Friday, April 8, 2011

Too good to be true?

Since we signed the contract on the house, I've been feeling little bursts of excitement. "Oh my goodness, we're going to live in a house we picked together! SPACE!!!" It appeared that the house was just in need of some cosmetic love, and a good scrub down. I felt pretty confident that the inspection would go off without a hitch. Mostly, I was just excited to get back inside the house and imagine all the things I could do to gussy it up and make it beautiful.

Inspection day did not go exactly how I anticipated. Within a few minutes our inspector, Mike, had already identified something a bit troublesome. The new roof had an issue. The sellers had disclosed that there had been damage and leaking as a result of a big windstorm, and the new roof had remedied those problems. But the roofers had not replaced the flashing in critical areas, and there was the potential for water to seep in. It was troublesome to hear, and not at all what I had expected.

Mike continued checking out the exterior of the home, and pointed out more problems. The siding had rotted in a few spots and would need to be replaced. We would also need to touch up paint in several places to prevent further deterioration.

The front stoop had settled several inches and sloped toward the foundation. It would need to be raised to prevent water from running down toward the foundation.

We moved inside to the garage to check out things there. It's a garage, so how much trouble could there be? Turns out, there were problems here, too. The GFCI receptacle tripped and would not reset, indicating that it was either faulty or there was an issue with the circuit. Mike checked out the attic above the garage and informed us that there was "a fungus among us." There was mold as a result of a previous leak, most likely in the same spot where the flashing was identified as a problem. The area was dry, so this wasn't believed to be a current problem. Then he told us that someone had placed extra shingles and tile directly on the drywall in the attic. It was causing the ceiling to bow, and it would only be a matter of time before the drywall gave way and the tiles and shingles crashed through. Who does that?!

We moved into the house to check out the mechanicals so my husband could return to work. More trouble was lurking, and it wasn't pretty. At some point the hot water heater had failed and leaked. There was mold. The drywall would need to be cut out and replaced. The water softener was unplugged and completely clogged with salt, and the drain appeared to have a leak. The baseboard near the drain was water logged and stained, and mostly just gross.  The furnace was working- barely. It would only run for a few minutes before shutting off, far sooner than it should have. The air filter hadn't been changed in what appeared to be a very, very long time. The furnace was at the end of it's life span and would need to be serviced at the very least, and most likely replaced.  We were 0 for 3 on the mechanicals.

Fortunately, the rest of the inspection wasn't nearly as traumatic. Two windows had broken seals, and water had condensed between the panes. It was just a cosmetic issue, but several other windows would need to have seals replaced to prevent this problem in the future. The valves for the washer's hookup were corroded and would need to be replaced. There was water damage in several places upstairs that indicated that the roof had leaked in more places than the sellers had disclosed. Both sink faucets in the master bathroom would need to be replaced. The tile flooring in the kitchen and powder room were cracked because the slab underneath had not been leveled before it was laid. These were all smaller things that we could fix.

We were worried about the roof and mechanicals especially though. I felt deflated and kept thinking "If it's too good to be true, it probably is." We decided we would ask the sellers to repair the critical items on the
list. We prepared ourselves for the possibility that they might say no. It would mean walking away from the house and starting the search again. This house had everything on our list, and I wasn't ure we'd find anything nearly as good.

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