Home Inspection of a Dated House

I recently completed a home inspection for a client who referred to the subject property as a ‘granny house’ as it reminded her of her own grandmother’s home. I’ve see many of these properties before and they are usually reasonably priced, structurally sound, but dated. This house was no exception to that category.

A granny house can be a very good purchase for a buyer, especially for one who does not mind putting in sweat equity into renovations. So I decided to list a number of characteristics of such a property, for buyers to spot this type of dated gem. I am being specific to houses built in the early 1970’s.  Here’s my list of items that identify this kind of property:

EXTERIOR

  • Overhead service drop to the house, with tree branches pulling at the overhead slack span
  • Flat roof, at the end of its service life
  • Metal cover over the original wood facia
  • Metal or plastic cover over the original soffit
  • Settlement at the porch, pulling away from the house
  • Ground settlement around the foundations, with negative slope
  • Wood-framed windows
  • Sheds and lean-to’s, long past their ‘best before date’

INTERIOR

  • Multiple wood-burning fireplaces
  • Wallpaper, and lots of it
  • Popcorn ceiling, either with or without small flecks of glitter
  • Furnace, air conditioner, hot water heater all at the end of their service life
  • Drum type humidifier in the heating duct
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Laminate floor tiles
  • Wood paneling
  • Shag carpeting
  • Carpeting throughout with ripples and in need of stretching
  • Carpeted bathroom… yes hard to believe
  • Amber coloured window panels in foyerAmber coloured light fixtures
  • Swedish balls for light fixtures
  • No shower over bathtub in bathroom
  • No exhaust to exterior for range hood, interior recirculation only
  • Not always exhaust fan in bathroom ceiling, as window used instead
  • Closets and under cabinets inaccessible, used for storage of family contents for persons no longer living at the house
  • Kitchen counters and cabinets original and usually in perfect condition, many custom made
  • Coloured kitchen and bathroom appliances
  • Squeezed-in dry sauna and or hot-tub
  • Fully developed basements

REPAIRS & RENOVATIONS

  • Nothing done in last 20 years, unless totally necesary like replacing failed hot water tank

Of course the above is an over-simplification and generalization. However the structure may be above average by comparison to today’s construction methods. For example, one may expect:

  • 3/4 inch plywood sub-flooring
  • fir studs that are as hard as iron-wood
  • mature landscaping with amazing and productive gardens
  • concrete foundations that more often than not are in good condition
  • copper water pipes
  • copper wiring
  • 200 Amp service even though 100 Amp would have been adequate… I suspect that buyers and builders wanted to have the option of a motorhome sitting in their driveway

Yes some hard work and adequate budget will be needed to bring such gems back to their full potential. But usually the neighbourhood is always sought-after, it is close to or within walking distances of services and the lot will be of decent size.

If you are considering a 1970’s house purchase, choose EKAN for your professional inspection!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *