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Discussion Starter #1
I found the "almost perfect" house to buy through Realtor.com. It's had a prior contract that fell through Because, according to the home inspection one side needs shoring up. The seller's agent is very upfront about this.

I am contacting a structural engineer to see what the problem is and the cost involved. I'm hoping the ground underneath is OK. This is a very old house that's been added on & remodeled. From what I can tell, it's the add-on that's the issue.

And, NO, I would not write a contract on a house sight unseen. But I am leaving AZ on the 25th and do need to have some houses lined up to see ASAP.

My questions are: has anyone been involved with something like this? What are some of the things I need to ask, look for, etc.. Will this effect the roof?Should I turn & run?
 

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I have dealt with houses like this. If you haven't I hope the price is right and your structural engineer gives you the best solution.
Without standing right there I do not know what else to say about it.
Is there a link to see the house? Does it show the problem or just talk about it?
 

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A lot of variables. Why are you buying the house? Dwelling or investment? Is the sagging a safety or esthetic issue. i.e. is the involved area ready to collapse or does the floor have a slight tilt you can live with or something in between. Has the underlying problem stabilized and this is as bad as it will get or will it continue to worsen? What is the cost of fixing the problem? What is the cost of the property? How does that cost compare to the cost if a similar property with the "perfect" house? Do the repairs cost more than the price difference? What is your comfort and skill level in doing the repairs yourself? Does the property offer everything else you want and need and whatever repairs and turmoil you might go through with the house would be worthwhile in long run to own your dream property? Sometimes it's about more than dollars and cents, sometimes it should only be about dollars and cents.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ah, food for thought.

No, just says "prior inspection found area needs shoring up". have spoken to the Realtor & she knows nothing more, hence the structural engineer.

I have not yet seen the house. I will be living in it. Price is already discounted - a little, but I don't think enough that's why I want to get an estimate of costs. Instead of fixing the real issues, the owner chose to put in new kitchen cabinets, counter tops. I'm 71 and although I can do some repairs, run a back hoe, paint walls etc, I think anything structural would be just too much to tackle.

House is in a great location for me, size is right and the property has a small stream running through it. This will be my last home (Ha - that's what I thought about where I am now) near kids, recreation & stores.

If I can buy it right, after the work, I think the value is there.
 

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Ah, food for thought.

No, just says "prior inspection found area needs shoring up". have spoken to the Realtor & she knows nothing more, hence the structural engineer.

I have not yet seen the house. I will be living in it. Price is already discounted - a little, but I don't think enough that's why I want to get an estimate of costs. Instead of fixing the real issues, the owner chose to put in new kitchen cabinets, counter tops. I'm 71 and although I can do some repairs, run a back hoe, paint walls etc, I think anything structural would be just too much to tackle.

House is in a great location for me, size is right and the property has a small stream running through it. This will be my last home (Ha - that's what I thought about where I am now) near kids, recreation & stores.

If I can buy it right, after the work, I think the value is there.
...............Since you're a motivated buyer , you'd think the relator could take some Pics of the area in question or ask the current owner to do so.......since the owner has already acknowledged the problems . , fordy
 

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It could be as simple as they didn't put support columns the proper distance along the proper size of support beam and there's a sag. Or it could be that there's termite damage. Ground could have shifted under the foundation. House could simply have settled. You're definitely doing the right thing by having an engineer do an inspection. And I agree with Nimrod - make the sale contingent on the owner fixing it to spec. How long has the house been on the market?
 

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I guess at this point in life I look at things different than I use too .:sing:
I look at price ,wants then condition so if the price is right and I want it the next question is will it fall in on me and kill me before I die :thumb: Like I told the guy about the 40 year warranty on the roof metal ,he could have twenty of it back . An as to value after wife and I are gone who cares
 

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Yeah, I did the contingent offer too on a place that obviously needed work. Glad I did because taking off the siding to fix the foundation lead to other things.

Don't let them make their problems into your problems. If it takes 5 years to resolve, that's 5 year of being focussed on that rather than what you want. Of course, unless you look forward to a project. Then you have found it.
 

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Way too much could be happening with way too little information..

What kind of foundation is it? floating slab? post and beam? concrete? wood? I had a house that was a dug basement, and the foundation walls were hand laid rock...

My house had some serious issues.. .It was old hand hewn beams siting on old hand cut stone boulders.. One beam had rotted between the original house and the addition. I had to remove the floor, remove the beam and replace it with a new beam made from bolting 2x10's together...

Mine was simple, but still took a lot of work, digging, and lifting of the house.

Had I of hired it out, I figure it was probably a $10K job.. It cost me time, and materials and jacks.. I figure I had maybe $1K invested, along with a ton of hours..

