Friday, August 10, 2012

Back on the [house] hunt

So I mentioned last week that we put an offer in on a house. Unfortunately, we had the inspection yesterday and things did not quite go as I’d hoped.

It started off okay, with me taking diligent notes. Retaining wall is starting to shift, there is a crack approximately one foot from the stairs on the right side while facing the house. Slight gap between the stairs and the interior part of the retaining wall, and original retaining wall stones can be seen on the far left edge. Will need to be watched, but not necessarily replaced, esp. not right away. Suggests fence at top to prevent falls.

Alright, we’ve got this. Little changes. I was practically smirking when I informed him that yes, of course we’d budgeted for new stairs off the back sunroom and a new railing for the walkout basement stairs. And obviously we’d cut all that vegetation in the back yard down. We’re responsible, conscientious buyers, duh.

Then we moved inside.

Banister on stairs is nice, but not installed properly- fingers catch near the top. Small closet door outside master bath broken. Seals broken on windows, will need to be replaced pretty quickly. Approx. $300-$400 per window. Tiles under carpet could be asbestos. Framing around windows has been replaced – be careful of leaks. Sink in master bathroom drains slowly. Toilet is loose. Bathtub has copper pipes (yay!) but makes funny gurgling sound while draining. All electrical sockets are two-pronged and painted – will need to be replaced.

Hmm. Okay then. Did we account for new windows? That could get pricey. Someone at work offered me the number of her electrician – and that’s a good investment anyway, don’t want any fires! We’ve got this.

By the time we got down to the living room, my notes were getting shorter. Floor dips near basement. Water damage to ceiling. Termite damage to floor. Little spots = roach droppings.

Somewhere around page 4 of my notes, and 3 hours into the inspection, we moved down to the basement. The callous I get from holding my pen wrong was hard and pointy and aching and I was trying to do rough calculations in my head while the inspector was adding things like “more termites!” and “dead mice!” and “pervasive mold!” to my list.

Finally, the inspector turned to me and asked “Do you have any questions?”

Fortunately he was a fellow gun-toting Jew, so my “Am I fucking stupid for considering this?” didn’t seem to shock him.

I sat down with the mold inspector (who recited the names of several different species taking up residence in that basement) and we went over the costs of gutting and treating the basement. Minimum $20,000 - $25,000, and that’s without putting the walls or ceiling back up afterward. And assuming the moisture isn’t coming in through the foundation, because then the whole house would have to be waterproofed and we might need to install a sump pump.

By the time the lead inspector started listing the locations of all the lead paint in and outside the house, my eyes were fully glazed over.

The Redfin agent present for the inspection was on the phone with our regular agent when I came back upstairs. He glanced over at me, and then said “Well, to be honest… she looks a little… distraught.” Very astute, for the guy who never once offered me the only chair in the house, even though I spent 15 minutes glaring daggers at him.  

I got on the phone with our agent and told him we’d likely be backing out of the deal, but I wanted to talk to Charming first. If you’ll recall, Charming is still fishing, so I called the agent back an hour later and told him to just scrap the deal. There was no way. Not for the agreed upon price, and probably not even if the seller came down $50,000, which she’d need to do. I wanted a house with projects, not a whole several-month-long project house.

So my Pinterest board is once-again in a state of waiting, and we’re back on the prowl for the perfect house. This time, hopefully with less rabbit stench and mold. 

At least I have more time now, since my Masters' degree is done! :D 


  1. I'm so sorry. That is rough. But it does sound like a TON of work and money to make it right. The mold issue alone ould be my major concern. I'm sure you'll find something else much better. Plus, you can wait for Charming to return to help. Nobody should have to go though all alone.

    But good news is your done your classes. Yay you!!!.

    1. Yeah, I was disappointed at first, but now I'm just glad we were able to get out of it. And it was a fabulous learning experience - I can spot mold growth from a mile away now.

      And thanks!

  2. Ouch. As I was reading this I was thinking, "Yep, sounds just like me on our inspection day." However, our house had only a few of the minor defects that you mentioned. Not even close to that crazy amount of repairs. Suddenly I feel quite lucky to have landed the house we did.

    You have my sympathies going forward with your house hunt. May you have better luck from now on.

    Also, congratulations on your Masters!