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06 June 2018

House stories? We are house hunting, and found a lovely one, but the inspection was super scary, so we are looking again.

I am a little discouraged (although I shouldn't be - we have plenty of time! This is normal!) and would love to hear house stories, if anyone has them.
I am lucky that my dad is house savvy (he is a building engineer) and he is willing to go on inspections with us. Also, to tell us what is reasonable to fix ourselves and what is a larger issue.
posted by needlegrrl 06 June | 07:53
Of the places I've lived both rental and owned the places I've really loved I found more by accident than active search.

Not sure what that means except I hope someplace good pops up for you.
posted by arse_hat 06 June | 19:39
Well we just moved in March (sold our old house, bought a new one), and it was a nerve-wracking time. Now that it's behind us, we couldn't be happier.

We had a similar story in terms of walking away from a house after the inspection.

To begin, though: We were in our old house for 20 years and frankly we were tired of it. The problem was that it needed work. The foundation was shifting (common in Texas) and before we fixed the cracks in the walls so we could paint we needed to fix that. The structural engineer we hired to assess the foundation said part of the problem was a tree at the corner of the house. So we had it cut down.

About that time, my wife wanted to look at some open houses. She had two open houses picked out, one showing from 10-12, another from 2-4. This was the first one. My wife fell in love with the kitchen, especially the island.

It was a "flip house" and supposedly it was completely redone: "Features include New electrical weatherhead, panel, wiring, plumbing..." It was on the expensive side, but my wife said that since the house was recently renovated, we wouldn't have to put money into the house after we bought it.

After looking at that house we had lunch, then looked for another open house to see before the 2:00 showing. We went over to this house which, as it turned out, was shown by the same pair of realtors that were at the first house. We started chatting with them and mentioned that while we wanted to move, we had a lot of work to do on our current house before we could sell it.

As it turns out, the two houses we looked at were flip houses, bought by investors who fixed them up to turn a profit. They said they might be able to hook us up with a buyer who could buy the house as is without the repairs. Sounded interesting but I doubted they would offer enough to make it worth our while.

Then we looked at this house, which I liked a lot but my wife as so-so on. (to be continued)
posted by Doohickie 06 June | 20:24
A few days later, one of the realtors called and asked if they could come over and assess our house. A week or two after that, they said they had an off-market offer for us. It was close to the low end of what we would even consider and we turned it down. The buyer countered with an offer $2000 higher and my wife convinced me that we should accept it.

We put an offer on the first house. Their ask was really way above market, so we low-balled them. They countered and we negotiated to a price that I thought was still too high, but my wife really wanted that kitchen... and besides, the house was renovated and didn't need any work, so I relented.

The home inspection was pretty bleak. They said that while there was indeed a lot of work done on the house, there were numerous code violations so they could tell the flipper hadn't pulled any permits. And the plumbing and electrical weren't redone (and/or were done so poorly they'd still need work). They did a ton of work and the house looked nice, but it wasn't going to last. So we walked away from that one during the option period. To further depress our moods, our dog who'd been suffering from cancer had to be put down the next day. (to be continued)
posted by Doohickie 06 June | 20:34
The clock was ticking; our old house was going to sell out from under us and we needed a new one to move into. Our confidence was very shaken: The house we declined was being sold by the same realtors that were representing us in both selling our old house and buying a new one. The listing for the house we walked away from was so far from reality, I really didn't trust the realtors at all anymore.

On the selling of our house, I started picturing awful scenarios: The investor would buy our house before we were ready to move, or when they did their inspection they'd use the flaws in our house to low-ball us and the deal would die.

And after the house we turned down, there were several "Plan B" homes on our radar, but all were flawed. Still, we told the realtor to prepare an offer for one house, but when it was sent to us to sign, my wife said she didn't like where the house was located and didn't want to buy it.

We decided to take a look at another Plan B house that was close to our target neighborhood, but not quite in it. We made plans to visit the house in the evening, but that morning, this house popped up on It was an eye-popper. The price was about the same as the other homes we were looking at, but it was quite a bit bigger and had some great features: hardwood floors, large yard, a loft over the garage... it was beautiful. The downside, I guess, is that it's only a block from the freeway. We called our realtor and asked her to show us that house as soon as we could get there after work.