Mine was simple.. Now if you have a concrete foundation, it could be a massive job.. They may need to mud jack it, they may need to remove old crumbling concrete, etc..

No matter what the problem is, any time you have a foundation issue, and you need to hire out the work, it's going to cost you a lot of money..

If you can DIY, the prices aren't near as bad, but do you have the skills, equipment and the time to do it?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Interesting - Just spoke to the listing agent. The buyer is walking away from the property. Not in foreclosure yet - just missed two payments. Puts things in a different light.

I really liked the idea of having the buyer fix the problem to the structural engineering report. But now, with the seller walking away, all costs will on me. And as you all pointed out there may be more, hidden problems.

Shoot - this will be the 3rd house I have really been interested in. One, I was looking online & found the county is expanding it's little airport to accept small jets. Walked away from that house.

But then, that just means if I've found 3, there's more. :) Although time is of the essence.
 
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I would pass. There is a reason the owner is walking away. I wonder if they knew about the problems before or after they missed the payments.
 

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I would pass. There is a reason the owner is walking away. I wonder if they knew about the problems before or after they missed the payments.
Would be my guess the so called owner couldn't care less about the problems. Most likely they were living above their means and it caught up with them . Got to keep their toys and two new cars at all costs now days .:sing:

Some never catch on they don't really own it till the last payment is made :facepalm:
 

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If you can locate the 'former' seller, try to contact them and have
a forthright discussion regarding the condition(s) and the reason(s)
for walking away. Most folks if they've been stuck with the problem
because the lending institute/seller has been less than honest with them,
are more than happy to disclose EVERYTHING wrong with a property!!!

Of course, you may get more information than you ever wanted.....
 

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Interesting -The buyer is walking away from the property. Not in foreclosure yet - just missed two payments.
You might want to do some more digging into this. Just because the owner is walking away doesn't necessarily mean the house is ready to fall down. The owner might be in so much debt and not able to keep up with the payments that they are walking.

If you could get in contact with the owner and the finance company, all 3 of you might be able to come to an agreement. The finance company will NOT be happy to be having a property land in their lap - their speciality is financing. The problem is the finance company may do nothing with the property - hence they will have broken water pipes, have the house broken into . . . . . blah blah blah, making their finance job a big loss.

Depending on how much the owner still owes on it, it's possible you could just take over the payments and still come out ahead. In this case - all involved win - the finance company gets rid of a property quickly so they don't want, the owner makes out by "selling" the property instead of having a foreclosure against them, and you end up with a house.

You just have to get the owner involved to let you in (and your structural engineer) so you can find out how big of problem it is. You can find out how much is still owed and find out how much $ the problem is, and go from there.

The thing is, you don't want to be rushed into buying a place just because you are moving there. You may want to just find a cheap rental so once you are there, you have time to investigate properties you are interested in.

Good luck.
 

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I'm a little confused on the owner and the buyer walking away from it, but I confuse easily. Thought you,would be the buyer...... Don't know how an owner can walk away, unless they are defaulting it to th county..... You probably mean a recent buyer of the house is defaulting back to the previous owner or to the bank?

These sorts of things can be a real steal, or a nightmare.

If you know what you are getting into, have the cash on hand to buy it cheap, and can do much of the work yourself to make it a good solid house again, you will b making money on the deal like a gold tree....

If you don't fully understand all the issues going on, and you need to hire every bit of the work done, and you don't have all the cash sitting in your account, forget it.

First off no bank will loan you the money, and thinly way you get a deal is to offer a lowball of cash to the current owner. The current owner knows its hard to get rid of, and cash offer in full, today, and be done with it, would appeal to the current owner.....

Fuss around with 20 inspections, conditions, fox it first for me, and I need to find a loan first too yet, and you won't ever own it. Ever.

The current owner will either try to find someone over optimistic about it and willing to pay too much, or will look to get rid of it fast now for cheap.

Paul
 

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Your financing is your business and I respect that. I will however comment that I learned first hand when trying to finance a fixer-upper that the bank was less than interested in working with me. The initial appraisal caused the bank to send me a laundry list of things they wanted professionally inspected on my dime of course. We eventually went with another bank but not without a great deal of expense, stress and hard work.
 

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Personally, I'd be more interested in what a good residential carpenter with a lot of experience in the area the house is located in could tell me about the problem and how to fix it that a structural engineer. Probably cheaper for the advice too.
 

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Personally, I'd be more interested in what a good residential carpenter with a lot of experience in the area the house is located in could tell me about the problem and how to fix it that a structural engineer. Probably cheaper for the advice too.
Kind of what I though too :thumb: Lot of folks want a hundred year fix .Most don;t stop to think they are one heart beat from gone :facepalm: If I think something will last as long as me i'm good with it :D
 
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