Questions/Issues Re: Buying An 1830 Stone House & Creamery

Questions and answers relating to houses built in the 1800s and before.

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Questions/Issues Re: Buying An 1830 Stone House & Creamery

Post by OldHouseN00B »

Hey Everybody,

First post on the forum and I'm excited to get everyone's input.

My wife and I have been looking for a home outside the city for some time. Recently, we found a place we both intuitively really loved - a 7.5 acre plot with two structures on it dating from the mid 1800s - however we are both keenly aware of the potential for the property to be a major albatross, and we want to try and assess the situation as completely as possible before rather than after making an offer.

The Structures On The Property

Both are listed in the National Register Of Historic Places.

The Creamery - A three story stone building - just massive and in total disrepair internally - tons of stuff, about evenly split between super old furniture, ruined machinery, and straight garbage. It used to be an old creamery. It has on both sides of the original structure newer attached smaller structures - a stone lean-to on one end and a metal-framed shed on the other. The first floor is at grade in the front and below grade in the rear, so that you need to go up to the second floor in order to exit at the rear.

The Home - An 1800s two story stone home with an attached two story brick home built in the 1930s. The first floor is partially embarked. There is a full basement that I believe had concrete, rather than dirt, floors - but it was extremely dark and frankly hard to tell.

The house is about 50 feet or so from a creek. Between the house and the creek there is the septic system, which is marked with a manhole cover.

A Bit About Us

My wife and I did a tour of the house and the creamery, and we understand that this property is, conventionally speaking, a total albatross on its face - especially for two apartment dweller, non engineers from the city.

But the thing is, we both want a life long project to work on. Both of us are eager to do work and to learn as we go. We had the unique experience, for city dwellers, of totally gut renovating our own apartment - and we want very much to do that with a country home.

Ultimately, we have no illusions about what a property like this will look like for us - a ton of neverending work and, conventionally speaking, "headaches" as we slowly, ploddingly bring this place back to life and make it our own.

My Question For All Of You

Our big problem is, we don't know where the boundary lines are between a property that is a dangerous, ultra-expensive short term albatross, and a property that is an old but fundamentally stable, long term albatross that we can manage to slowly work on over the coming years.

To that end, I have two questions for this community:

1. What are the issues, with a stone house of this age, that we MUST get answers to in order to assess whether this house falls into the "total catastrophe, tens of thousands of dollars of immediate repairs" category, or the "livable, long term project" category?

2. Is it a good idea to see the property a second time with an engineer who is comfortable with this kind of construction? And, if so, does anyone have any recommendations for such a specialist in the NJ/tri-state area? Or, alternatively, any information about how to find someone trustworthy?

I've attached as a PDF some information regarding the home and it's history/construction for your perusal.

Thank you all so much for any input you're able to provide.
1800s House.pdf
More details about the nature of the two structures, the listing, and a small map
(1.08 MiB) Downloaded 198 times

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