Recently I’ve noticed houses in our neighborhood selling really quickly once they go on the market. My husband and I decided to take a peek and see if anything out there would be worth selling our house for. We have some lay out issues with ours in addition to needing a mother-in-law option for my mom who has been living with us for a few years.
We made some rules for ourselves which we began to break almost immediately.
I am pretty set on not wanting to take my son out of our school boundary. It’s been an uphill battle to get here and I cannot make him start all over. I cannot start all over, either. Not if I want to keep this hair in my head and the bits of sanity i’ve held onto.
So we had a radius…which we periodically went outside of.
A couple of weeks ago the seemingly perfect house came up! There was an open house that weekend and it was about 5 miles away.
It was a rambler. A one story older house on a fantastic piece of peoperty beside a creek. Fenced yard, beautiful back yard area, big kitchen and a lot odd quirky character. Bonus: it had a free standing “additional dwelling unit” aka mother-in-law house/cottage converted barn.
My husband’s current mode of transportation is a knee scooter due to foot surgery he had, and most likely will have again in 2 years on the other foot. We are currently in a 2 story, so this added to the pluses of the house.
Long story short we went back numerous times for sanity checks, remodeling options yada yada yada, we made an offer.
We told no one. We were a little terrified to even admit we were going to give up our house in this big family oriented neighborhood and quiet private street for a place closer to town and quite frankly I have no idea when I began giving a flying frankfurter what other people think! Why the need to justify this? I’ll move on.
We were so excited! The kids were mostly on board, Fixer Upper was now on the DVR, pinterest pins were flying, color chips were chosen, negotiations were being made and we were prepping our disasterously disorganized house to go on the market in five days. FIVE DAYS!
We hired gardeners to spruce up the property.
Side Note: Land is a big pain in the ass and you should probably have it professionally maintained more than every three years 😱
We rented a dumpster and cleared out all kinds of karma, baggage, trash and crap.
We settled on terms, price, and all was going famously. As long as the inspection came back reasonable the deal would be signed. During the inspection, I met a designer at the property to talk about what remodeling would entail. She had some great ideas.
This was really happening! How exciting!!
My husband and I filled in all the initials and signatures on the new contract, leaving areas blank for the agent to fill in after inspection. As we were finishing up, the inspector comes in and begins to load the info onto his laptop. We were in high spirits and joked with him, “Anything big? Any show-stoppers?” totally expecting to hear nothing major….afterall, there was a new roof, new kitchen counters and recent flooring in addition to new carpet. What could go wrong?
He responded with, “Ohhhh yea. Several.”
My husband, myself, and our agent walked over still not expecting what we got.
He began with things like cracked window seals, and broken fences. We thought, “Hmm, ok. Manageable.” Then he got to “failed windows” which means the pane needs to be removed and resealed…but it was a window in nearly every room. Damn.
He moved onto the chimney with pictures of crumbling mortar so bad chunks had just fallen down onto the roof.
Posts holding up the porch roof were beginning to rot and were not fastened properly. Double damn.
We nervously said, “Have we reached the bad stuff now then?”
“Hang on we’re getting there.”
We go through some more issues with rotting steps and beams and we’re thinking the scope is getting big and imagining repair costs but we’re hanging in there.
We get to the attic pictures and it begins to unravel. The “new roof” is putting up a 99.9 % moisture reading on his digital gadget. He tells us that is only because it does not have a 100% option. The roof was saturated with water. No less than 20 leaks, and there were most definitely more than that.
“But he just had the roof done in November!?!”
“Ok, so now this is the worst of it, right?”
“Hang in there..”
Next we see insulation with tracks carved out. Rats. Rats had made their own subdivisions in the rafters. Lots of them, too. A variety of live ones, dead ones, skeletal ones. Rats for everyone! Rat nests, highways so they can travel during the holidays, and wherever they go they pee and poop and pee some more. The insulation was completely saturated with waste.
This was not all.
Soaking wet beams and boards in Washington usually means one thing. Mold. There was white fuzz spreading like ice on a windshield.
But wait, there’s more!
The horizontal load bearing beams in the roof had vertical support beams. Great! Unfortunately the beams were not actually fastened properly to the load bearing beams with anything more than a nail.
One picture showed the middle support beam completely severed resulting in nothing holding the roof!
But the roof was just re-done!
Next we go south to the crawl space. More skeletons and fossils of rodents. Rats to be exact. Zero insulation below the floors to replace at least. There was no insulation. What there was was a giant swimming pool for the rats. A Club Pet, if you will…and they did. They clubbed and swam and scurried all beneath there. The sump pump was not able to drain the water because it wasnt graded to do so. The size of the under home pool was from half the kitchen, down the hall and an entire bedroom. The water was pouring in from the fancy water heated pipe system in addition to the massive separation of the foundation from the side of the house. One entire side of the house.
But at least the house was stable, right?
No! The support beams that hold the house up were rotted from all the water! Didnt really matter because they too were not properly attached to the structure.
Again we saw a broken beam with the board above it totally suspended. The rotting beams that go to the concrete foundation were not actually set into the foundation. They were floating.
“They all float down here!” on the mold, apparently. There was more beneath the house.
The roof on the mother-in-law unit was equally drenched and wrecked. There were curiously no rats over there, though.
So after 45 minutes of the ass whooping we were served by the inspector, we just picked our jaws off the cold unstable floor and stared in disbelief at the walls of this house we had already made plans for. The agent was equally horrified and shocked by all of this.
Needless to say the contract was torn up and now we just move on, but definitely not in.
Old houses are one thing to take on, moldy rat infested structures that leak water and are held up by spaghetti sticks do not make good investments or homes.