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About To Buy My First Home...Questions  
User currently offlineUAL747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2848 times:

Well, I've been looking around for the perfect home, and I think I've found it. The only worry I have is, it's an OLLLLDDDD home. It was built in 1928. I went with my realtor today to look at it and fell in love. It has the old barrell ceilings and great old hardwood floors. It's about 2090 sq. ft. and has 3 bedrooms, and a finished basement, (not included in square footage). However, there are some water problems that I noticed. I mean, it's been raining here in OKC for about 4 days straight, but the basement has some leakage, and I am wondering about the A/C system in the house. Cosmetically, it is beautiful inside, but I wonder about what's inside the walls. The second thing is that the garage which is separate of the house has problems with the east wall. In fact, the east brick wall is falling off. The house has a listed price of $209,000, but I wonder what sort of updating I will have to do to the house. Obviously it has been completely refurbished, but I'm still concerned because of its age and what's going on in the INTERIOR. Does anyone have experience with old homes? I know that by city law, the electrics of the house have been updated from former standards. Also, it is in a historic district of town, so any changes to the exterior have to be approved by the city. Anyway, here is a pic of the home. I'm really excited, but this is a lot of money. Perhaps not a lot to some, but still a lot for me. But, it's just a fabulous house inside. But in buying a house, what are the questions you really should ask? My realtor told me that I need to send an independant contractor in to take a look and give suggestions before I make an offer. Here is a pic.


17 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineLt-AWACS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2837 times:

Is that in the Cleveland part of OKC or off Western? Look for foundation problems, that is a big problem in central Oklahoma with the red clay. A good home inspector will find any foundation cracks. The ~$300 you pay for the inspection is worth it!

Ciao, and Hook 'em Horns,
Capt-AWACS, Rome- Over 2000 years of indoor plumbing

User currently offlineUAL747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2833 times:

This is off 36th and Western in the Edgemere/Crown Heights Area. BTW, I'm planning on going again to see the house this week and taking some digital pics, will post later.


[Edited 2005-08-17 03:57:59]

User currently offlineNancy From United States of America, joined May 2004, 467 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2813 times:

My previous house was actually civil war era construction. Make sure you get an engineer's inspection before you buy it though, and you will want to be mindful of lead paint. It's usually easy enough to take care of though. You may also want to talk to a contractor or 2 and get an estimate on any repairs that need to be done.

User currently offlineFlyingTexan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2802 times:

Nice find!

That’s not an old home. My folks owned a place in Maine built in 1877 and a place in Massachusetts built when George Washington was president. Now, that’s old.

I don’t have much experience with water damage (either floods or leaking).

My advice – get an INDEPENDENT inspector. Note independent, not the homeowner’s neighbor’s cousin. Get two independent inspections, if necessary. IE; if the first discovers a multitude of mold, structural (including foundation) problems, and the roof. Get someone with experience, knows other homes in the neighborhood, familiar with the market, knows the soil, etc – experience counts. And make sure they are state licensed.

What is the roof? It looks asphalt.

And for the transaction itself – get an attorney. To inspect the paperwork at closing. Hey – I don’t do my own dental work, I don’t my own alterations on clothes, I don’t re-paint my own car. I hire an expert.

Most may view hiring an attorney for the closing as unnecessary – but it may save you in the long run. Big time.

Best of luck!

User currently offlineAC777LR From Canada, joined Apr 2006, 487 posts, RR: 35
Reply 5, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 2791 times:

As a person who's family has been in the RelEstate business for 80 years, I would say get a home inspector and do a walk through with him/her. Point out any problem areas and find out how minor or bad they are, look at your cost to fix the problem areas, also take these things into consideration when making an offer. See if the home owners can fix or help fix any of the problem areas. Make sure to look at plumbing and drainage pipes in the house. Check foundation and hydrology of the area. Take a good look at this house and make sure you know what it is you are dealing with. I would say from what you have read that the problems are rather minor and that it seems to be a decent buy.

Member since April 2000
User currently offlineUAL747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 2772 times:

Yeah, my realtor said that we need to get an independant inspector in just to take a look at the house. But, God, the thing is beautiful on the inside, as well as the outside. The price is a little high for the square footage here in OKC, because the cost of living isn't that high in OKC, but you can't get a better location, or a better attention to architectual detail. The area is historic, and OKC is taking great pride in remodeling the area and making sure it sticks to standards. The things that really bother me are the garage wall falling off, and perhaps some leakage in the basement area, but the 1920's style inside and the hardwood floors are amazing. Just a very cute house and in a very stylish neighborhood. Many young, urban, hip crowds are moving into the area as starter homes. The arts district in OKC is near the area, and all the hip shops are moving into the same area. I'm not planning on making an offer of $209,000, but perhaps a little less, depending on what needs to be done to the house. The kitchen is small, but I don't EVER spend time in the kitchen. It has about 2 living areas, with a sunroom that was added in the 80's in the back of the house. The house is rather narrow on the front, but backs up deeply into the lot. It has a two-car detached garage, that evidently needs redone, or perhaps demolished and rebuilt, but I think it's a great house.


