The New Old Homestead Part Two: Buyer Beware
When we left you folks last Mr. G and I had found our dream home after a long stressful search. After finally seeing inside the whole house and questioning this and that, measuring here and there we put in an offer. The first obstacle Easter weekend. We waited and waited on pins and needles for hours to find out if the offer would be accepted. Finally after a full day of waiting there was a counter offer and we accepted.
Now let the nightmare begin. We thought we had done so much right from the beginning. But when it came down to the inspection this where the problems began and clearly explained why the house had been on the market for so long and why the previous contract fell through.
Here is the first buyers tip I hope you all will keep in mind. No matter if you are required or not for your home loan, get it inspected by an experienced reputable inspector. What our inspector found was astonishing. Major termite damage, air duct for the central air under the house rusted through and last but not least, a bad fuse box. Surprisingly none of this was addressed in the sellers disclosure. The Reason??? In Texas there is a bit of a loop hole in this document. If you have inherited a dwelling the seller cant be held liable and can simply reply “Unknown” to every single question on the document. Which is exactly what the son of the previous and original owner of the home did. I have a huge phobia of house fires and immediately started to panic. As it turns out most home insurers will not approve a policy on a home with these electrical panels. After much research and fretting Mr. G and I had our agent contact the seller regarding the repairs that were none negotiable. Well, he balked and wouldn’t pay for any repairs. Really???? To say the least we were between a rock and a hard place. After spending our time and money on estimates and such, long story short we finally talked the seller into lowering the price of the home a bit more and we lowered our down payment a bit in order to get repairs done before we moved in. We seriously loved this home and neighborhood but at one point we were so mad and stressed out over the situation we came very close to walking away. The electric panel I referred to above is notorious for catching fire and literally blowing up and burning down homes. They were installed by a company mostly in the southwest and the only reason there weren’t officially recalled by the government is because by the time all the bureaucracy was weeded through the company went out of business. We found a couple local stories where the home fires were traced directly to these boxes.
Okay!!!! We got the deal done, the repairs done and we are ready to move into our dream home. Here is where tip number 2 comes into play. RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH whoever you are going to hire to touch your precious belongings. As I mentioned before we had to move all our belongings to storage and live in a hotel for a couple weeks before we closed on our new home. Well it was up to me to hire movers. I thought I had thoroughly vetted the company I eventually hired. Well after the experience we endured I did some more digging on this “company” and realized I hadn’t checked the Better Business Bureau. This company DID NOT have a good rating and a little more digging found a website that people had posted some horrifying reviews of this company. Not only were they careless and took two hours longer than quoted they broke two pieces of furniture. One was fessed up to in the end, the other we didn’t discover till we moved into the new home from storage. The piece they fessed up to we ignorantly let them take with them to “get an estimate for repair” on. It finally took threatened legal action to get the family heirloom piece back from them and our insurance paid for the repairs. Turns our the piece was irreplaceable to our surprise. I felt like a colossal idiot to say the very least and still get an ill stomach when I think about it. Oh another thing that lead to my mistake was Craigslist and the ad this company ran with the owner posting a pic of himself in the service shaking hands with a general. DO NOT fall for patriotic names or claims of service. As a military mom I was gullible and wanted to feel as thought I was helping a fellow veteran.
The good news is the second company hired were the complete opposite and as pleasant as moving can be from a storage unit into a home.
Isn’t this a lovely little place????
Here is my last tip, talk to your potential neighbors. If we had we may have known more of what we were dealing with here. Turns out the seller was a former Realtor and new how to avoid the truth. His mother the original owner was alive and very well at the time the home was put up for sale. He was aware of the problems and hoped to get away with not saying anything about the repairs that needed to be done. Well his arrogance cost him about $30,000 off the original price of the house by the time we came around.
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