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What problems should I anticipate when buying a hundred year old house, even if it has been updated?

Where can I find information about updates/renovation work?
To what depth will an inspector be able to discover problems?
Will personal property taxes increase because of renovations?
Will property tax increase because of "sold for" price?
  • Question refers to 4723 Sigel Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63116
  • February 21 2010
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Answers (6)

I wouldn't anticipate many problems, if the home was inspected correctly. If it was not, then it might look pretty on the outside, but if no money was spent on the inside of the walls, expect to pay the big bucks. Good Luck!
  • June 19
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I would suggest you choose wisely in making two decisions. First get the right Realtor and that should help you get the right home inspector. Read my resent blog on home inspector qualifications. Choosing the right inspector is definitely most important. When a Realtor recommends an inspector. The check list should look like this: 1) Licensed by that state or Certified by one of the two Inspector Associations like NACHI or ASHI. 2) E & O Insured plus general liability.  3) Construction experience in roofing, gutters, ventilation, insulation, chimneys, siding decking, framing, door and window installation, plumbing, electrical, hvac, concrete, masonry, utilities (gas, electric, water, sewer). 4) Inspection report writing software that covers all major systems. 5) Ability to convey current home systems status to the general public who may not have background in a homes systems. 
Choosing the right Realtor is definitely most important for the buyer and seller. The check list should generally look the same with some excepts. Maybe a Realtor can give us that list.       
  • June 19
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Good answers!
Thinking back to buyer clients... The top problems are roof and basement. These can also be the most difficult for you or even an inspector to see. They should be able to identify most problems. (It's always nice when you have a nice big rain right before inspection!) If you request repairs during the sale process... I would strongly suggest having the building re-inspected rather than relying on seller reports. Even those with best intentions may be relying on their own second had info from contractors. Best to spend the money on re-inspection before the house is all yours.
  • March 10 2010
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I'll parrot the things Shannon suggested about craftmanship as well as quality of building materials used for construction at the turn of the last century.  4723 Sigel is a frame home and the lumber used in 1910 most likely came from an old growth forest.  You won't find that in today's newer construction. 

Shannon also suggested getting a building inspector and since I noticed newer floor joists sistered in the MLS pics, I'm adding that your inspector is also an engineer qualified to report on the structural work.

The property is located in an area known for coal mining and this may be causing settlement.  I know because I live in the neighborhood in a home with similar conditions... not trying to scare you, just forewarn you.  A inspection by a qualified engineer will ease your concerns. (public records indicate a permit for "joist repairs" was issued in 2009)

Again, as Shannon suggested the quality of workmanship and materials used for the upgrades is a concern (the inspector will report on these, too).

The Assessor currently values the property at $67,100 and after it is sold will evaluate the certificate of value (COV) as well as sales of similar homes in the neighborhood to determine its market value in the 2011 reassessment year. 

Any home new or 100-yr old will require maint & repairs.  The building inspection should inform you of items that have been deferred, corrected, and what to expect in the forseeable future.

Good luck/
  • February 25 2010
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Have the home blessed
  • February 23 2010
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I mostly help folks buy and sell (and have also renovated) century old homes in the city. If it is well done, I'll take an older home any day over the new matchstick palaces they throw up now. Most of them will be recycled into the landfill in another hundred years, and many of our current historic homes will still be in use. My personal home was built in 1911, has foot thick brick walls, and the handbuilt hardwood stairs are square and squeak-free.The biggest issues are how well updates have been done, with care and craftsmanship, or was it a sloppy quickie flip from the boom of a few yyears ago. A good home inspector can tell you a LOT, but at $400 plus for an inspection, you need some expert advice in the looking stage too.

Work with a realtor and brokerage that specializes in historic homes, if all they know is west county generic boxes, they won't have a clue how to help you out.
  • February 23 2010
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