes into five min. of wash/ that kind of stuff including the knob on the washing machine is gone.
    The big thing was the supports? beneath the mobile were not placed properly and need to be redone as it is settling unevenlly. The other biggie was the rear deck needs alot of work and he recommends replacement. As well as the front deck needing work. We eventually plan on putting in a wheelchair ramp on the front for DD. The other two things was a section of floor in front of the dishwasher is soft and he recommends replacing the floor then new vinyl. Which is a shame considering the owner/realator already had new vinyl put down. We plan on replacing the dishwasher anyway with our portable one as that is just a year old. The other thing was the shower stall in the master bath had cracks and caulking and he went under the crawl space and found water stains. His recommendation was to replace the subflooring there and install a new shower stall.
    Both DH and I never purchased a home of our own before, and being newbies would like your input. Does this seem extreme? The asking price is $50,000 and the realator said they would pay up to $500 in repairs. However it sounds like repairs are going to be more than that.
    FiddleKat
     
  2. starjj

    starjj Well-Known Member Supporter

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    IMO doesn't sound like that good of a deal. Repairs are going to run at least twice that or it sounds that way anyway. Maybe you could tell the sellers they need to do the repairs or lower the price. $50K for just the mobile home? I have not priced any in quit some time but it seems high, how large and how new is it because they deprecate (sp) pretty fast.
     

  3. MaryNY

    MaryNY Well-Known Member

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    Get three or four or five local home remodelers/contractors in there ASAP and ask for estimates on very specific work. I have lived in/owned a mobile -- that place has water damage to the wood subfloor issues from what you describe. Besides the installation issues. (Don't pay for the estimates if you can help it!)

    Once you have a few estimates for the major work that needs to be done, you will have some idea how much money is involved. THEN, you have to decide what to do.

    Buy it and have the work done yourself. Get the owner to do it before you move in. Lower your offering price by the amount needed to fix it ($55,000 for a used mobile with that many problems would be considered steep around here -- even if it were on its own piece of land)!

    By the way, if the original installation wasn't right, and it hasn't been umpteen years since it was installed, and the business that installed it is still going, the current owner may be able to go back to the original installer and get it fixed for free or at reduced price -- would it still be under warranty?

    Your realtor should be helping you through this process -- or your lawyer, and I sure do hope you have one of those on your side!

    Good luck!

    MaryNY
     
  4. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    That's one thorough home inspector you found that he noted a missing knob on the washer!

    More details would help out, is it a single, double or triplewide? Re-leveling and blocking is pretty easy unless it's a pit set. Even on a double wide, no more than a few hours work for an experienced crew and unless you are setting on a concrete pad, should be re done periodically anyway.

    I'd probably get another opinion on the soft floor by the diswasher. It's hard for me to imagine someone pulling the vinyl and not replacing a bad section of floor. I'd make sure to check that the owner didn't just have new vinyl stapled over the old stuff.

    I'd also really consider just re-caulking the old shower stall, unless there is real damage other than a few stains.

    I have a lot of mobiles and do a lots of work on others, and I could easily do that work outlined for a couple hundred dollars, except replacing the vinyl in the kitchen.
     
  5. kmaproperties

    kmaproperties Well-Known Member

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    we buy and rehab houses, not knowing the size of the home and the lot, I can't give a good number for the home value, although mobil homes lose value faster than cars around here in ohio. The rehabs sound like shower stall would eat up the 500.00. the jacking of the frame could be anything, from 200.00 to ????. kitchen floor and sheetgoods 5.00/sq ft. plus or minus on what you pick. the deck is 14.00 /sq ft. replaced

    Ask realtor to get 2 written estimates from WELL KNOWN LICENSED contractors in the area and have that amount taken off the sale price or refunded to you at closing.

    The price sounds high to me but maybe you are getting land or its a 70x14
    2 years old.
     
  6. mulliganbush

    mulliganbush Well-Known Member

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    Fiddlekat, I really can't give you meaningful feedback on that price. Even with more details of the trailer, etc., it wouldn't be fair to compare the locations.

    I wouldn't be concerned about the supports needing to be moved because of settling; that's a fairly common problem. But I would wonder about the comment they were not placed properly in the first place. If the trailer is old enough for the decks to need replacing, you've had stress on the frame for a while.

