Posted: Apr 1, 2008 10:37 am
too many variables on the HVAC to quote -- depends on what size/kind of compressor you want; whether the house has the necessary juice to support it (I had to upgrade my electricity just to install HVAC of any type). the fact that you have a basement is good, though -- my house was a mess to install bc they had to go thru attic but in the back of my house, there is no attic -- so just to heat kitchen/laundry room, they had to drop down.
I would never ever NOT get a home inspection. that said, most of 'em are gonna not notice some stuff. but I think in some respect they are liable. ask a LOT of questions. and, if you plan on doing ANY home renovations, beg your contractor to attend the inspection too. mine crawled all over with the inspector, and asked him plenty of questions about specific work we planned to do, and about stuff that looked like problems but were maybe okay, and discovered a few things that didn't look bad but were potential disasters.
when you write up the contract, you'll haggle with the current homeowner about what they're gonna fix vs what you will, for a bargain price. my list was pretty superficial -- a few baseboards in the kitchen, a new attic rafter, etc. I looked at approx 100 houses, and the one i eventually bought was the 6th house we'd seen. ultimately it had the best bones of anything I saw on the market, and just needed electric and plumbing work plus cosmetic renovations, plus some stuff like removing windows that were left in the interior rooms when they added on! (house was built in 1911, and they kept adding on through the '60s, so my kitchen is the former back porch, etc.)
that said, in 3 years I've ultimately spent 1/2 of the price of the house doing all the renovation work. gutted most of the kitchen and bathroom, yanked floor furnaces, laid new water pipe to the street, put on a new roof, etc. and btw, if you need a roof, I recommend bidding lower and doing it yourself -- if someone's trying to unload a property, they're gonna take the cheapest roof possible in most cases, and you don't want that!