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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Holyoak on December 14, 2014, 06:05:18 PM

Title: Advice on this NE Ohio home...
Post by: Holyoak on December 14, 2014, 06:05:18 PM (

Google map aerial view: (

Yep, asking $49,900, 867 sf, 2BR/1 bath, 2 car over-sized garage...

It's about 32 miles away, and I wonder if it's even worth a look?  I love the rural location (3 acres), basement, oversize garage, low taxes ($1200/yr), small overall sf, and of course writing a check with no mortgage and no more rent!...  No pics of the bathroom, or basement, so I bet they are pretty rough.  Barn in the back looks pretty rickety, and it has oil heat, not many electrical outlets in the kitchen, no exhaust hood, and of course no A/C. 

I admit, I'm no pro about fixing up places, so I'm curious for you folks who know fixing up, with what you see for the $$$, what does your gut say, asking price crazy?  I know, not much to go on, but I appreciate your thoughts with what I have provided.  Thank you.
Title: Re: Advice on this NE Ohio home...
Post by: iris lily on December 14, 2014, 06:45:33 PM
There are deals like this all over our great US of A. If you don't have to earn an income, then you can live anywhere. OP I don't know what this means for you as far as earning income, are you free of that requirement?

For Mustachean living I like the size (small) and the newness of it--it's not an old Victorian pile. At this age I would expect systems to be ok although electrical might need revamped. If the HVA system is original, that is way old and would be an large expense to replace it. The double garage is nice and big and sturdy looking. That old barn would require maintenance and it looks fragile..

The aesthetics of the place would bug me, but that's me. The kitchen cabinetry looks a little weird for  original, but I guess it is original. The paneled walls are fugly. sorry!

But you can grow a lot of stuff with 3 acres and have chickens and goats. How is it zoned?
Title: Re: Advice on this NE Ohio home...
Post by: Holyoak on December 14, 2014, 07:08:38 PM
Thanks Iris.  Agreed, the aesthetics are a bit lacking now, and I too did not like the "house of fake wood" ambiance.  As for work, when I posted here about my holdings; no debt, just me, and a monthly COL of about $1400, the good folks here seem to think my $1.35MM invested stache pretty much says adios to work for as long as I like.  As much as I want to believe them, it does feel scary, but slowly but surely I am adapting.   

I would think it is fully zoned for heavy duty agriculture.  There are many crop fields around, and just a 1/2 mile north up the road is a large farm with a ton of cattle.  I love the idea of the big yard to let chickens roam, and grow a TON of my own food in the seemingly already plotted gardens

I agree with you concerning some of the main elements of the home, especially the electrical service, septic, and well...  Thanks again.
Title: Re: Advice on this NE Ohio home...
Post by: zolotiyeruki on December 14, 2014, 09:30:08 PM
Weedy Acres (I'm not sure how frequently she still reads this forum) and her husband purchased a similar-sized home a couple years back as a temporary place to live, and also as a fix-n-flip.  However, theirs is on a very small lot in a town in southern Illinois, and required a lot more fixing (they've gutted and redone the bathroom and bedroom and had to fix some foundation issues).  They have since discovered MMM, and are considering staying in the home longer-term.  They love that their utility bills (now that they've upgraded a few things) are tiny, and their property taxes are, I think, $640/year.

You'll have to put some work into it.  Here's a list of things you'll need to look into (and possibly fix) off the top of my head:
1) type/condition of the windows
2) insulation in walls and attic
3) condition of HVAC.  As others have stated, if it's original, you'll probably want to replace it with something more modern & efficient
4) electrical.  It could be nothing more than adding a few outlets, but it could be as serious as running new electrical for the entire house.  Ok, given the size of the house, that wouldn't actually be *that* bad, especially if you can do it yourself.
5) plumbing.  Is it original?  Then it will need work.  Copper's supposed to be good for ...50 years, I think?  Again, given the size of the house, it might not be a big issue. I don't know anything about septic, so I can't opine on that.
6) the room which connects the house to the garage looks sketchy.  As if it was a breezeway that someone enclosed.  If that's true, you'll need to tear it out, put in proper footings, and rebuild it.  Make sure it was built properly, especially the foundation.  Weedy Acres has a similar room that was built on footings for a *deck*.  The garage itself looks fantastic--they even put in the drywall for fire resistance, which gives me a glimmer of hope for that in-between room.
7) the deck looks like it needs some work.
8) if you don't care about the barn, tear it down and sell the wood.  I've heard that lumber recovered from old barns can fetch a really good price.  Then you can use the foundation for something better.  If you want.  Or not.
Title: Re: Advice on this NE Ohio home...
Post by: lizzzi on December 14, 2014, 10:00:49 PM
I'm in Mahoning county, so have some familiarity with NE Ohio. It's a best-kept secret, IMHO. Anyway, make sure you go over the well, the septic, the oil tank, (is it underground?) and the other systems as others have advised…with a fine-tooth comb. They don't show you a picture of the bathroom, which is probably a bad sign. Since you only have one, and it's a little chilly for going outside at this time of year, make sure that that one bathroom is functional and adequate for your needs. Check carefully for deed restrictions, zoning laws, and all that, if you're going to be a gentleman farmer. You don't want to move in with your 50 laying hens, or your goat herd, and then find out there's some weird town ordinance that won't let you have them. Personally, I love the potential of that little house…yeah, just rip off that cheap looking paneling and 86 the ceiling fans. (I never saw so many ceiling fans in my life til I moved to Ohio--what is it with ceiling fans in this state??) .If the mechanicals don't pan out, hey, just look for another house similar to it.
Title: Re: Advice on this NE Ohio home...
Post by: Weedy Acres on December 15, 2014, 05:01:31 PM
Weedy here (zolo emailed me the thread).  Before buying I'd consider the following, in this order:

1.  Location: make sure this is somewhere you want to put down roots, or else is attractive enough that you can resell it easily if you decide you want to move.  Any smelly pig farms or polluting chemical plants nearby?  Is it on a paved road where you can get out when it storms?  Any bad neighbors?

