It’s difficult to find a home in Tacoma Washington that does not have knob and tube wiring. Our town is composed of mostly older Craftsman, Tudor, Bungalow and Victorian style homes. With the admirable (and older) architecture comes dated systems (like electrical and plumbing). After decades of use, will eventually need to get replaced.
On a personal note – every home that I have ever invested in, has had older electrical and plumbing and I have no regrets! I’m a sucker for older homes and am happy to make the investment, knowing that the systems aren’t brand new either. It’s part of the “charm” I guess. Like most things in life, equipping yourself with information and understanding the long term impact is important to making a good investment.
When buying a home, it goes without saying, that you should have a home inspection. It is when the home is being inspected that an elaborate understanding of the plumbing and electrical is had. Here are TWO things that, if found, may indicate larger safety issues.
Tampered with or spliced wiring. These are usually noted in the attic, kitchen and bathrooms. If spliced or exposed wiring is unprotected in the attic near or on insulation this is especially important to be remedied immediately, as it is a safety hazard.
Dated electrical panel. There are certain electrical panels that have been deemed a safety hazard because of their inability to trip the breaker if a circuit is overcharged. They are Federal Pacific and Zinsco.
Remember! Your Realtor, you, nor the home inspectors can see into the walls! Be sure to use your inspection timeline to further investigate ALL deficiencies or oddities. You may not be able to get all the answers that you desire. But you should be able to come to a conclusion with your Realtor, whether the home is a good investment at the price you have negotiated. If not, there are plenty of fish in the sea. 😉
As I continue on the journey of remodeling my home in Old Town Tacoma, I consciously have to make an effort to slow down and appreciate THESE steps; Kitchen and Bath design. Making selections on fixtures and cabinets hasn’t always been fun for me! I geek out on electrical/plumbing updates because those are generally the two things that don’t get seen or recognized by home buyers and sellers. I’ve learned to pour my efforts into kitchen finishings because THIS is what will make my house really feel like home and will be appreciated for many years to come.
Working with professionals who I know and trust (like Melinda at Gray Lumber in Tacoma, WA) make my experience enjoyable. Also Michelle Kokich with Pillows and Porches, Design Consultants. Local, high quality, integrity driven professionals, whom I can reach directly as needed has made me a loyal customer. Building and maintain these relationships is ultimately what this experience is shaping to be for me.
When I started my home remodel, permitting was a non negotiable. It had to be done for these reasons: personal learning as a Home Owner and Realtor AND to avoid any serious errors while work was being complete. Despite the less-than-good reputation the City of Tacoma Permitting department carries, I’m still convinced the professionals who work there and code requirements in place, are there with the intent to protect home owners. NOT to make the process more difficult (although sometimes it doesn’t feel like it!) Five weeks, five revisions and DOZENS of meetings later, we are now SIGNED OFF on our building permit with the City of Tacoma!!!!! It wasn’t easy, But I learned SOOO much and want to share them with you.
How do you successfully get Permits signed off by the city from the City of Tacoma? (Specifically Building and Mechanical Permits)
STEP 1: Hire a great ENGINEER/ARCHITECT!
Your permits are only as good as your drawings. If there are deficiencies in your drawings, your contractor(s) who complete the work will likely not have the information needed to complete in its entirety because of lacking information. Resulting in change orders and MORE MONEY that you as the home owner have to fork out.
STEP 2: ASK QUESTIONS and Hire contractors who ASK QUESTIONS!
My personal inexperience and lack of knowledge made me feel really vulnerable when “reviewing” the plans that my engineer finalized. I had no idea what to look for and took him at his word. Speaking with my City Inspector directly, provided me insight into deficiencies and gave me tangible “to do’s”. This helped me hold the professionals I had hired accountable. I asked a lot of dumb questions. Set up meetings with all involved to assure we were all on the same page to eliminate any communication errors. (We are all familiar with telephone! Messages get construed and details lost as they pass through hands).
My contractors see me asking questions and I CONSISTENTLY remind them to treat my house as if it was their own. Because of this, I’m convinced they are motivated to probe when they aren’t getting the full picture.
STEP 3:TRUST the contractors you hire and hold yourself accountable for hiring them!
Did you interview multiple professionals before hiring them? If not, well… that’s your own fault. If you aren’t excited for them to start the work, then reconsider hiring them.
Successful permitting is a melting pot of many things and NONE of them include blame and anger. The start of Building and Mechanical Permits is heavily dependent on the quality of your drawings. When navigating through revisions, success is in the details and building/maintain relationships with your contractors, city inspectors and engineers.
Buying and remodeling a home wasn’t at the top of my “to-do” list, but I couldn’t resist when the opportunity presented itself. This 1950 Modern Home, located in one of the most coveted communities in Tacoma, walking distance from my office AND equipped with a separate apartment, was a complete slam dunk. I knew I had to have it. Hoping someone else didn’t snatch it up before me, it was a HUGE relief when the stars aligned and BOOM! Here we are, completing a studs out remodel! I’m honoring the traditional features of the 50’s trends (More Modern Please!) and learning so much along the way.
Follow along as the adventures continue in Old Town Tacoma. Whether you are addicted to HGTV and want an insider peek at the renovation process, considering remodeling a home yourself, or are interested in learning about all the “charm” older homes have, this video series has something for you. FOLLOW ALONG!
This first episode lays the ground work for the renovation; giving you a birds eye view of whats happening inside the house and a few of the hardworking professionals making it happen. The contractors aren’t so enthused about the camera. I am sure they will warm up as time goes on. 😉
Just less than a month has passed and I have fallen more in love with the location (and my neighbors!) the views (I can’t wait to watch the sunsets) and the simplicity and easy living it will bring. Never did I think that a home that was dusty, dirty and stripped to the studs could bring such calm inspiration, but it has and I’m so excited to brush the dust off of this ol’ girl and show her off!