What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been moved?
Thursday, September 13, 2018
We find more houses that have been moved to a new location in rural areas, likely because the logistics of moving a house in the country is simpler. Occasionally, we have to a advise the buyers that they may be purchasing a relocated house, because it was not disclosed. The year of construction listed by the county property appraiser is when the house first appeared on the site, so a home with construction details from an earlier era dated as more recent is one clue that it may have been moved.
For example, a home with asbestos siding covered over with newer vinyl siding and listed as from 1987 presents a timeline discrepancy: asbestos siding was only used as late as the early 1960s and asbestos was banned as a building material in 1978.
Here’s what we look for when inspecting a house that has been moved:
•• The foundation is the #1 concern with a moved house. If it is done properly, we will find footings or piers that extend in the ground (not sitting on top of it), metal straps connecting the bottom of the house structure to the foundation, as well as insulation under the floor and adequate ventilation of the crawl space. Shown below is an example of how not to do it: stacked block on pads sitting on ground, no tie-down straps, and no floor insulation.
•• Today in Florida, a relocated house has to be retrofitted to meet many of the safety standards of a new house, but it wasn’t always that way. We check to make sure the electrical and plumbing systems are reasonably modern and safe.
•• Door and window alignment is checked by opening, closing and latching them. They typically require some fine-tuning after the move because the house settles over time in its original location, but is set back to level after moving.
•• Sometimes a house is moved in sections, so we check how the sections are “married” and repair of the seam.
•• Also, a moved house may have an addition built at the new site. How the two parts are flashed at the connection is something we look at.
Just because a house has been moved is not a reason to take it off your list and consider other prospects. In fact, if you do a little research, you may find that it has an interesting history to share with visitors once you’re in “new” old home.
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To learn more strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:
To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:
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