Tips on buying oldish cabin

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by peacecountry, Nov 16, 2006.

  1. peacecountry

    peacecountry New Member

    Dec 23, 2005
    Momentarily nomads
    The husbeast and I are looking to get a very inexpensive piece of property that we can live in for the summer (we have travelling work during the winter for the time being) and slowly fix up (i.e. install a cistern, shower, and some sort of power source!) when we're not on the road. One property in particular is sticking out, a 3 acre parcel with an older cabin on it.

    We haven't been out to look at it yet : judging from the photos on the web site, it seems to be in pretty good shape, except there are dark spots on the carpet in the basement corners. Water damage, right? What would fixing that entail?

    Apart from the usual things to look at when considering ANY property, are there any other tips you wish you would have known when you were going through the same thing? Any obvious no-nos jump out at you when you look back over your experiences?
  2. haypoint

    haypoint Unpaid, Volunteer Devil's Advocate Supporter

    Oct 4, 2006
    Northern Michigan (U.P.)
    Wet discolored carpet is a sign that you should check for mold. It can be hard to control and cause health problems.

  3. naturewoman

    naturewoman Well-Known Member

    Nov 12, 2002
    not just mold. Find out where the water is coming from, then You need to inspect the floors and walls for dryrot...and if there is dryrot you might also have termites or carpenters ants. You may have serious structural damage too.
  4. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    May 11, 2002
    I recommend hiring a professional home inspector to go over the structure. Moisture problem in basement might be fixable, such as correcting the grade above the building or installing a drain system around the outside of the building. Also check the standing water table. If it is above the basement slab there is likely little which can be done.
  5. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 6, 2004
    Michigan's thumb
    A home inspecter is worth every cent. He (or she) will be able to give you a good estimate as to what is causing the water damage. It may be from the ground, but it may be from a roof leak or plumbing leak. You may still wish to buy the cabin, but at least you will know what it's going to cost you in time and money to get it in order, and you can reflect that in your bargaining.
  6. wyld thang

    wyld thang God Smacked Jesus Freak Supporter

    Nov 16, 2005
    Turtle Island/Yelm, WA "Land of the Dancing Spirit
    Another angle to look at would be to not consider the cabin as a permanent house--the deal on the land may be good enough the house doesn't matter. Since it sounds small, and you guys sound handy, and you're only going to be there summers, you could eventually rebuild a small modest cabin on the footprint of the original. Maybe your idea of "cabin" is different than mine tho;). Check what zoning is for building. Where I am you can't build new, you have to build on top of the house you tore down, and keep a few walls(so it's really an "extensive" remodel). I guess what I'm trying to say is if the land is gorgoeus and a great deal, I wouldn't care about the house if I was only going to live there summers. You can always make the perfect cabin, but it's very hard to find the right piece of land.

    A lot of rich folks here are buying property with crap houses just to get the buildable land and existing utilities, then bulldoze the house(except for one corner).

    Good luck!!
  7. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

    Feb 10, 2004
    So Cal Mtns
    Check electrical and foundation,wood rot.Shingles.Windows that dont open may mean settling problems.

    Those were the problems on my 1932 house.

  8. tiogacounty

    tiogacounty Well-Known Member

    Oct 27, 2005
    A home inspector can be a great idea or a disaster. There are a lot of home inspectors that are well trained, competent and will tell you exactly what you are dealing with. Other's are nothing but weaselly little lap dogs that lay at the feet of the realtors that owns them, and would give you a glowing report of a house that had fallen down. I spent days patching up a house one of the neighbors kid's bought. It was a tear down. The chimney was falling over, the roof leaked, and the wiring was horrible. This place needed tens of thousand of dollars in repairs but the realtor's little weasel gave it a glowing report. Before hiring a home inspector, I would ask if they do business for realtors. If they say yes, keep walking. There is at least one excellent inspector in our area that won't pick up the phone if a realtor is calling. They all hate the guy, because he finds all the garbage that their clients are tring to hide, like defective septic systems and hidden water damage. good luck.