Would you buy a 50-year old house?

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farmingnoob
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Would you buy a 50-year old house?

Post by farmingnoob » Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:15 am

I browse the property and akiya listings in my area every day, waiting for a good deal to come up.

I've seen a few that meet my criteria for land size and price, but they tend to be 50-years old. Sometimes they have a full interior "reform" so are clean and livable but I'm worried about the structure and roof. Would you trust an old house, even one that had a renovation done?

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Re: Would you buy a 50-year old house?

Post by Wendy » Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:22 pm

Our house is 35 years old, and we had it inspected before we bought it, and the state of the plaster (only a small crack in one room) and the timber construction indicated it was solid. I think it should be standing in 100 years barring any huge earthquakes. Not far from where we are, there are younger abandoned resort houses with trees growing up in them....roundabout way of saying that a good inspection will tell you more than just considering the age of the house. Good luck with your search!

Also, if you get acquainted with the Akiya people you might hear earlier than the listing that something is available....that is happening with us (we bought the house in a small town, and when another came up we knew about it from the real estate company before they had even looked at it)

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Re: Would you buy a 50-year old house?

Post by Ibaraki llama » Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:34 pm

Definitely a concern, regarding earthquakes. I think you can get a specialist to assess it for you and maybe suggest measures to strengthen if necessary. But don’t quote me on that as it was something my wife mentioned, not something I’ve researched in great detail.

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Zasso Nouka
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Re: Would you buy a 50-year old house?

Post by Zasso Nouka » Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:21 am

As Wendy and Ibaraki llama have said, if you get it inspected then you should be ok. I'm not an structural expert but I would have thought the Tohoku quake would have given a lot of houses in your area a fairly serious stress test.
Wendy wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:22 pm
Also, if you get acquainted with the Akiya people you might hear earlier than the listing that something is available....that is happening with us (we bought the house in a small town, and when another came up we knew about it from the real estate company before they had even looked at it)
This is priceless advice.

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Re: Would you buy a 50-year old house?

Post by Ibaraki llama » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:21 pm

Zasso Nouka wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:21 am
As Wendy and Ibaraki llama have said, if you get it inspected then you should be ok. I'm not an structural expert but I would have thought the Tohoku quake would have given a lot of houses in your area a fairly serious stress test.
That's what we told ourselves with our place - if it's still standing without any signs of structural damage after some big quakes, then it's probably fine!

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Re: Would you buy a 50-year old house?

Post by dayunbao » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:30 am

The person helping me look at akiya found this company for doing inspections: https://www.anest.net/kodate/k_tyuko.html. They have 2 rates for inspections. A full inspection is 65,000 yen, while a quick inspection is 50,000 yen. Inspecting under the floor or in the attic costs more. Not sure if that's a reasonable price, though. Seems a bit steep.

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Re: Would you buy a 50-year old house?

Post by farmingnoob » Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:26 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone.

I've found another property that is better in terms of price and land size. But, it uses septic and doesn't have city water.

Approximately how much does it cost to get the city to run water to an old house? Is there a point where they would just refuse to do it?

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Re: Would you buy a 50-year old house?

Post by Ibaraki llama » Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:26 pm

I'll let you know about the cost soon - we're waiting on a quote for us to join the city water, but I don't think it'll be cheap. From what I can understand (combination of knowing little about plumbing and also my Japanese, though greatly improving through this process, still lacking) I'm right on the limit, about 50 metres from the road. There needs to be a certain degree of downward slope from the house to the mains, and if the distance is too far, then the angle will be too small. In that case they would need to "pump up" to get to a higher point. Getting a new septic tank was quoted at 80man, and we're told it will be more expensive than that. But in the long run cheaper as septic tanks need annual maintenance and cleaning.

Bottom line is the closer to the road you are, the cheaper.

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Re: Would you buy a 50-year old house?

Post by Zasso Nouka » Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:30 am

Septic tanks require chlorine tablets to be added to the outlet from time to time, you can either do that yourself or pay a company to come in every now and then to do it for you. The tablets are available online to buy if you DIY it, if you contract a company to change them they will also check the tank whilst putting new tablets in and let you know when it needs pumping out.

The frequency it needs pumping out varies depending on size and number of people in a household, ours gets cleaned about every 18 - 24 months and costs around 30 - 40 thousand yen. Better to go for a larger tank than you need so it requires pumping out less often. Getting out of the habit of pouring grease down the drains or anything else other than water can extend the times between pumping the septic tank out and try to avoid using bleach wherever possible. Don't use anti bacterial washing liquids and there is supposed to be a dish soap that helps the bacteria digest the sludge on the tank more readily but we've never used it.

There are some advantages to having a well, it tastes way better than city water. After drinking it for a while you can taste and smell the chlorine in city water when elsewhere, well water actually tastes nice. No chlorine means it's good for watering your plants and you can draw as much as you like just paying for the electricity to run the pump.

Depth of the well varies depending on where your house is situated, both our wells are 50 metres deep because we are on top of a hill but if you are flat land they can be as shallow as 10 metres. Cost is dictated by depth and if they are shallow enough they can be bored out by hand which is way cheaper than getting a drilling rig in.

Once you've had the well dug take a sample along to city hall or your local health department and they'll test the water for you and let you know what's in it. Normally they don't find anything toxic but it's good to be sure.

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Re: Would you buy a 50-year old house?

Post by Tora » Thu Jul 18, 2019 5:25 pm

Ours is now the last house on the public water line for our neighborhood. There’s a another now vacant property about 100m down the line past us. One day A contractor was out with prospective owners discussing cost to connect to city water and the contractor blurted out in his best old man country dialect that it would cost at least ¥1million. It involved digging up the road so I suspect it might’ve ended up costing more. They haven’t been back since. The fact that I cranked up the rock a made a point of cursing extra loud every time I made a mistake might have discouraged them as well :whistle: