This "beautiful" New York home is $800,000... just don't look inside

What sort of structure would that have? As I understand it, most houses in the US are timber frame, with tar-paper shingles on the roof, so pretty susceptible to water-damage and rot.
Here in the U.K., timber frames are set up, but the outer walls are brick or breeze-block with a cavity wall and studwork inside, and clay tiles on the roof, so it’s quite feasible for a house to suffer severe flooding, like halfway up the ground floor walls, sometimes for days, then be recoverable once it’s dried out and replastered.

8 Likes

The exterior photos aren’t actually much better discounting that one shot of the front, which is badly over grown.

There’s very similar water damage to the foundation, and you can clearly see it on that air-conditioning unit. There’s clearly more damage to the ground floor, and more damage to the floors than the ceiling.

This isn’t an unrepaired leaky roof, that’s flood damage. I couldn’t tell you for certain, but it looks remarkably like the unfixed Sandy Houses I’ve seen. They tend to have continual flooding and water damage. As the initial hit and flooding blocked up sewage and drainage systems, and tore up roofs. In some cases caused erosion or blew out shit like berms that left already flood prone properties even more so.

Where that went unfixed the houses just sit there continuing to degrade. Leaking and getting continual small floods. Or getting massive sewage backups whenever it rains hard or another storm comes through.

The listing indicates it was last sold in 2005. And was put on the market in November 2019.

14 Likes

Without the interior photos, we would never have known the existence of this property. It’s sensible marketing, that’ll get this property seen by an exponentially larger amount of potential purchasers.

2 Likes

No one could claim the condition was under stated by the realtor, say if someone travelled to inspect. You see this a lot with used car listing that have pictures highlighting the car’s faults.

6 Likes

I would say it depends on local planning regulations. Where I live, a house with a good exterior is valuable because you can strip the interior out and replace it, without planning permission, as long as you don’t change the exterior outline of the building.

6 Likes

I wasn’t sure about flood damage - I’ll defer to you on that, but there is also clearly “leaks” - by which I just mean some ongoing, localized water damage - the plaster coming down in the center of that one room, and the wooden floors with some areas far more damaged than others indicates some non-uniform water exposure. Though if the sewage is backing up (the state of the bathtub sure supports that idea), that obviously could be the sole source of the “leak(s).” My point was just that this wasn’t damage someone did to it by abusing the interior for a long time, but the result of water damage (and time).

Looks like wood frame to me, with (some) brick on the ground floor. (East Coast buildings are mysterious to me as a Californian, because everything here is wood frame - or a pile of rubble after an earthquake.) But it obviously didn’t just get wet from flooding - and stay that way - there’s also water coming down from upper levels (roof and/or backed-up sewage) that’s done a lot of damage over time.

4 Likes

I don’t know if it’s applicable to NYC, but upstate many municipalities allow you to basically tear down everything but one wall and completely rebuild. I’ve seen numerous rebuild locally that started with the foundation and just the one wall. A real Theseus ship kind of situation.

4 Likes

The ground floor at least is brick. It could be metal or wood framed with a brick exterior.

Usual construction here is pressure treated and composite wood framing, skinned in moisture resistant (often marine grade) plywood.

That gets wrapped. Formerly in tar paper, more often these days Tyvek. Siding goes on top of that, and roofing tiles up top. It’s all a lot more waterproof than you’d think. And everything is anchored down to a proper dug foundation of poured cement or cinder block.

The building codes here in coastal NY are pretty involved, down to requirements for hurricane proofing. And the focus tends to be on wind proofing.

Stone houses are more prone to blowing down, because they don’t flex with the wind. As far as flooding goes they’re also heavier and more prone to sinking into the ground. If properly built the whole thing can be re skinned after a flood, inside and out.

We don’t use european style clay tiles because they tend not to be terribly well attached to the roof, in high winds they go flying around causing damage. And they crack and separate in a hard freeze.

Tar paper flexes. They’re shingled into each other in interlaced layers so the whole skin moves and breaths together, and all gaps are blocked redundantly. They’re pretty much moisture proof, and even more mildew and rot proof thanks the magic of tar. Though they will break down over time, they tend to fail when they tear or a section of them gets ripped off.

Construction strategies in the US vary a whole hell of a lot with the climate. When you see those houses blown down like sticks or floating away whole it tends to be Southern states with incredibly lax building standards. Typical houses there use stamped aluminum studs, cheap composites for load bearing members. And the siding is tacked right over the insulation, no skin at all. They tend to basically be lightly nailed to a concrete slap sitting directly on the ground.

My uncle built houses down there, and once said that if you wanted to rob any house in the state all you would need is a putty knife. Or you could say fuck it, jack the whole house up and haul the whole thing away contents and all.

6 Likes

At least on Long Island you don’t even need to keep one wall. So long as you keep the same foot print/layout or whatever. And everything else is up to code and allowed by the current rules, you can do a complete rebuild with minimal permits and approvals.

I don’t think it counts if you have to redo the foundation though.

4 Likes

In my vicinity, it is actually fairly common to take a perfectly serviceable house, inside and out, raze it to the ground, and put up a McMansion. This is not something your average Joe can afford to do, but there are people with that level of disposable income, and it makes a kind of sense, because the land is far more valuable (in the local inflated real estate market) than the structure on it, typically.

1 Like

It’s probably more the dark forces in the house that are doing it than the photo. Also, heads up you only have a week to live.

4 Likes

Here in Denver, that happens every week, and it isn’t CEOs, it is basically any builder/developer. A lot of old Denver homes are small, and the city has rezoned so that you can build much bigger than what’s there. Developers buy the property for more than someone is willing to spend to live there, scrape the house (not too pricey) and build something new, fast, and as huge as the zoning allows. Then they sell it for a huge profit to people moving here from out of state. It is a terrible state of affairs, and the city has lost amazing homes. But hey, prices are up!

3 Likes

giphy|nullxnull

16 Likes

If the house really is located on that narrow strip of land between two streets (shown in the final couple of pics) I would be very surprised if knocking it down and building a new home is even practical, from a modern zoning perspective. Today’s rules concerning setbacks, and the like, would mean you might be able to build a hallway down the middle of the strip of land. I don’t know what the rules are in Flushing, of course.

2 Likes

Flushing is a fantastic area. There are some really beautiful homes the closer you get to Bayside. Plus the neighborhood has some of the best Asian food in all of NYC.

8 Likes

Good call. Agree completely.

At least the house is not slab-on-grade. The damage is pretty severe though, and my guess is that the pier and beam may need a super super close inspection because even if the water-induced rot didn’t get to it, the termites (“conducive conditions”) would be next in line to attack the beams. And mold, which is so utterly bad for humans.

Likely a teardown.

Sad part is that, given whatever development and impervious cover has taken place inside that watershed, there’s probably a whole bunch of houses that shouldn’t be in the flood plain.

Flood Insurance Risk Maps (FIRM) just released its revised maps this year.

You can search by address. If you live by a creek, you might want to check your relative risk.

Caveat: “100-year flood” is a relative term. The situation is… fluid…

https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/floods-and-recurrence-intervals?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects

The designation of the “100-year flood” was changed for my river recently—Why?

The “100-year flood” of yesterday may not be the “100-year flood” of today. As the below charts show, changes in local land use, new river impoundments, changes in the amount of impervious surfaces , and long-term climate patterns can affect at what point a “100-year flood” is designated.

Precipitation patterns can change (see also how Streamflow patterns change )

4 Likes

This is Austin.
You nailed it.

Absolutely nailed it, and this sucks. And the majority of these new folks have zero idea what they are really getting into, they just really want to be part of that delicious “Austin lifestyle” WTFTM.

All the cool artists and musicians and interesting keep-Austin-weirdos basically don’t live in Austin any more. Fact. Super depressing. Some can’t even afford to live near Austin.

Joke:

How many Austinites does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer:
50.
One person to change it, and 49 to remember how great things were when the old one was still working for them.

:sob:

10 Likes

NYC and Long Island are an Archipelago dangling off into the Atlantic Ocean, and are the core of the most densely populated corridor in the United States.

There’s no probably. The entire area is flood risk and always has been.

6 Likes

That interior is really not bad. All of that can be fixed for less than 100k. Even for 50k it could be made quite nice. Drywall and floors are not difficult or expensive. It just looks like it was poorly maintained and then abandoned for a couple of years.

And doors, windows, cabinets, countertops, fixtures, plumbing, electrical, roof, framing damaged by water incursion, possible foundation damage…

3 Likes