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Old 05-05-2011, 09:44 AM   #1
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Looking at a foreclosure, that needs work.

I know some people have had some serious issues with buying fixer uppers. I looked at one or two others and they were rough, projects I would not think of attacking. Just looking for advice...


Either way, I found one, in the neighborhood I would LOVE to live in, good location, great neighborhood, etc... Been watching it for about 2 months.


I went by it yesterday and checked it out, didn't go in but looked at it, went into the backyard and looked in the windows.. It is bank owned, it was a "vacation home" It is listed to have been "winterized"


But honestly the guts of the house look good. I mean from looking in the windows, looks like the flooring and walls might not even need paint....


Excluding the problem areas.... there is one bay window, there is a tarp over the roof over it and drywall ripped out on the inside. The deck, could use a little work but is very much salvageable.


Probably looking a bit to high, found a listing sayng there are estimates from contractors with details on what needs to be done and costs associated. I emailed someoen trying to get info on it, see if its like $40k $10k etc....

Some of the adds say just some minor polishing to get this house up to standard. I mean we will see what that means. But after seeing it, pretty happy with it. Also stated the house is priced to match the lowest sold house in the neighborhood in recent time, then they subtracted the estimates, and priced it.

I have found a few that sold in the mid $180s, this place is listed for $171k just reducded from $179k.


The house was a vacation house so it really wasn't even lived in much, it was built in 1978, and proably could use a little updating.

It is pretty big, but I believe the square footage includes the "sun room" with jacuzzi 2800 sq ft. Lose the sunroom and its probably 2200ish sq ft which is common for a house in this neighborhood for the size. Also 2 car garage with a "work space to the side. I am sure the jacuzzi is dead, don't care that much, would probably yank it out, unless it was cheaper to get it running, but from what I have read, probalby not. I'd sawzaw it. and replace the floor.







bay window in the back that looks like it might have a leak over the top





I do admit this is funky as well. There is a "finished room over the garage", but in the garage they have a support pillar in the middle. I thought this was wierd, or maybe its the norm. Obviously want to make sure its not a structural problem, and was planned in.

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Old 05-05-2011, 10:15 AM   #2
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Re: Looking at a foreclosure, that needs work.

I'd get inside it, look it over with a fine tooth comb; get 2 different home inspectors if you don't know what you're looking at. I say two, because one will typically miss things, and unless you get two horrible inspectors, between the two you should get a good idea of what's needed.

For that price, it looks to be a good buy, but Figure you better have at least $20k on top of whatever you put down for repairs/updates.
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Old 05-05-2011, 10:28 AM   #3
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Re: Looking at a foreclosure, that needs work.

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I'd get inside it, look it over with a fine tooth comb; get 2 different home inspectors if you don't know what you're looking at. I say two, because one will typically miss things, and unless you get two horrible inspectors, between the two you should get a good idea of what's needed.

For that price, it looks to be a good buy, but Figure you better have at least $20k on top of whatever you put down for repairs/updates.
This. I might even pay a bug exterminator to go over the house as well. With any house that isn't new, I'd make damn sure it doesn't have termite damage or foundation problems.

One iffy way to self inspect for termites besides the normal stuff is to look at the drywall and see if there are any really small black/brownish holes in random places on the drywall. Saw these marks on the dryway in my bathroom and after I started renovating the shower, I found studs with termite damage.

It looks nice though imo, I'd live there.
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Old 05-05-2011, 11:08 AM   #4
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Re: Looking at a foreclosure, that needs work.

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I do admit this is funky as well. There is a "finished room over the garage", but in the garage they have a support pillar in the middle. I thought this was wierd, or maybe its the norm. Obviously want to make sure its not a structural problem, and was planned in.
there was a pole in the middle of the garage at the house i grew up in. the living room was above it and it was just a structural piece.
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Old 05-05-2011, 11:13 AM   #5
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Re: Looking at a foreclosure, that needs work.

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there was a pole in the middle of the garage at the house i grew up in. the living room was above it and it was just a structural piece.
yeah... I mean it is a big garage, I can see it going both ways. The pic didn't come up in the first post, I am trying again. If you look, it looks like there is a "hotel room" style AC for the FROG. Once again making me think if it was an afterthought to build it, then they had to add the pole to sure it up. It doesn't look like a traditional pillar, almost like a temporary construction rod.


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Old 05-05-2011, 11:17 AM   #6
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Re: Looking at a foreclosure, that needs work.

If you don't know exactly what you're looking for, I'd bring in multiple (more than just 2-3) home inspectors and gather their points of consensus, and then validate the other points they make.

