Re: Buy or Run Away?
I agree with the others, from your description, unless you are a seasoned tradesman, run from this property like your hair was on fire.
I also would very much caution purchasing a "fixer-upper" and trying to live in it while doing the renovations. First and foremost, it is a messy process and having to work around occupants makes the work harder and take longer, even if you're doing it yourself.
You will absolutely want to hire a contractor to come and assess the house for you. I am not talking about a home inspector, I am talking about a licensed general contractor that is familiar with older homes and their quirks that can assess the damage and repairs needed. With this information in hand, you can then determine if the asking price is in line with the actual value of the home, let alone worth the time, headaches, or expense of repairs.
SouthernCanuck brought up a good point about the age/history of the home and whether or not it's on a historic register or located within a historic neighborhood. This sort of thing can get very sticky and very expensive, very quickly, especially if you don't know what you're doing.
I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!