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Found a house for $3,500


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Yes, that's correct. $3,500 for a house! With an acre of land.

It's being described as a turn of the century farm house fixer upper. Haven't had a chance to see the inside yet.

It is definitely in rough condition, however we could get into a place with no debt if we decide to buy this place. We're thinking that we would need to move a travel trailer or 5th wheel type camper on site to live in until we get this place habitable.

There's a lot going on with this property. Anything jump out at you professionals that I might miss? Anything I should look for when I gain access to the inside? Having a professional inspector look at the place is in the works. He's doing it as a favor and it's a 2 hour drive to the property so he'll come after we look at the inside.

I didn't include pictures of the barn, it's beyond saving as a structure. However some neat wood beams lurk in there...

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Whew!

Hope you've got some serious skills. It needs a roof. That aluminum window probably wasn't flashed correction when it was put in, which means that gable end wall will probably have mold in it, and I don't even want to think about what's behind that tarp.

Still, they can be made habitable. My Dad bought one in similar condition when I was about 7 years old. He spent a couple of months of his spare time installing wiring and plumbing, a water heater, furnace and bathrooms - it didn't have any of that - and moved us into it and worked on it part-time for the next 17 years the family lived there.

My Dad was a custom builder. It's funny, he'd build these beautiful homes for folks but never really got around to finishing that house until he'd bought another one at another tax sale - one in worse condition - and was preparing to move what remained of the family into it and start the process all over again.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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If I ignore the exterior finishes, fenestration openings and landscaping, I see but straight lines. Ridge, elevations, roof lines, all straight. That speaks well of the framing. It could be an ugly duckling. Repair the finishes, inside and out, maybe windows and doors, and it may end up able to serve another century. I wouldn't be surprised if it did.

Just my opinion.

Marc

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I hope the inspector checks that roof edge in the second picture, pokes a screwdriver into the rafter ends and where they connect with the sill.

Checks the foundations all around. Looking for termites and rot.

It may not have much insulation, probably had none when built.

The plumbing and electrical all needs replacing, I can see that from here. [:)]

Is there a well? Where's the pump? What about the septic tank? [:(]

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Around here just the land would be worth more than $3500 and the house and barn have more value in the salvaged wood. Like others said, the basic structure looks pretty straight and you can see everything else has to be redone. The only things I can think of that might bite you is any old environmental concerns like underground storage tanks, toxic stuff or lack of access to utilities.

I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

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Why bother with an inspection? What you've got there is a shell. Don't expect more.

WDI or perhaps decay fungi w/interior damage to that shell from a roof leak that's been running for decades.

4 out of 5 like these that I see in my area are ruined, but I live in a city where too many DIY's have laid their hands on them. A small town like Bob L's, maybe he's got better odds.

Sure, $3,500 isn't much but it's not just what you are spending, it's what you are getting too. Get the best one.

Marc

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Well I'll say it since no one else will, the four letter word is lead. That old place will be full of lead. Read the literature and make an informed decision about how you work on painted surfaces, and make sure anyone you hire is RRP certified.

If the foundation is decent, the rest looks like a nice long term project. Now, where's the picture of the barn?

Tom

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Tom, my (minimal) understanding is that lead paint was a premium product and was not always used. I don't know how true this is, but have heard from guys that are hiring inspectors with XRF that they usually find small areas of lead, or none at all. Obviously this is totally unscientific and your point is still a good one. It is shocking how little lead you need to poison a kid.

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Bob,

For curiosity sake are you comfortable with providing an address?

Having been born/raised in Northeast Montana and I have a great affinity for the Northern tier of states.

Also, have many friends from over the years who also live in Idaho and Eastern Oregon, Washington, etc., etc..

BTW - I'd snag it in a heartbeat as well.

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My Dad just bought one for $1500.00. 2,300 sq ft of 1860's farmy italianate w/ a roof that's been leaking for 20 years. The house had 135 cu yards of garbage inside.

It's dead straight. We replaced 4 rafters and two studs. The floors are all sandable, no rot anywhere. All the trim is salvageable.

The basement is as nice as any old basement; 7 feet of headroom, Medina sandstone floor and no repairs needed.

What Kurt said about old wood.

Tom, if he's fixing it up himself to live in it, he doesn't need RRP contractors.

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Marc,

I'm no expert about Idaho but I doubt that he has to worry too much about most WDI in Idaho. The climate is pretty dry out that way and temps will do a lot to keep most WDI at bay. He might have to deal with some carpenter ants and possibly lychtids but I don't think he'll need to worry about subs unless there is a problem with drywood termites out that way. Hell, we have a moderate climate in the winter here and plenty of moisture and subs won't even come north or east of West Seattle here for some reason.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Detroit,

If some of you are really looking at garage sale prices on homes and want to invest you might look at Detroit. I've been seeing houses on the FHA housing lists in Detroit that are going for anywhere from $2K to $12K that look decent. I hear Detroit is going to be America's next more important farming community.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Tom, my (minimal) understanding is that lead paint was a premium product and was not always used. I don't know how true this is, but have heard from guys that are hiring inspectors with XRF that they usually find small areas of lead, or none at all. Obviously this is totally unscientific and your point is still a good one. It is shocking how little lead you need to poison a kid.

A house that age is pretty likely as in 80-95% certain to have lead paint at least on the doors and trim, and just as likely to have it on the exterior.

As a matter of interest, I recently found a quart of paint in my basement over the mudsill that is 38% by weight, lead. It's called BPS (best paint sold)

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Tom, if he's fixing it up himself to live in it, he doesn't need RRP contractors.

Not yet... but that's not what I said.

Read the literature and make an informed decision about how you work on painted surfaces, and make sure anyone you hire is RRP certified.

I think the Rule is Draconian, but as a parent of a poisoned kid I totally get its intent.

Tom

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The house is east of Kendrick ID. That's as much of an address as I'd like to give, don't want to get out bid by another old house aficionado.

The main reason to get an inspection is to make sure the structure is solid. Since the inspector isn't charging me anything I figure why not?

There are a few drawbacks to the house mainly in terms of location. It is remote. Figure a 30 minute drive to the nearest store. There are utilities near by. This house is part of a dying community. So there are several other houses in this condition nearby, old barns, old general stores. Property value likely won't go up. However over time we could own most of the "town". The old general store would make a nice woodworking shop or something. Perhaps I could start my HVAC business out of the abandoned depot?

We plan on heading out on Friday to see the inside. I'll be sure to take plenty of pictures.

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A house that age is pretty likely as in 80-95% certain to have lead paint at least on the doors and trim, and just as likely to have it on the exterior.

And pretty much guaranteed to be in the ground all around the base of the house, and concentrated @ the eave drip line.

Self cleaning characteristics and all, there's a lot of lead in the dirt around old houses.

I think the dirt is one of the most dangerous locations; kids dig dirt, and digging it, dig in it.

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Detroit,

If some of you are really looking at garage sale prices on homes and want to invest you might look at Detroit. I've been seeing houses on the FHA housing lists in Detroit that are going for anywhere from $2K to $12K that look decent. I hear Detroit is going to be America's next more important farming community.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Cleveland is bad enough - I'll pass on Detroit.

It's funny (well, not really) to hear the stories about the guys that rehab/flip some of these homes. If they put anything in/on the home that can be taken to a scrap yard it will be gone by morning.

I'll take the home that's located 10 miles from nowhere.

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