Understanding Older Houses Independently owned and operated
Course Objectives • Enhance your understanding of older properties to better anticipate “sticking points” with prospective buyers • Improve your ability to spot possible deficient conditions with property when working with sellers to set a realistic asking price • Improve your ability to counsel buyers on making offers, taking into consideration maintenance/repair issues that can be realistically and economically resolved • Enhance your ability as an agent to work with buyers and sellers on transaction details and negotiations
Common Issues With Older Houses • The style, features and location of older properties are part of the appeal to certain buyers • Any history associated with older properties can greatly add to the appeal and value • This presentation does not address properties on the National Historical Register, but a certain amount of appeal and value is added to any property that can boast, “Ben Franklin slept here” • Any person who purchases a property on the National Historical Register should know that very strict rules and regulations apply to repairs, remodeling, how it’s used, etc.
Older Houses Sketch: Carson Dunlop
Older Houses • The lot has great drainage • Sufficient attic ventilation • Original cedar lap siding, which was kept primed, painted, etc. • This house is in remarkable condition for a +70-year-old home
Older Houses • This is a 1940s house • It also has the original cedar lap siding • The house foundation, and siding are in good repair • However, the wood shingles and gutters are in need of replacement
Older Houses • This 1935 house has asbestos shingle siding • Asbestos siding can last a long time • As long as it is otherwise undamaged, asbestos siding does not prevent a house from being sold
Older Houses • This house was built in the • 1970s (not overly old) • It shows a wood foundation, which might only last 50 to 60 years to begin with • Note the moisture trapped behind the plastic • This will undoubtedly lead to early rot, and the house was not yet finished
Lots and Grounds • Walks and steps • Porches • Grading • Driveways
Grading • For the long-term well-being of a house, rainwater from the roof, gutters and surface water must be directed away from the house • Grading that is level or near level is a long-term concern • Negative grading nearly always leads to water intrusion
Grading Grading should have a positive to negative slope around the entire perimeter of the home. Recommended grading is 1 inch in every foot of drop. Sketch: Carson Dunlop
Grading Slightly negative grading
Grading and Water Intrusion Cost to remediate: Depends on the options
Grading and Water Intrusion Properly installed de-watering system Sketch: Carson Dunlop
Driveway Gravel driveways require ongoing maintenance
Walks and Steps Sections of sidewalk have settled, causing a trip hazard and ponding water
Roofing • Type of material • Flashings and valleys • Chimneys • Gutters and downspout extensions
Roofing • With older houses, time and gravity alone can affect the roofs • Common roofing materials were asphalt, fiberglass, wood and possibly slate • The number of layers of roofing material can become an issue • Two layers of composition shingles is generally permitted; three is not • Asbestos shingles were fairly common on older houses • Asbestos shingles can last a long time, although repair or replacement can become an environmental issue
Roofs and Ridge Lines • We hope to see straight and level roof lines • Sagging, dishing, etc. mean that the foundation has settled, there is deflection in the joists, racking of the walls, etc. Sketch: Carson Dunlop
Roof Framing Rafter or stick-built construction Sketch: Carson Dunlop
Roofs and Ridge Lines • Needs new shingles • Roof and ridge lines are straight • First indication, without further analysis is that the structure is sound
Roof and Ridge Lines • This sketch reflects spaced sheathing as was depicted in the previous slide • Once roof replacement is necessary, it is easier and less expensive to cover the spaced sheathing with solid sheathing • This method is reflected in the next slide Sketch: Carson Dunlop
Sheathing This spaced sheathing was covered with solid decking, which allowed for the application of composition shingles
Roof Note this 1883 ridge line is straight with no sagging or deflection
Roof Shingles are starting to show their age
Chimneys • Older houses may have chimneys that are still in use and/or abandoned • A lot of older chimneys were not lined • All chimneys, regardless of age, must have a liner of either clay or metal for wood burning stoves or fireplaces or natural or LP gas • If older chimneys are structurally sound, then they can be usually be lined • The following slide shows where the homeowner of this 1883 home removed one chimney and inserted a new metal liner into the other
Attic • Insulation • Ventilation • Access • Roof framing • Sheathing
Attic Access Attic access is off a step ladder. The opening is undersized according to today’s standards.
Attic Access Access can be enlarged to be more accommodating, but the attic in this case is not meant for additional storage. Sketch: Carson Dunlop
Insulation • Traditionally 6 inches to 12 inches of attic insulation was used • Today, more is commonplace • Adding insulation to the attic of older houses can be an issue if they have knob and tube wiring • Knob and tube wiring cannot be covered • As long as the electrician has room to work, the cost of removing the knob and tube wiring from the attic will be offset with the long-term energy saving from adding additional insulation
Insulation • Various types of insulation can contain asbestos • This picture is of Vermiculite • In most cases, this can be left in place and other insulation placed on top of it
Ventilation • Proper ventilation contributes to the comfort of the house • Today’s ventilation standards formula: • For every 150 sq. ft. of footprint space there should be 1 sq. ft. total of lower and upper vent openings for an attic • Ventilation can be accomplished with static vents, soffit vents, ridge vents, gable end vents, power vents, etc. • Inadequate ventilation can cause excessive heat buildup in an attic and can cause ice dams in climates with winter conditions • Inadequate ventilation can also reduce the life expectancy for a roof covering • Additional venting is fairly easy to install should it be needed
Ventilation Current owner has installed gable-end vents and soffit vents to increase the amount of air flow in the attic.
Baffles Baffles are installed to allow more insulation to be installed without obstructing the soffit vents. Sketch: Carson Dunlop
Ventilation • Whole-house fans are intended to help cool the living space and not intended to cool the attic • This is an improper installation • Improperly cutting rafters, ceiling joists, etc. is not permitted
Ventilation Static vents
Exterior Surfaces • Exterior siding commonly found on older houses could be cedar lap, asbestos shingle, steel or vinyl • Exterior doors could be solid or hollow core • Windows could be wood frame, vinyl clad, have removable windows, etc.
Exterior Doors Front door is original but is not energy efficient, according to today’s standards.
Windows There will be many original single-pane windows that need to be repaired or replaced.
Windows Windows on the enclosed back porch are stuck closed from paint and, due to age, very likely contain lead-based paint.
Lead-Based Paint Lead-based paint was used in older homes because of its adhesion qualities. Testing could be conducted to determine its presence and remediation, if necessary.
Foundation (exterior) Because of near-level grading, very little of the foundation on the outside is exposed.