It looks like you could have a really great property and that it just needs someone to follow through on plans for it. Or you could be looking at a disaster/nightmare that will send you, too, into foreclosure.
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Old 05-05-2011, 11:17 AM   #7
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Re: Looking at a foreclosure, that needs work.

that's different than i imagined (pic wasn't working when i previously posted). ours was maybe a 6x6 beam that was obviously built into the house. that one doesn't look like it belongs there IMO.
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Old 05-05-2011, 11:19 AM   #8
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Re: Looking at a foreclosure, that needs work.

That sure is a high price for an older neighborhood, where is this Summerville?
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Old 05-05-2011, 11:38 AM   #9
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Re: Looking at a foreclosure, that needs work.

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That sure is a high price for an older neighborhood, where is this Summerville?

Outside of charelston, Its an old old town, lots of 100+ year old mansions in it, but at the same time has alot of new stuff as well. The houses are in the $250-500k range in the rest of the neighborhood, even fixed up this is still one of the lower end houses in the neighborhood. Which I kind of like. There are cheaper houses in the area... not exactly looking to buy just yet, but might look for help in the family if it works. I also want to get more info on foreclosure buys.

If I was to pick the ideal neighborhood I want to live in... this is probalby it, location and all. Hence why I browse it, because occasionally a few houses that might fit our range pop up. Best school district, etc...

Ideally we are looking for a 1 story, with maybe a FROG, 2 car garage. I prefer older construction, in a wooded lot in an established neighborhood. I can get a cookie cutter house in a nuked neighborhood in the $115k range if I want. But I prefer an established neighborhood, brick construction, not sticks and nothing but 1 oak tree with 2x4s holding it up in my yard.

Also wife and I want to do a sunroom style porch, and another porch that is open aired like this. Those are additions we rarely see, and would be looking to add on most any house we get over time.


This kind of gets into the "startup home vs. home you want for 15 years" thread.


I mean, might be daydreaming a bit too much and over extending my views, but honestly thats been working pretty well for me for the last 6 years.

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Old 05-05-2011, 11:55 AM   #10
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Re: Looking at a foreclosure, that needs work.

That pole is fairly typical, and what I've seen in a lot of houses. It's the proper way to do it, especially if the room above the garage was added after the house was completed (which from what you're saying it most likely was).

Looks like a decent place, personally, if it were me in about 3 years from now, I'd look at it seriously; but don't get too attached and overlook issues/costs.
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Old 05-05-2011, 12:04 PM   #11
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Re: Looking at a foreclosure, that needs work.

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That pole is fairly typical, and what I've seen in a lot of houses. It's the proper way to do it, especially if the room above the garage was added after the house was completed (which from what you're saying it most likely was).

Looks like a decent place, personally, if it were me in about 3 years from now, I'd look at it seriously; but don't get too attached and overlook issues/costs.
I agree... Saw one listing where it said the lists of problems are availible with estimates from contractors. I am trying to get that to get an idea of what needs to be worked on.

I mean for now looks like outside could use paint(windows, pealing a little, roof needs at least some work in some areas. Deck is liveable, few loose boards, could probably use a repaint, maybe even refinish. Looking in the windows, minus the issues with drywall, the rest of the stuff barely even looked like it needed paint.

there was one 90s tastic all mirror wall, also not a fan of the wood used on the cabinets, but as said, willing to work with that over time. btw no noticed the bar. LOL.

Not sure if I would keep it or not.
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Old 05-05-2011, 02:24 PM   #12
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Re: Looking at a foreclosure, that needs work.

If it's been winterized, it's about $500 to un-winterize it.

Is the power on? Is there a sump pump in the basement? Check for signs of flooding if the sump didn't have a backup battery.

I'd steer clear of foreclosures and winterized houses because they just need SO. MUCH. WORK.
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Old 05-05-2011, 03:06 PM   #13
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Re: Looking at a foreclosure, that needs work.

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If it's been winterized, it's about $500 to un-winterize it.

Is the power on? Is there a sump pump in the basement? Check for signs of flooding if the sump didn't have a backup battery.

I'd steer clear of foreclosures and winterized houses because they just need SO. MUCH. WORK.
No basements to worry about here I noticed when shopping around for homes (we live in the same area) that quite a few of them were winterized, i don't see the point since it doesn't get that cold here.
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Old 05-05-2011, 03:19 PM   #14
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Re: Looking at a foreclosure, that needs work.

How do you winterize a house?
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Old 05-05-2011, 03:24 PM   #15
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Re: Looking at a foreclosure, that needs work.

Basically put antifreeze in the water lines, toilets, water tanks, etc to keep the pipes from cracking if the water freezes. It has to be done by a professional. The power is usually out, water turned off and its cold. Most "winterized" houses are fixer-uppers. While the price may be very enticing for what you get... it's usually so much work to get it up to code before even thinking about moving in.
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