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Take the Plunge?

My fiance and I are considering a circa 1910 brick home that seems more dutch colonial than anything. The stone foundation and brick walls seem to be in good shape. A small wooden shed that provides access to the cellar has been infested by termites, but the nearby wooden flooring looks dry and solid.

The home is a foreclosure, and the previous residents stripped the plaec bare. Neither kitchen has so much as a cabinet.

The big question for us is the roof leaks. There are two 6' x 3" tears in the upstairs plaster ceiling. We saw the places after two days of rain, and under one of the tears was a 1' diameter wet spot on the upstairs carpet. Under the other tear was another wet spot, but not a large enough leak to discolor the beige carpet. On the first floor ceiling, under each leak, was a 3' diameter patch of black mold. The realtor said the spots were new. It has been raining in the days since.

My question for everyone is about the mold. Should I expect to have to replace the roof, plaster ceilings and floors? What about the structural wood in the roof? A coworker advises that we should run away fast.

Thanks in advance,


Re: Take the Plunge?

It's difficult for anyone over the internet to tell sight unseen what and how much to expect.

However ... the roof by the sounds of it will likely need complete re-covering and it's a very good possibility of repairs needed to the decking.

As for the the holes in the ceilings ... again it's difficult to say what's involved but it sounds as though there will be some opening of the ceilings for repairs and mold removal.

Now ... this is where it can get tricky .... if the ceilings are opened for repairs and you discover there is knob & tube wiring ...... many jurisdictions require that wire be removed and replaced since it becomes exposed during repair.

Other things may creep into the picture such as plumbing upgrades while you have the ceiling open.

While I can't say because it's sight unseen as to whether you should run away as fast you can .... you definately should have the home thoroughly inspected for structure and mechanicals , etc. .... although it sounds like it maybe a money pit.

Hope this helps. :)

Re: Take the Plunge?

I have to agree with Canuk. From your post it is appears that you do not have the expertise or experience to really evaluate the house's condition, so it would be best the hire a professional before you make the commitment. It could prove to be very costly error after the papers are signed to do otherwise .

Re: Take the Plunge?

You guys are correct, I have little remodeling or rehabbing experience, and would be hiring contractors for all the major work. My plan, thus far, is to have it inspected, get an estimate from a contractor, then base any offer on that.

I guess my real worry is the mold. It's very humid here in St. Louis, and a friend at work really advises against a place with any sort of mold infestation. I'm wondering if mold remediation is as easy as replacing the plaster ceilings, carpet and pads, and giving the frame a good scrubbing while it's open. I'd hate to pour tens of thousands into replacing the roof and all that interior work just to discover the mold is still growing in the roof framework.

Is there a rule of thumb - if a roof leak in a two-story is causing visible mold on the first floor ceiling, it's probably all over the attic?



Re: Take the Plunge?

Bill, be sure you get a termite inspection, too. That part about the termite infestation in the shed that provides access to the cellar makes me nervous.
Also, what caused the ceiling holes?

I think the fact that there's mold on the first floor ceilings caused by the second floor roof leak is very telling - and we've had gobs of rain lately. (makes it a very good time for house-hunting, though, doesn't it?! you can tell any leaks).

It's pretty much a buyer's market here as everywhere, so you might want to keep looking. There are many on the market in much better shape than that one sounds to be in.

Good luck.

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