User currently offlineUAL747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2753 times:

Quoting FlyingTexan (Reply 4):
What is the roof? It looks asphalt.

Not sure of the roof, other than it's not wood shingles, it's slate, or whatever it's called. Anyway, wood shingles make your insurance higher here in OK. I looked over the roof, and it seems rather new in comparison to other houses in the area, though many of them have slate or wood shingles.


User currently offlineLuv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 12341 posts, RR: 45
Reply 8, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2719 times:
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By all means get a inspection and have them be critical for your benefit. Also when they quote what it will cost to fix everything you will need to fix add roughly 25% to 50% to what they quote you, to cover your ass, so to say.

You can cut the irony with a knife
User currently offlineUAL747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2681 times:

Some new pics of the house:







User currently offlineDiamond From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3279 posts, RR: 60
Reply 10, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2685 times:


It's a very nice looking house, and the price is GREAT. But are you really sure you want to stay in OKC? For some reason I thought you said your stay in OKC was temporary.

User currently offlineCORULEZ05 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2675 times:

Looks like a nice house although VERY outdated.....unless you are into that "look", you are gonna have some MAJOR renovations to make. I will say congrats on being so young and already owning your own house!!!!  bigthumbsup 

User currently offlineCanuckpaxguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2671 times:

This is what $209K will buy you in Toronto:

Not sure what your laws are regarding home-owner protection, but I'd make sure you get a very thorough title search done on the home and copies of the most recent survey. You never know when it will come in handy. Title insurance is also a good idea.


User currently offlineUAL747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2656 times:

Quoting Diamond (Reply 10):

It's a very nice looking house, and the price is GREAT. But are you really sure you want to stay in OKC? For some reason I thought you said your stay in OKC was temporary.

Eh, I'm having second thoughts. OKC has its great places. And I like the town overall, plus all my immediate family is in the area.

Quoting CORULEZ05 (Reply 11):
Looks like a nice house although VERY outdated.....unless you are into that "look", you are gonna have some MAJOR renovations to make. I will say congrats on being so young and already owning your own house!!!!  

The house has been renovated. The look you are seeing is the look that all the homes in that area have. Like I said, it's a historical district. City law prohibits making major changes to the home other than improvement or safety reasons. There are a lot of young, hip, urban crowds moving in the area. The value of this home in 2000 was $130,000, and has risen to the upper $100,000 to the lower $200,000 in the past 5 years. The projection for the area is an increase in property value, because of the location to downtown OKC, and the arts district and shops.

BTW, I have more modern furniture than what is currently in the house. It will have more of a swanky bachelor pad look when I'm finished with the inside, instead of this classical "White House" look to it now.


[Edited 2005-08-18 04:22:28]

User currently offlineBezoar From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 807 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2641 times:

We bought our big 1913 farmhouse in 1985 for a song, and then gutted it. We removed the oak and pine woodwork to be refinished, knocked out the plaster and lathe walls, re-wired, re-plumbed, re-roofed, insulated the outside walls, drywalled, replaced the woodwork, refinished the floors, removed the aluminum siding, installed central air, and did a thousand other things that needed to be done.

We're still working on it after 16 years. Periodically we run out of money, and sometimes we just get burned out from renovating and want to have a life.

Needless to say, in the beginning it looked nowhere near as nice as the gem you are looking at now, but around here anything that didn't come in on wheels is upscale.

You will become familiar with the 'mushroom factor' where one problem leads to others. For instance, you go to change a light bulb and notice that the fixture is a bit loose. You tighten the fixture and find that the thread is stripped. You remove the fixture and find the wires need to be replaced. You also notice the wood above the fixture is somewhat decayed, and that there is has been a leak from the bathroom above.... And so on and so forth.

Count on whatever project you want to do to wind up costing twice as much and taking twice as long as you had estimated. There will always be things that have to be fixed and replaced. Always. You don't own a house as much as it owns you.

We've spent money than we ever dreamed of spending. We would have been better off financially by plowing the house and rebuilding from scratch. The atmosphere of an older home can't be beat, though. It's almost impossible to match the quality of building materials and workmanship these days. I've seen homes built in the last few years that are already falling apart.

I would have to agree with all the advice to get trained folks to look at it from the basement and foundation to the attic and roof. Have them check for asbestos, whether the walls and roof are insulated. Check to see if the windows and fixtures ALL work. Many times the windows have been painted shut. Find out if the water and sewer lines have ever been replaced. In 80 years they probably have been changed. See if you can see the bills for heating and cooling for the last year. Make sure there are no problems with the property lines. If the floorboards are tight and the floors are level, you can probably be assured that the foundation is sound. Get an inspector to tell you why that brickwork has deteriorated. Check to see if the rest of the house needs repointing. (That is a major job.) If you make an offer, use the things that need to be done to justify a lower purchase price.

I'd prefer a bit more yard and distance from the neighbors, but having close neighbors is fine if you get along with them. Along with the inspectors, you might want to meet the Jones' to either side.

By no means should you rent the movie "The Money Pit." They say it is a comedy, but it is really a horror flick.

Good luck, and have fun. Enjoy your love affair. (More like a love/hate affair...)