2.  If the above checks out, then look at the floorplan.  Is it laid out functionally, or can functionality be added?  Our current tiny fixer (2/1, 940 sf) had a kitchen with sink, stove, fridge and 4' of countertop in the corner of a room that was 9'x13'.  By shrinking a window and moving 2 doorways, we made it into a galley kitchen with 15' of counters.  So potential is okay.  But you need to have (or be able to get) flow.

3.  Next on my list is curb appeal.  Ugly landscaping is easy to fix; an ugly roofline not so much.  Is it welcoming or can it be made to be without breaking the bank?

4.  Price.  If it checks the first 3 boxes, you can figure out how much it's worth.  No way to swag this on the internet, as everything's local.  But look at comps that have sold in the zip code that are similar size and vintage.  Look up their photos (if recent, zillow often still has them; else get access to the MLS pics through a realtor).  That will tell you what ugly houses are worth and what cute ones are worth.  The selling price of the ugly ones is the limit you should expect to pay (minus any non-cosmetic issues you'd need to fix like leaky plumbing or sagging basement walls).  And the selling price of the cute ones is what it'll be worth after fix-up.  Figure out if you can make it pretty for the delta, accounting something for the value of your labor.  If you're inexperienced this'll be hard to estimate.  But the first step is to go look at it, see if it meets the first 3, and make a big long to-do list to come up with a budget.

I'd be happy to share details on costs for different stuff, as I track it like a geek.  We picked up our current fixer for $14K, and budgeted $10K to fix the bowing basement walls and $10K for the rest of it (all new plumbing and electrical, kitchen and bath gut, fix floors and walls in other rooms).  We'll end up a couple thousand over budget, but this is an extreme budget DIY (I built the cabinets myself, using CL-purchased plywood and reclaimed paneling from the dining room). 

Go see it.  Nothing ventured nothing gained.

Title: Re: Advice on this NE Ohio home...
Post by: Thegoblinchief on December 16, 2014, 01:28:09 PM
It's hard to get a good sense of the layout from the pictures, but it reminds me of my house to some degree. Size is good but I'd personally need more windows for sunlight.

Price seems good for the size of house and acreage but that's meaningless to say because all real estate is local.

Pretty remote area, a long ways from a city of any significant size. It's up to you whether that's good or not. I lived in Ohio for a few years, but a bit further SE into the rust belt of the Ohio Valley. Not a fan of it.
Title: Re: Advice on this NE Ohio home...
Post by: Holyoak on December 17, 2014, 10:22:45 AM
Thank you so much everyone. 

I may gather a few more prospects, and take a little ride out in the country.  One "issue" it may have off the bat, is just south of the property, is an RV campground and kinda trailer park...  Not exactly sure what this could mean, but I'm thinking noise, maybe trash thrown in the yard, and perhaps even security issues?

Here is a capture of what I am describing:

Home is top right corner with a red X:

A little closer zoom:


Sorry for the largish photos...  What do you think?
Title: Re: Advice on this NE Ohio home...
Post by: zolotiyeruki on December 17, 2014, 12:32:41 PM
I've heard it recommended many times to walk around the neighborhood and meet the neighbors before buying a home. 

For me personally, I'd first make sure the home is one I'd be willing to buy, *then* I'd go talk to the neighbors to see if there are any issues.
Title: Re: Advice on this NE Ohio home...
Post by: lizzzi on December 17, 2014, 09:58:49 PM
You're awfully close to that mobile home park. It will add a lot of traffic to your road. I see some liability issues with that pond, too, if it belongs to you. (Kids from the park sneaking in to swim in it during the summer…drowning…you are liable, get sued, etc., etc. Another thought: What if the mobile home park expands…really spreads out up and down the road. More traffic, more noise, more potential aggravation. Be especially careful of what's around your location, and don't be too quick to buy the property if there are factors nearby that are going to affect your peaceful, quiet enjoyment of your own property. We have in the past not bought two properties that were real heartbreakers because we loved them: One was a little too close to a race car track, and the other was directly across the street from a school driveway. (Think school buses in and out twice a day, plus just the normal number of cars in and out of the parking lot. We did buy a really nice house across the street from a Little League field. I was fine with it, but it drove my husband nuts. It could get very noisy in the summer. (I just stayed in the back yard…didn't see the prob.) So YMMV about these things, but be careful.
Title: Re: Advice on this NE Ohio home...
Post by: lizzzi on December 17, 2014, 10:06:10 PM
Sorry, you did say RV park, not mobile home park. But with the RV park--like for campers? Traveling people?--you will have a steady stream of transients--some probably just fine and some potentially not. I'm just saying. And you're going to have traffic on both sides, being on that corner lot. I don't know if that's an issue for you or not with potential kids, pets, your chickens, goats, rabbits, whatever…getting out there and getting hit. Having tried to bring up all the negatives I can think of, I do have to say that it is an inviting piece of property.