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Buying a 100 year old house on a short sale - advice needed

My questions are disappearing after I post them. Here is my initial question. I sincerely appreciate you taking time to offering your advice.

I am planning to put an offer on a house which is a short sale. It is a 100 year old victorian house in Phoenixville, PA. The house was built around 1909 and the previous owner bought it in 2007 for $252,000. Now the house is on sale for $145,000. It is in great condition and ready to move-in. The electric, plumbing, cooling have been upgraded in the past 10-15 years. There has been some settling issues and the floor on the first floor dining room has tilted to one side. This seems to have happened a while back. The original owner have build around the settling and doesn't seem to be bothered by the sloping floor. Current owner stated this as the reason behind the huge price drop. He had a structural report done in 2007 which reported the house as being in a structurally solid condition. Redirecting some drainage to outside of the home's foundation was adviced. Seller's disclosure didn't reveal any major issues (termites or mold). Some roof leaking and other issues were taken care of.

  • November 06 2012 - Phoenixville
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Answers (6)

Don't buy the house.

It's probably a good deal for someone, but you have too many doubts to make this a good deal for you.

Prices have to be lower on short sales because 1) they take a long time to close, and 2) there's a risk that they won't close. So the price has to be attractive enough to make a buyer wait and risk never getting the property; it also has to be high enough that the lender is willing to approve the deal.

Personally, I think this is a great time to buy - it's a super time to borrow money - but I also think buyers have to be comfortable with their purchase.

All the best,
  • November 11 2012
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I would be concerned about a floor that is " has tilted to one side". because it can indicate hidden problems. My advice is to get a really good and complete home inspection including lead and asbestos before you move forward.

  • November 10 2012
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100% pay for a full home inspection from a reputable, local, company that is familiar with that sort of construction.

You will be glad you did, even if the report doesn't show you anything wrong.  It is just better to "know" for yourself.

Best wishes from So-Cal and good luck
  • November 06 2012
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Profile picture for sunnyview
The may be sound, but I would not rely on the owner's structural inspection or representations. It would be worth paying for your own inspection from a general contractor who restores old houses. Old does not mean bad and a sloping floor in a house that age is not a deal killer either, but you need more information.

A pest inspection is a must and I would also check the house for any active mold issues if the roof was a past problem. The best way to avoid a money pit is by trusting your gut and getting solid inspections done before you buy.
  • November 06 2012
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Pay for your own inspections prior to purchase.

Have your struct engineer do a current foundation inspection and write down any findings and cost of repair estimated by a professional in the trades into your offer

ie: $145,000 sales price, $10k worth of suggested repairs ~ make a full price offer contingent upon a credit for the repairs

In essence, negotiate the price with a professionals quote or bid to complete any repair work.  Especially as an RE Agent; they shouldnt want any exposure to the potential of any non-disclosure issues

  • November 06 2012
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 I really liked the house, but am nervous about making the decision to invest in it. Especially since I just finished paying off my student loans and such and doesn't have a lot of savings built yet. What other factors should I be concerned about ? What questions should I ask myself, the seller and the home inspector ? The seller is a real estate agent who rented the house for the past 4 years, I understand that he might have other personal factors influencing him to sell the house, but I have been wondering if he doesn't see any value in the house. Why would he sell the house lesser than he paid and the current market value ? I will definitely be getting a structural engineer and a home inspector before proceeding any further. But am I overthinking ? I am afraid of getting myself into a money pit and at the same time worried about regretting later if I end up not buying the house.
  • November 06 2012
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