    The water damage--I can't guess how extensive that is, but I would say that Tennessee is the land of the free and the home of the mold. If you have wet, you have mold. You were concerned about respiratory issues--this is a biggie. It's not the killer black mold, just the every day mold, but it's an allergen par excellence.

    My best bet is that the repairs as I understand them will cost several thousand dollars. Will that make the new home not a good buy? I don't know. Would I fight it out with the seller? I don't know. Would I demand the costs be taken off the price? I don't know. Would I send my daughter and her family hundreds of miles into the trailer without resolving the issues? No.

    I think I would contact my realtor and give them the report. It may be that the inspector is a nudge. Some of us are. No, no, I know you're going to say, Ray, you're not a nudge, but we have to be honest. I can be the epitome of nudgeness at times. Some of us would look at a ratty railing and say the whole deck must be in the same kind of condition and should be replaced. Others, lacking the nudge gene, might notice that three of the four steps to the deck are broken and there's a tree growing up in the center, and suggest you might consider replacing the deck at some point.

    Ray
     
  7. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    that price sounds steep to me. i got a foreclosed mobile, in far better condition, with 5 acres, for 50K, in rural tn.

    bare does this sort of thing for a living, i think. but to me, that sounds like an awful lot of work, for a home that will only depreciate in value.

    if you still want to pursue this, it might be worth the price of a plane ticket to get a look at it for yourself.
     
  8. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    May be bad to buy without seeing, maybe not.

    You should have done enough research to know exactly where that 50 K price sits for that area. If it is at the extreme low end, maybe not too bad.

    Trailers depreciate in price but the entire installation may appreciate in selling price over the years. That is the case for the trailer park my sister currently lives in. The taxes fall every year but the selling price goes up as does the lot rent.

    Did you get an extensive set of pictures before buying??? I actually bought this house I have now without seeing it in person. No real big surprises I made him take a lot of photos. Didn't pay anywhere the amount you are and my price was well below what any houses sell for around here. Doing a fair rehab and should be able to resell for something like a profit.

    Buying a fixer-upper house trailer is about like buying an older car. Would not be my cup of tea. :nono:
     
  9. FiddleKat

    FiddleKat Mother,Artist, Author Supporter

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    Okay....hope I answer everyone's questions as you all have some good points here..
    First the mobile is a 1993 Clayton home 16 x 80 feet single wide. It is on its own land which is .57 acres. It's located in Blount County south of Maryville, TN.The realator is also the owner, and they were asking $55,000 then dropped it to $50,000. She said they would pay up to $500 in repairs. But its obvious its going to cost more. I also think she didn't think the inspector would find this kind of stuff.
    Originally we were going to go down, but the cost is prohibitive to us. We are really on a tight budget. And one of the reasons we are relocating to TN was that MA is beyond our means to even live here. We can't even afford a studio apartment here which is about $900 a month. Its DH, myself and our 7 yr old daughter who is disabled and in a wheelchair.
    We really don't have alot of options.

    Here is the exact report from the inspector on the pier system.
    "Crawl space concrete block system appears to be incorrectly installed. No concrete footers visible under piers which are supporting the mobile home floor system. Slight settling apparent at several piers. Recommend correctly install piers to prevent future settling and level as needed."
    The second one:
    "Metal tie-downs straps and anchors installed to steel floor beam systems, but several appear loose. This may be due to settlement of some piers."
    This is perhaps our biggest issue.
    Like I said, we don't have alot of options, and my FIL is loaning us the $50,000 to buy it. As well as my BIL gave us $5000 to help pay for moving, starting utilities, and other misc. expenses that come with moving. We don't even have a savings to fall back on, mainly because the government doesn't allow us because of DD benefits. :(
    Now I'm really depressed...
     
  10. starjj

    starjj Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I am sorry you are depressed I would be too BUT it still seems WAY too high a price for what you would get (especially with so little land) and with ALL the repairs it just sounds like a no win deal. I also don't like the smell of the realtor is the owner (win win deal for them and not looking out for YOUR interest). I wish you the best of luck BUT if it was me I would keep looking. There are better deals in TN from what yours sounds like. Wish I could be more encouraging.
     
  11. poppy

    poppy Guest

    That does seem high with only about 1/2 acre. Around here it would bring about 25,000 on a good day. I believe I would shop around.
     
  12. FiddleKat

    FiddleKat Mother,Artist, Author Supporter

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    The other problem we face is that the house we currently are in we have to be physically out by Sept.1st. Otherwise we're going to be homeless.
     
