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Buyer10
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Newbie needs advice for purchase ...

Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:26 pm

Guys,

I hope my question isnt off topic (seems a bit, but the rules seem open enough :) ). Anyways I will be buying my first house in Coquitlam and want to avoid any stupid mistakes ...

The first issue is obviously, if this is a good time to buy and it seems 50% the people say RE will keep going up while the other 50% say the bubble will burst very soon.

So if I was to buy between now and the end of the year, the following questions linger in my mind:

- where do I get a home inspector that actually knows what he is doing?

- are there areas in Coquitlam where you should not buy because of geological reasons like soft ground or whatever

- are there any other NO BUY areas for whatever reasons other than obvious ones, like located besides a highway and such ...

- are there any types or year built houses that one should avoid? I.e. dont buy anything pre 70 because e.g. some construction methods or codes may have changed

- are there any types of roofs one should avoid?

- are there any types of water pipes (copper?) or electrical cables (aluminum?) one should avoid?

- are there any other things I need to know or consider?


Sorry for those beginner like questions, but I am just that- a beginner and dont want to tank an investment as large as a house!

Any advice or where else to get it, would be appreciated!

cheers

Matt
 
grantness
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Re: Newbie needs advice for purchase ...

Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:49 pm

Matt those are some excellent questions. It's unfortunate that most of the members on here only feel qualified to argue about the market's direction, and none of them are able to address these nuts & bolts questions.

Most of your concerns will be dealt with by having a skilled home inspector. He will advise you if pipes etc. are an issue. How do you find a good home inspector? I wish I knew, it's a semi-shady industry- lots of certified inspectors who can't give you much useful information.

FWIW, my very limited knowledge:

- You should only worry about lead plumbing, every other type of pipe can be fine or it can be trouble, it's all up to the installation quality.
- Same with aluminum vs. copper wiring. Both are fine as long as they were installed properly.
 
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jesse1
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Re: Newbie needs advice for purchase ...

Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:43 pm

are there areas in Coquitlam where you should not buy
The areas of Coquitlam that will have erosion problems will be on steeper slopes and located closer to streams. For example in Chineside there is a stream that runs right through it down into Port Moody. It looks like the original site prep added rock and forced the stream underground. There was some sort of blockage and a couple of houses had some significant structural damage, with part of the property that caved in. That was only a problem around the streams lower down on the hill. That's one example. The city of Coquitlam has been trying to correct some areas of instability in the past few years. I expect as long as you're away from stream beds there will be less risk.

A good home inspector can let you know about the roof.
You can try here for some reviews, the last home inspector I used retired earlier this year. He recommended someone to me a while ago but I can't find the email, sorry.
http://homestars.com/bc/vancouver/home-inspection
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semven
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Re: Newbie needs advice for purchase ...

Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:46 pm

'
Matt those are some excellent questions. It's unfortunate that most of the members on here only feel qualified to argue about the market's direction, and none of them are able to address these nuts & bolts questions.

Most of your concerns will be dealt with by having a skilled home inspector. He will advise you if pipes etc. are an issue. How do you find a good home inspector? I wish I knew, it's a semi-shady industry- lots of certified inspectors who can't give you much useful information.
-
FWIW, my very limited knowledge:

- You should only worry about lead plumbing, every other type of pipe can be fine or it can be trouble, it's all up to the installation quality.
- Same with aluminum vs. copper wiring. Both are fine as long as they were installed properly.
I would be more concerned about asbestos''''
But that's just me
 
Buyer10
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Re: Newbie needs advice for purchase ...

Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:59 pm

Guys,

thank you for the advise! It seems like it is not too difficult :)

Is there a certain year where no more asbestos was used? Can a home inspector tell if there is asbestos in the house?

Thanks!

Matt
 
Geyser
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Re: Newbie needs advice for purchase ...

Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:56 pm

Aluminum wiring is bad news because every junction is a potential fire hazard. The good news is that a complete re-wire with copper is not the only solution, it can be fixed for a few thousand dollars for the average home by replacing the junctions. Is specialized work which requires a knowledgeable electrician trained to use the right junction products but it can be done. I've attached an article on the subject below.

Copper pipes are a problem in Vancouver because of the ph of our local water. Over time copper pipes in Vancouver will corrode and develop pinhole leaks. Another wild card is the presence of defective piping which was widely used a couple of decades ago, I believe the brand name was Wolverine, but whatever the brand it caused major problems in and around Vancouver as pipes prematurely failed. The only solution I'm aware of with that was a complete re-piping.

Regular copper piping can last many years and it's life can be significantly extended with the use of water ph balancing systems which add a safe, drinkable, neutralizing agent to the water as it enters the plumbing system. The chemicals neutralize the acidity in the water and also coat the inside of the pipes, thus blocking pinhole leaks and protecting the inner surface from further deterioration.

