What makes a Good House?

First and foremost, a good house is one that you like and you will be comfortable with. If you hate the house and it won't serve your needs then it probably won't be a good investment- unless you plan on selling it. If you plan on selling it, then you will have to look at the potential it has on the market once it's been moved to your property. If you can make a good profit on it, then it's worth it- but keep in mind that what you end up investing in your moved house to get it finished will probably be more than you planned on spending. It's inevitable that we're going to underestimate the cost of the services and materials we need to complete the house, and it's the lucky mover that doesn't come across an unforeseen problem that ends up costing more.

One of the Houses I Turned Down.
It was only 2 bedrooms and I wanted a minimum of 3. I considered it because there was a small room off the back that I might have been able to convert to a third bedroom.

Most of the houses I came across were older- over 40 years old. With houses that old you will have to be very careful that the house is in good condition- is there termite damage? Water Damage? Has the foundation settled warping the interior joinery? You'll probably want to have a house inspector come to take a look at the house to see if there are any major(or even minor) problems that you'll have to deal with.

Three areas that you'll want to be very careful with in old homes are the materials that were commonly used in the 50's and 60's but are now banned. Mainly you'll want to be sure that there is not asbestos in the linoleum floors or asphalt shingles on the roof. I looked at a couple of houses that had asbestos and the removal can be quite costly. You can't just remove it and send it to the dump- it must be properly disposed of by a licensed asbestos removal company. The other area is lead in the paint. Removing that toxic material can, like the removal of asbestos, be very detrimental to your health and you'll want to handle the materials very carefully.(Even drilling a hole in your floor can be a hazardous chore!).

Once you've determined if there are hazardous materials in your house, then you'll wind to have an expert come in to giver you an idea of the best way to handle them(cover over the floors or remove and replace them? Cover the roof or remove the shingles? Paint over the paint or scrap it off?) You'll want to check to see what the local laws require when working with these materials.

I looked at a house for about $22,000 moved to my house but it had asbestos in the floors. If the house had been the "perfect" house, I would have considered renovating it, but since it didn't fit well on the lot I passed it up.

You'll also want to see what the general condition of the house is and what needs to be replaced. I looked at one house for $16,000 and it needed a lot of work. It was a brick house so they had to remove all the bricks to move it. The kitchen was very outdated and in poor condition. The back rooms had a half wall between them that needed to be replace. The walls were generally in bad condition. The wiring was aluminum(so would have to be replaced) and the breaker panel was too small to meet present day codes. As I looked at the house it was evident that it would have to be completely rebuilt. I saw it as an old frame that would be rebuilt. For a little more I could have built a new frame more in the layout that I wanted. Taking all of that in mind, I passed on that one. If I added up the costs to finish that house, it would have been close to building a new one.

When you purchase a house you will most likely want an inspector to look at it to see there are any problems you need to be aware of. I used an inspector who gave me a discount if he didn't have to write a report. The reports are usually needed by the bank if you are going to finance, but since I was paying in cash he charged me half of what he normally charged but didn't give me a report. What he did do is let me follow him around as he inspected and he explained to me what he was looking for. When he found a problem he would point it out, discuss how it happened and how it would need to be fixed. Once I finished the inspection I had a pretty good idea of what the house needed as well as what to look for on other houses. The advantage of this was now I could look through a house and if I saw anything that looked like a problem I could discount the house without having to pay for an inspection!

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