  13. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

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    According to your post, you signed a contract. It's kinda hard to renegociate after the fact unless your contract was contingent upon your acceptance of the inspection. If so, I'd try to back out of the contract unless you can get the cost of major repairs paid for by the seller.

    Remember, he's a realtor so is liable for any misrepresentations, so that's in your favor, and you can be sure that he knew it needed releveling. If you can't you could loose your deposit and if he's a grump, maybe more, like what he figures he "lost" in money by taking it off the market.

    I live in a doublewide (3 yrs old) and water damage can be insidious due to the materials used to build it with.

    If you are buying directly from the seller/realtor, he doesn't need to take a commission, so he can knock at least 6/7 percent commission off the selling price. I would always use my own realtor. When you use your own, they're more apt to work for you as a buyers agent.

    Ask your realtor to show you "comparable values in the area" The Multiple Listing will have that. Thay way you can know if it's a good deal. Make sure your realtor shows you houses that are listed by other brokers (they make more money showing in-house listings).

    Have you discussed alternatives with your realtor? IE: buying land with water & electricity and buying a used trailer? I bought a repo & saved a lot of money.

    I'd look further - like Marvella said. Unless you have to be in a certain area due to work, there's lots of places to investigate. I'd also consider resources for your DD as a priority.

    This is long - I was a successful realtor for 13 years until I burnt out. PM me if you have other questions.

    Best of luck. I just hate to see people taken!
     
  14. MaryNY

    MaryNY Well-Known Member

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    Water damage and mobiles certainly don't mix. The flooring and subflooring are all plywood, which just comes apart and turns into "wet kleenex" once there's a leak or other water seepage. You can reinforce the piers and foundation footings on it all you want, but the floor will still be "wet kleenex" and not just one layer of plywood, but two to be dealt with. I have helped tear a mobile apart right down to the metal frame underneath, so I have seen this.

    Does your DD have a caseworker? She should. If so, maybe you could speak with the caseworker about your situation. Also, have you found out yet what facilities are available in the area to meet your daughter's needs? If there is no schooling, hospital, etc. nearby, you could be running miles and miles over hilly roads to get her the services she requires.

    However, one good thing is that you had one fine home inspector who knew his job and did it!! You are very lucky, and you owe him a big thank you - at least! Oh, and an 80ft long single-wide mobile!!! You would feel like you were living in a hallway constantly. Run to one end to eat - run to the other end to go potty, run back to the other end to watch TV, run back to the other end to check the laundry, etc. etc. etc. And in my mobile at least, the doorways were NOT wide enough to allow a wheelchair to pass thru!!

    I assume you know about realtor.com -- if not, put it in the Google search engine and you will find that site. You can put in various places and your requirements and see what you find. Always put in a really low amount like $10,000 for the low end (you never know what may turn up) -- and then you could put in say $60,000 for the high end - knowing that you can always negotiate down if you really want a particular place. And, incidentally, I have a two-bedroom stick built (not a mobile) 826 sq. ft. house on a large lot (no acreage, but still large enough for me at the moment) for about half what you were going to pay for that mobile, with just a little more land. So there are places out there, just keep on looking. Live on realtor.com and other real estate websites if you have to, and maybe you might look a little closer to home. Unless you're looking to move southward for some reason (it still snows etc. in TN and they generally don't have road equipment down south to deal with it!), why not try just across the MA state line in Maine or VT or NH -- you ought to be able to take a weekend drive there to check things out etc.

    The best of luck in your hunt.

    MaryNY
     
  15. Ruby

    Ruby Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I bought 2 and 1/3 acres of land here in Texas that already had sewer, water and elect. for 16,000 thousand. Also found a used 14X70 three bedroom two bath mobile home for 17,500. So I think they are taking you for a ride.
     
  16. Ruby

    Ruby Well-Known Member Supporter

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    By the way the mobile home was a 1993 model.
     
  17. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    I certainly don't know the values down there, but I still contend that all those repairs mentioned are minor. The mobile got a cheapo set up, in that the delivery folks didn't put footing blocks beneath the pier blocks. Fixing it is as simple as adding more blocking. Around here, at each pier point (which varies depending on manufacturer specs, but is pretty common sense) you lay down two 8x16x2 inch solid concrete blocks for footers and stack your pier blocks on them. Concrete blocks are cheap, less than 2 dollars each and you can reuse everything already under there.