A typical hi rise can have a system installed and maintained with regular chemical refills for a few hundred dollars per month. I've used the system and it has helped delay replacing the building's pipes for many years. It's highly recommended.

In an apartment building you can expect the hot water pipes to fail first because the hot water is constantly being circulated by the circulating pump and the heat will speed up any chemical reactions.

Here's that article on aluminum wiring:
The Fire Dangers of Aluminum Wiring

ACCORDING to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated two million homes in the United States were built or renovated using electrical circuits with aluminum wiring. And, according to the commission and specialists in the field, unless certain safety procedures are undertaken, every outlet, light switch and junction box connected to such circuits is a fire waiting to happen.


"This is an area we feel very strongly about," said Scott Wolfson, a spokesman for the commission. "Aluminum wiring in a house presents a very serious potential fire hazard. We feel that there are a significant number of homeowners who have aluminum wiring and who haven't yet taken steps to make their homes safe."

Tom Kraeutler, host of "The Money Pit," a nationally syndicated home-improvement radio show, said that from the mid-1960's to the early 1970's, many new homes — as well as some existing homes that were remodeled or enlarged — had aluminum wiring installed to feed branch circuits that run from the main electrical panel to the outlets and lighting fixtures.

But because of electrical failures involving the wiring, it became apparent that while a continuous run of aluminum wire does not present a problem, when that wire is connected to outlets and light switches — and even to other wires in junction boxes — the connection can deteriorate and become a fire hazard.

"And when you consider that a typical home can have 200 or more connections, that's a lot of potential fire hazards," Mr. Kraeutler said.

Daniel Friedman, a licensed home inspector in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., said that the problem is caused by oxidation and other factors that lead to overheating where the wire is connected at splices, outlets and light fixtures. Although that typically will not trip a fuse or a circuit breaker — those are activated by excess current — enough heat can be created to cause a fire.

While it might be tempting to believe that a home with aluminum wiring is safe because the wiring hasn't caused a problem for 30 or 40 years, that is a dangerous misconception. In fact, Mr. Friedman said, the longer the connection is allowed to deteriorate, the more likely it is a problem will occur.

The best way to determine whether a home has aluminum wiring is to hire a professional, he said, but a homeowner may be able to identify an aluminum-wired system by looking at the cables that run through the basement or attic to see if the cable is labeled "AL" or Aluminum.

If a home does have aluminum wiring, he said, options are limited. Several methods are available, but the commission recommends only two.

One — complete replacement of the system — is typically too expensive for many homeowners, as it can cost $8,000 or more. The other, he said, is to replace every connection in every outlet, switch and junction box with a copper pigtail using a special Copalum connection — a short piece of copper wire is bonded to the aluminum wire using a tool designed specifically for the task. The copper wire makes the connection.

But the problem, Mr. Friedman said, is that only electricians trained by the Copalum manufacturer, Tyco Electronics, can rent the special tool necessary for installation. So it may be difficult to find an electrician to make a Copalum repair. Information about certified contractors is available through Tyco at (800) 522-6752, but there are only 55 in the United States. Since every connection has to be changed, he said, it is likely that the cost will be $3,000 or higher, depending on the house's size.

Additional information about aluminum wiring hazards is on the commission's Web site, http://www.cpsc.gov. Information about other repair methods is on Mr. Friedman's Web site, http://www.inspect-ny.com.
In fond memory of Taipan, a model of modesty, decency, dignity and tolerance. Long may we all prosper from the tremendous legacy of worldly wisdom and specialized real estate knowledge which he left in the "Arguments" thread.
 
grantness
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Re: Newbie needs advice for purchase ...

Fri Sep 13, 2013 5:07 pm

Good information Geyser. I knew the junctions were always the problem with aluminum- and clearly the code back in the 60s/70s was not sufficient to allow safe installation.
 
Geyser
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Re: Newbie needs advice for purchase ...

Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:30 am

I should have added that I wouldn't let the prospect of special assessments for a new roof, new elevators or new plumbing put me off a good purchase, so long as those future costs are reflected in the purchase price. Some older condos are in very good locations, many have been well constructed and have really good "bones", they tend to have larger rooms and with a pro-active council they are likely to remain well maintained and attractive for many decades.

The newly mandated Depreciation Reports will upset some folks but they will remove much of the guesswork from buying into older buildings and they will put a lot of pressure on councils to do proper maintainance. I think it's the best thing that has happened in the condo market for many years.

Edited for spelling howler.
In fond memory of Taipan, a model of modesty, decency, dignity and tolerance. Long may we all prosper from the tremendous legacy of worldly wisdom and specialized real estate knowledge which he left in the "Arguments" thread.
 
timber2012
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Re: Newbie needs advice for purchase ...

Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:53 pm

Don't use a realtor ... waste of money. You can spend that money renovating a kitchen... what would you rather have? A shiny new kitchen or a realtor with a upgraded BMW LOL
George Carlin once said "Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”

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