I’m selling my house not because I want a new one, but because I want a particular new one – a 1915 Craftsman-style home, for which I’m currently under contract contingent upon mine selling. (It may have been the yard art – among other things – that made me love it).
I’ve decided to go ahead on Tuesday with the inspection on my potential new home because there’s a distinct possibility that, although I love way the house looks superficially (OK – I love the way it could look, with a decade or so of work), it needs more than I can handle in terms of skill, or funds to pay those who have them. I’ve decided it’s best to have things checked out now by an expert; if the house needs more work than I think it does and I wait for mine to go under contract to discover that, I could end up homeless.
The object of my affections has many problems that are easy to identify with even the most cursory of looks (which in hindsight is typical of many of my former objects of affection).
Some of the soffits and fascia boards are rotted or completely missing; I need to find out if any additional problems (an entrenched raccoon colony, for example, or worse, rotted joists) lurk behind the visible damage.
All the box gutters that I can see from the windows need relining, and one of them is detached from the roof edge. There doesn’t appear to be water damage on the wall beneath, but if there is, there goes the budget.
The roof almost certainly needs replacing.
There’s a hole hacked in a kitchen wall through which one can see a hole in what I think is a waste vent stack (better than in the waste stack itself, I suppose); I’m pretty sure that pipe hole can’t be patched – but how difficult (read expensive) that pipe is to replace, I’ve no idea. And really, I’ve no idea if that pipe is connected to anything at all. (The plaster patching? Easy.)
And there are other smaller (at least I think they’re smaller) visible issues for which I need an expert to dig (metaphorically or actually) below the surface.
But there’s one big potential downfall – literally. The back of the house is, somewhat oddly for the style and location, constructed on pillars. I’ve checked the Sanborn maps (thank you Cincinnati public library for making them accessible online), and this appears to be the original footprint and construction. The side fenestrations in that part of the structure are out of square, so the windows can’t completely close (I’d have to come up with some creative solutions…beyond remaking all the windows out of square). There are obviously some settling issues – but I don’t know how bad they are, or if they’re likely to be exacerbated with frightening celerity. It doesn’t help that the pillars are clad in wood; I can’t see what they’re made of or what’s going on beneath.
There are also some stair-step cracks (not big ones) following the overlay brick pattern of the poured-concrete foundation of the main structure, but on the inside (where the concrete is exposed), it doesn’t appear to be a major issue – but I know next-to-nothing about structural engineering. (Small cracks might be bad; big cracks are definitely bad. That’s the sum-total of my expertise.)
And the entire house needs painting, inside and out. I can do the inside; for the outside, I’d hire the same outfit that did such a fast and excellent job on my current home (that would be Forest Hills Painting, in case anyone in the Cincinnati area needs a recce).
So on Tuesday, I hope to find out what I may be getting myself into. And I’ll find out if I really want to get into it.
What I’m most anxious about is that the inspection will reveal the house needs only the work I’ve already identified and for which I’ve budgeted – then, I’ll be in full-on panic mode about mine selling in time for the move to happen (no, I’m not revealing the timeline). If mine doesn’t sell, I’ll have basically thrown away a significant chunk of money. Far worse, though, is that I will be desolate.
But should my (potential) dream house reveal itself as a nightmare, well, that’s money well spent – while I still have the option of maintaining ownership of the solid roof now over my head (which already features relined box gutterss, and new fascia boards and soffits).