"There are none so blind as those who will not see."
User currently offlineSaintsman From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2002, 2065 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 2622 times:

Why buy a place that needs work doing on it? A first time buy is going to take all of your spare cash (for most people anyway). You need to look at this buy with a clear head and not be clouded in your judgement. First time buyers (and second /third time etc to be honest) often fall in love with a place and fail to see what else needs doing or want to make changes and then find that they have to spend a fortune on top of what they pay.

My advice is to write a list of all the things you want in a property and all the things that you don't want and then see if the house you look at meets the spec. Look at it from a factual process, not an emotional one. You have done quite well noticing potential problems already. You will be surprised as to how many people miss the obvious faults because they are blinded by emotion.

You will already have a basic idea as to what you want, so add to your list such things as south facing back gardens, high or low maintenance gardens - eg trees are nice but leaves are a pain in the autumn, can you park easily, does it have fitted wardrobes - it will put the overall price up if you have to buy them, does the place need decorating - is it livable now, you can make it your own style over then comming months, what are the neighbours like - do they have young screaming kids or noisy teenagers or dogs etc.

The list can be as big as you want but you get the idea. If you do that and analyse your results you are unlikely to regret buying a place. And with regard to this place, the fact that you have asked the question on this forum shows that you may have doubts already. Think carefully before you take the plunge.

User currently offlineCptkrell From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3220 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 2611 times:

Very handsome digs, indeed. I wish you happiness and good luck should you choose to purchase. Others have already mentioned the importance of having a profesional independent inspection; I'll only echo that it IS important, but want to also echo Canuckpaxguy's note on Title Insurance, an item I previously valued not all that highly (after all, if a title search comes through clean, why buy the insurance?).

Only last week it was discovered that in our area, the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority - power company) had obtained an easement right-of-way for power transmission lines back in 1938. Over the years, lines had been routed elsewhere and the easement was "forgotten about" - until recently when old paperwork was uncovered. The easement hits close to home. Only a quarter mile away, the right-of-way cuts across about a dozen homes that have been built, and interprising lawyers are proposing that the homeowners affected will have the "opportunity" to purchase back the square footage the easement takes from their property (at going property values, of course).

Unless political pressure on the TVA to forget about paperwork lost since the 1940's or so is successful, homeowners without Title Insurance may have to cough up tens of thousands of dollars to repurchase the easements to get their titles free and clear. I'm very glad we purchased Title Insurance on our new land; I sleep better. Regards..Jack

all best; jack
User currently offlinePope From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 2598 times:

Beautiful house.

Here's my standard advice on buying a home.

Rule #1 - do not fall in love with a piece of property until after you own it. A home purchase is probably your largest investment. You have to stay objective. Far too many people have become emotionally attached to a home and have then made bad decisions while there was still plenty of time to get out. Visit the house with a critical eye. Think about things like electrical outlets (how many, where are they positioned etc . . .); does your furniture fit? Is there enough storage space.

Rule #2 - hire an attorney (particularly on your first house). The money you'll spend on the attorney is peanuts versus your overall investment. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish. From the pictures it seems like the house is for sale by owner. This means that there's a lot of room for things to go bad. An attorney looks after your interest and yours alone.

Rule #3 - get everything in writing (verbal committments aren't worth the paper they're written on). If you ignore rule #2, rule #3 becomes especially important. The seller wants one thing - to sell his house. Anything he promises to do doesn't mean anything unless you can establish that the promise was made. Contracts don't need to be full of legalese. Simply state, in plain English who is doing what. That being said, please, please, please use an attorney.

Rule #4 - very little survives closing. That means that when the agreement goes from a contract to purchase a house to a deed transfer your rights change. Don't close until what's been promised has been done.

Rule #5 - get the house inspected. A good inspector gives you the objective analysis you need to make an informed decision.

Rule #6 - drive around at least one mile in all directions from the property. Visit the property at different times of the day. For all you know there may be a gang of trouble making teenagers that likes to congregate around the house after school. Would you like to find that out before you close or after. Visit the county office responsible for building plans. Investigate what construction / zoning is planned for the area.

Rule #7 - review your closing statement. By law you're supposed to get it at least 24 hours before closing. In every house I've bought the initial closing statement was delivered late and contained errors that would have cost me money. Have someone explain every line on the statement and how it was computed.

Rule #8 - make sure the contract specifies that the seller has to have the property cleaned before closing. Far too many people leave their houses as shit holes when they're getting out. You'll be surprised just how much junk many people leave behind for you to deal with.

Rule #9 - walk through the property the day of closing after its been vacated. On one house I bought, the seller's movers left a huge gash in carpet that I would have never discovered unless I walked through right before closing.

Rule #10 - don't sign until you're ready. If something seems wrong make sure you're comfortable with the explanation. I really can't emphasize how much better protected your interest are when you've got a real estate attorney looking at all these details.

I don't mean to scare you. Most real estate transactions go off without a hitch. But when they do blow up, they tend to be big problems. If you keep an objective focus until the keys are yours, you'll make better decisions.

Good luck - the house is beautiful.

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