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:

How can I make sure I don't get screwed on my home inspection? 

How thorough is a home inspector required to be when inspecting a house?

Should I trust the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement?

Can I do my own home inspection?

How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a house over a sinkhole? 

The seller gave me a report from a previous home inspection. Should I use it or get my own inspector? 

    To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1940s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s house?

• What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1990s house?

What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property? 

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

What do I need to know about a condo inspection?

What are the "Aging In Place" features to look for when buying a retirement home?

   Visit our HOME INSPECTION page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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