    Water leaks and soft floors are really not that big a deal and something that are dealt with exactly the same way in any type of construction. Replacing a floor in a manufactured home is exactly the same as stick built.

    That year manufactured on such a small piece of land will likely depreciate- a lot, so you'll want to make sure that's where you want to be and not be looking to resell it for a profit in a couple years.

    From what little you've mentioned, it does seem like you are putting the cart before the horse out of desperation. First, I don't think you should ever buy a place sight unseen. It doesn't sound like you know anything about the community. Can you find work in the area, do you need to find reliable
    work in the area?

    Were I in the same situation, I'd look to move to an area I knew I wanted to live, that I knew I could find employment. Then, if necessary borrow enough to rent a place for a month or three, make my move and continue to rent in the area until I found a place worth purchasing.
     
  18. FiddleKat

    FiddleKat Mother,Artist, Author Supporter

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    Ruby and MaryNy I do appreciate your input, but you also have to consider that real estate prices are going to vary through out the country.
    Here in the eastern side of MA you can buy a handyman special (3 bed. 1 bath) on 1/8 acre for $280,000 and still have to invest another $200,000 to make it liveable. That is what housing is going for here, and we certainly can't afford that!
    No offense to Maine, VT or NH but I've lived in the New England area all my life and personally I hate Maine. I have cousins that live there and its boring to me.My BIL lives there and he's suggested it as well as family. Both DH and I are sick of living here for one and we loved East TN. The other thing is I have arthritis in both knees and I'm getting sick of stairs. As well stairs are useless for my daughter and her wheelchair. We don't have alot of options here, and to start getting "picky" over things such as an 80 ft mobile is too long and we would be running to the kitchen to the bath to living room is mearly inmaterial to deal with. Like I said, in a months time we may very well be homeless as we will have no other place to go. The old adage is "when your handed lemons, make lemonade."
    My uncle currently lives 15 mn from us in a over 55 park. He bought a 1979 mobile for $65,000 and already had work done to it. That is what prices are here. A brand new mobile in a park is $150,000 and MA doesn't allow you to put a mobile on your own land.
    We chose Blount County because its has one of the better school systems and we would only be 5 min. away from Blount County Memorial Hospital as well as twenty miles south of Knoxville and East TN Childrens Hos. A short trip compared to my now driving 45 min. into Boston to see her seven specialists. Tuesday we have to drive an hour to Lexington to see the neuro and thursday an hour and a half to Peabody to see the gi.
     
  19. Spotted Crow

    Spotted Crow Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you might be getting a raw deal, because you're not there to look at it. I looked at a house and the sills were shot and it was 120K they had to drop the price. Of course this was 12 years ago and prices HAVE gotten ridiculous around here.
    Good luck. I'd keep my options open. Seems like the realtor went and put a bandaid over a huge leak sort of like the Big Dig.
     
  20. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    First of all, you are a buyer with cash in hand. You are in a position of strength, so play from it. Forget about the notion of being homeless in a couple months; you can always rent. Heck, you can stay in a motel! In the long run, a week in a motel will be cheaper than getting locked into a mortgage on a place you don't want or paid too much for.

    Next, if you are not independently wealthy, and housing prices are wildly inflated in that market, you need to get OUT of that market! Keep looking until you find a place where land is reasonable AND you can find employment. Yes, this may take some doin', but you have Realtor.com at your disposal. To spend all your money or lock yourself into a high-dollar mortgage on a crappy house (or, worse, mobile) guarantees years of misery down the line.

    I would NOT recommend moving ANYWHERE sight-unseen. If necessary, find an area that has affordable housing and where you can find work. Move there and rent for a few months, or even a year, to see whether you like it and whether you can live on your earnings. In the meantime, you'll have plenty of time to find a bargain on a house.

    The biggest concern I have with this deal is the 50 grand you've been promised COULD be the ticket if used wisely. But if you buy a mobile, it is going to steadily depreciate. In 15 years (about the time you would have paid off a mortgage on 50 grand) it is going to be worth very little. You will be living in substandard housing, and unless you've tucked away a nest egg over the years, you won't have a downpayment for anything better. And your new mortgage will be paid off 15 years later than it would have had you started now.

    Instead of trying to find something for $50,000 (which will almost certainly mean a mobile and all the misery it entails) why not try to get yourself established with jobs, so you can obtain a mortgage, and use some or all of the promised funds to buy a stickbuilt home that will appreciate in value?