Please HELP in Pennsylvania!

Good morning Sir, WOW! I have learned so much from your site already this morning!

Here is my situation. I am in the process of purchasing a 3,200 sf stucco on wood lath home built in 1924 in York, PA (approx. 1 hour north of Baltimore, MD). I have seen multiple areas on the house where significant bubbling under the outer layer of stucco has occurred. On the garage, there are two spots(approx. 3 sq. ft each) where the lath is showing and the plaster has fallen from the wall. The home has been patched numerous times with numerous uneven patches(it seems to be pebble dash) and is really starting to show the uneven patching that has occurred, plus its been painted over several years which is making it even worse.

Here's my question please. A reputable contractor in the area(from what folks have told me) has recommended I consider having the approx 500 sf. areas that need to be fixed, fixed with appropriate grade portland cement and then having wood lath fastened to the outside through the existing plaster walls, Tyvek over the whole exterior, and apply either vinyl (yuk) or better yet go with the newer cement board(like HardiPlank).

I am neutral minded to the idea, in part because of the cost of removing the existing stucco. Also suggested was removing the bad areas, having the painted over stucco cleaned of its paint, and stucco over the entire house.

Not sure what is best here, please help! I can provide pictures if this would help.

THANKS so much in PA!!

Minimum or maximum

I hate to tell you this, but the stucco is in worse shape thn you think, and is a good candidate for replacement. The minimum would be to put metal lath in the holes and filling the holes with mortar.
Don't get mad at me, I'm just the messenger. You asked me what I think so I am not going to sugar coat it.
First of all, wood lath was never really worth a damn. Expanded metal lath came out right after the turn of the century (the last century, or after 1900). By 1930, wood lath was completely obsolete. We never re use wood lath on a patch job. Instead, we put metal lath over the wood. This prevents cracking due to warping. In the old days, the wood lath was wet down first and a scratch coat of real sandy mortar was put on first to prevent expansion and warping of the wood.
Also, I am positive the stucco on your house is lime and sand, and not cement mortar. I have only seen one house that had cement mortar put on wood lath. The house was built in 1924. The stucco had siding put on which cracked and broke it up real bad, requiring replacement.
Lime and sand also disappeared before 1930. Metal lath and cement stucco took over.
Sometimes these bulges and loose areas can be caused by lack of flashing, or steel flashing that has rusted through. Excessive water infiltration can be caused by lack of roof drip edges, rotted window sills, and other reasons. Bear in mind, lime and sand dissolves in water. I feel these holes and loose areas are just an indicator of huge failure about to happen.
Stucco isn't that bad to tear off once a scaffold is built.
The house can then be re stuccoed with new flashing over the windows, new tar paper (not tyvek), and new metal lath and stucco.
Thanks for the good question.