I've been a lurker for a good long time, and have learned so much from you all. A life-long old house lover, I recently found one that I really like, as a second home, but have concerns as far as pursuing it further. My next step is to hire a contractor to go over the house with a fine tooth comb, to give me an estimate, before I consider making an offer. The house is also about 6 hours' drive from where I live. (Warning: This post may be a long one).
The home is in a mountainous region, on 1/2 acre, 1100 SF. The major parts of the lot slope probably between 15 and 25 degrees.
The original one room home was built in 1890, on what appears to be a stone foundation over a crawlspace. No access the the crawlspace.
The home has been added onto, at least 3 times. One other room seems to be on the same type of crawlspace (also no access), and has a significant slope, bounce, and mushy feeling towards an outside wall. Another, newer room joins this area, at right angles, with a badly flashed roof at the valley above, and no guttering. The newer room has a slab foundation.
The other rooms of the house are also pier and beam, with a more accessible crawl space, due to the slope of the land.
Other than the section that is accessible, the earlier parts of the house need to be regraded so badly the foundation is not immediately visible, ie the ground covers it. The house is asphalt shingle over wood clapboard siding. The lowest course of shingle touches, and in some cases, is in the ground.
Because the foundation walls were covered, there was no visible venting of the crawlspaces; if they exist, obviously they couldn't do their job.
So, with all that: Do I need to assume the worst, that because of the grading, no gutters, no vents, mushy floor, that most, if not all of the floor joists will be damaged? And if, once excavated, the crawlspace is minimal, that all the flooring (original wood, I think) will need to come up to make the repairs?
And the sill plates: Should I assume they are also damaged? All the walls appeared solid, it's a mix of plaster, fiberboard (I think) and drywall. The corners, inside and out, seemed square (as much as an old house can be) with no obvious leaning in or out.
I do apologize for being so wordy. I really want to be prepared for what may happen, and not get my heart set on this house.
A picture for a thank you!
Kelly in Texas