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Any advice for Eichler shoppers?

8 replies [Last post]
Joined: Dec 14 2003

We will be moving to Orange County in the next few months. We went and looked at the available Eichlers and my husband is now as smitten as I am. It's a comfortable price range for us, so it looks like we are going to do it. Does anyone have any advice for anything to look out for? Is there anything that you regret about your purchase? TIA

Joined: Oct 10 2003

Tia, go for it! Although we live up here in the bay area, i was born and raised in Cerritos near OC. After we bought an eichler up here, my Mom was so intrigued, she now sends us pics of OC eichlers.

Check older posts for advice on eichler-related issues, and also keep in mind the age of the house.

you can start with:

Joined: Mar 20 2003

TIA: here are a couple of web sites that may be helpful. They are a little more Southern California minded...
Stephanie is quite helpful. Her bbs posters are mostly from the Orange Eichler tract.
the message boards are friendly and quite active for mid-century modern home owners in SoCal and beyond.

Eichlers are quite difficult to come by in SoCal since there are only a few hundred. They sell pretty fast, usually first day on the market, and often have buyers lined up before the house actually comes on the market. Other realtors specializing in mid-century modern homes include and

Other SoCal Eichler links:

Joined: Mar 22 2003

Welcome to the community!

Joe has give you some excellent advice. My parent's first home in 1949 was an Eichler in Sunnyvale (N. CA) and hubby and I bought ours 10 years ago and could not imagine ever living in anything else. If we ever had to move to a different state, we would buy some Eichler plans, some land, and have one built.

If you are looking in OC, you have probably run across Stephanie Raphael and if not, I would certainly seek her out. An Eichler savvy RE agent is worth their weight in gold.

Given the scarcity of Eichlers in your area, you may have to jump and compete with lots of other enthusiasts to get the home of your dreams. You might want to consider getting pre-approved for a loan and expecting to pay over list. It is also a good idea to take a course on Eichler 101, so that you know in advance what you can expect.

There are two big maintenance issues that we are constantly faced with: Roofs and heating/cooling. Flat or low-sloped roofs are prone to leaking, and eventually they will. (We have been leak free ever since we installed a foam roof.) Roofing solutions are a common point of discussion on the boards. Heating in most Eichlers is hydronic radiant heating, delivered through pipes in the concrete slab. As the houses age, the pipes can develop leaks, which may require digging up the slab and flooring to repair. For us, and many other Eichler owners, these challenges are well worth it and are a small price to pay for the joys of Eichler living, but it is good to know what you are getting into before you buy, and what you can expect to spend for needed upgrades.

Given the scarcity and high demand for Eichlers, I have found that it is pretty rare for these maintenance issues to be used as negotiating leverage by a perspective buyer. Lots of Eichlers today seem to be sold on an "as is" basis. But you are smart to do your research. At least that way you can prepare for what is ahead.

I would also suggest that you consider purchasing the book Eichler Homes, Design for Living, by Jerry Ditto and Lanning Stern. It has a lot of good information on Eichler history, and also some terrific color photos. It is the bible for all new Eichler owners, looking for ideas on how to maintain their home in keeping with the original Eichler aesthetic.

Good luck in your search.

Joined: Mar 20 2003

In addition, I would strongly suggest doing a sewer camera test to see how bad the tree roots are. My friends are dealing with a $6K+ replacement of their sewer line one week after they moved into their MCM SoCal home. The previous owner did not disclose this obvious problem, and you would be surprised how difficult it can be to reclaim monetary damages after you have signed your names on the dotted line.

We also paid extra to have the boiler inspected (this is not typical in a standard inspection). Lastly, many home insurance companies will not open new policies, especially on a home with a rock roof. I don't know why. Just something to keep in mind--or to start asking around now.

Lastly, in CA it is now not typical for a seller to pay for termite damages. Even though it was never a law, after the real estate contracts were amended (in late 2002? or early 2003?), the wording does not suggest that the seller should be responsible for termite damage. i remember how annoyed my real estate agent was because we were buying our SoCAl Eichler right at the time these new contracts were coming out. It was really difficult to get the seller to pay for termite damage. I can't even remember now if we ended up splitting it or what.

Good luck and enjoy the search!

Joined: Apr 24 2003

A a Eichler Specialist realtor I would suggest the following inspections.
Radiant heat
General property inspection

It is important to choose a realtor who specializes in Eichlers.
Check references and interview until you find a realtor you feel comfortable with.

Make sure to get a home warranty with a roof protection option (unless the roof is under warranty)

If you have questions wile going through your transaction I would be happy to give you advise.

I wish you luck in your search!

Loni Nagwani

Joined: Dec 14 2003

Well, thanks everybody. We just panicked (not really) and bought the first one Stephanie showed us. It is in nice condition although it never had that wonderful radiant heat. Inspection is this next weekend.

Joined: Apr 26 2003

Since the house never had radiant heat, I assume that it has forced air with ducts located below the floor slab?

If so, one thing to check is the ducting. From previous posts on this site, I understand that the ducts are in the soil, so over time the ducting may deteriorate, permitting dirt and moisture to enter the ducts. Just one more thing for you to look out for.

But the good news is that you have forced air heat and probably air conditioning.

Good luck with your home purchase.

Joined: Mar 20 2003

the ducts are actually in the slab. their health are just as important as radiant heat piping. do have them inspected. I have heard other Socal Eichler owners who have had problems with water leaking into the ducts, which can create mucho humidity. Anyway, search this site for past discussions regarding water leaking into forced air ducts if you find this problem with your inspection. Mary-Margaret of Lotta Living had that issue with her Balboa Highlands Eichler and I think she was able to fix it.


Is the one you got on Stephanie's site?

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