Last week, I met the inspector at the house we are/were under contract for. The seller, and his agent, were also there (plus my agent, of course).
As the inspector worked, the seller was always two steps behind him – talking fast, tooting his own horn, and assuring all of us that there was nothing wrong with the house. The whole scene was uncomfortable, since the inspector was struggling to pay attention to his work and including me on what was going on was impossible.
Finally, my realtor chatted with the sellers realtor and shortly there after, they scooted out.
(That was 45 minutes in)
I stayed another almost 3 hours examining the house.
Some of the things he found were not done well – and in some cases, were an accident waiting to happen. But, I hoped they would easily be fixed so we could move forward.
Unfortunately, when we received the full report the next day, and reviewed it with our realtor, it was obvious the house was a very bad investment – potentially/probably, a money pit (remember that movie?).
I expected a few things to pop up – the house is old, and it’s been fixed up. What was found, though, was so many things that it was pretty obvious the seller (aka, a self proclaimed flipper) didn’t have a clue how to do home renovations.
– no GCFI outlets on ANY of the outlets (electrician 101 according to our inspector)
– faulty/loose/taped together wiring in several places that were visible (see above)
– combustible materials installed directly next to the water heater
– no lower air vent on the water heater
– no fire block above the water heater or furnace
– no gas dirt/drip leg on the water heater gas line
– no upper heating vent on the furnace
– the clothes dryer exhaust went directly into the attic
Combined with other things like incorrectly installed dishwasher, garbage disposal, deck railings, bathroom plumbing, toilets, etc led our realtor to inquire about permits.
In our county, permits are required for small jobs like installing ceiling fans (quite ridiculous) on up. Not a single permit had been requested/issued and the seller admitted he’d ripped the house down to the studs and did all the work himself.
So, the question came down to: were we willing to assume the inside of the wall work was adequate and safe (after seeing the major red flags on the surface)? Were we willing to have a contractor come in down the line to do some work for us and bring everything up to code on our penny? Were we willing to hold a “hot potato” that we might never get to sell again, due to the lack of permits and shoddy work?
Was the overbearing, fast talking seller trying to be helpful or was he just hoping the inspector was so distracted that he didn’t notice the faults?
I’ll admit; I was wrapped up in that house emotionally. I loved it, and saw myself living there. I knew the right thing to do was move on but I wanted it to work so badly. We left our realtors office to eat and I sat at the table, eating, with hot tears rolling down my face. Not only did I want that house, but I wanted my own place by the end of the month like we originally planned for and most of all, I wanted my dogs with me.
We challenged him on the due diligence claim that he did not indicate that a full renovation had been done on the home and therefore, it was grounds for termination and return of all funds. He was given an opportunity to provide permits but we are all pretty sure he won’t be willing to let an inspector come in and require him to redo things (we’re talking MAJOR $$$$).
We are out the $650 in inspection fees and possibly the $150 in due diligence fees. Hopefully, the lost $650 was well worth the investment in ensuring we missed a bullet!
This, my friends, is why the inspection is a must.
(the upside is that we’ve started the search again and have found some new houses on the market that we like better that are actually cheaper – and are in better shape!)