It ended up being the house we bought. The house needed some work but we decided it was worth it. Having found the house of our dreams, we were really nervous about the sale of our old house falling through. But it closed uneventfully and so did our new house.

Home Sweet Home!

≡ Click to see image ≡
posted by Doohickie 06 June | 20:53
House story I'd forgot until this moment. About 15 years ago I spent a weekend with friends to do some work on the thirty year old house they had just bought.

We made a list of materials on Friday and went to Lowes early Saturday. As we are going around picking up stuff my friend says 'if I ever buy another house it will be new. Moving into an old house is a pain in the ass'

A few minutes later in a plumbing aisle we see a guy and two Lowes employees loading a water heater on to a cart and the guy says to the employees "if I ever buy another house it will be an old one. Buying a new house is a nightmare.'
posted by arse_hat 06 June | 21:13
Happy it worked out Doohickie.
posted by arse_hat 06 June | 21:15
Doohickie - what a lovely house! I am glad that you found the house of your dreams!

Arse_hat - that is probably more hilarious to me than it should be right now.

We're driving around tonight and then going out this weekend to look at some more houses. Fingers crossed!
posted by needlegrrl 07 June | 07:47
I looked at around 40-50 homes before finding the one I'm in now. Probably went inside at least 15 of them; but as far as driving by; getting out of the car; yeah; lots of home.

Went through all the assessor on line records too; did google street views and drive bys when I was out of state; google earth view; flood plain records; meth house records online; police and crime maps; on and on and on I did so much digital inspection stuff in addition to IRL viewing.

Happy with old home in old neighborhood; good as it is; new main beam and foundation work will soon consume 15-20k of classic old home investment. On a positive; the neighborhood has had such and uptick in the last four years; the lot itself is worth more than the home was listed for.

I sincerely miss the 2011 2012 days of the 75k to 100k starter home; what the market is doing to young people today is unpleasant to reflect on.
posted by buzzman 12 June | 10:15
I bought this home with my ex-husband. We had a big house but the neighbourhood was going downhill fast. So we decided to move to a nicer area, where we knew we could only afford a flat or a maisonette (an apartment with its own private door to the street).

We had a wish list - ground floor, two bedrooms, garden, garage, quiet area. We saw this place first, and knew it'd be snapped up. It was a probate sale and, creepily, the old lady's stuff was all still here, even her walking stick by the door, and the bed all made up with a dent in the pillow. Creepy.

But we loved the layout and the location, so we put in an offer, which was accepted. It turned out the estate agent lived next door, although he couldn't tell us that when he was showing us the place. The only downside is that the kitchen is very small, but it's big enough for me and it has everything I need.

When the snobbish woman who lived upstairs at the time found out where we were moving from, she was worried that having 'Dagenham Irish' move in would drive down property values. And she was originally from Leyton! When we divorced, I bought out my ex-husband, and I've lived alone since, except for cats. I don't have a cat at the moment though.

The woman in the unit upstairs moved after a few years, selling to Hell Neighbour, who was okay at first, but for the last 7 or 8 years was a nightmare to live beneath. He's been gone 3 years now, and all is peaceful and quiet. I have good neighbours, the area is quiet (although we've had a few burglaries recently across the street, which backs directly onto the forest and offers easy access through the forest for miscreants). Now my neighbour Peggy has died, I'm the longest resident here, 22 years.

The only thing that would make me move is if I was no longer able to drive. The tube station is a mile away, and the nearest bus is half a mile, with limited services. I generally walk to the station, when I'm going to work, but I need a car for my domestic and social life.

I realise I'm very lucky to have a settled home when so many people in the UK are reliant on the private rental market where rents are high and they can be out on 2 months' notice. I couldn't afford to rent this place, that's for sure. And if I hadn't bought it 22 years ago, there's no way I could buy it now.
posted by Senyar 14 June | 19:00
The inspection on a house we looked at was just as disasterous as we feared. Basically nothing worked: heating, wiring, plumbing, roofing, were all at the failure stage and it was full of peeling lead paint and asbestos. Also the tub was about to fall through the floor. This was on top of the fact that every room needed to be repainted and the place reaked of cigarettes and dog piss. Oh and there was no kitchen and the 40 foot long porch was falling off.

We bought it anyway and have been here for eleven years now. It's still got some work to do on it but we've built bathrooms, a new porch, had a new boiler installed, rewired, replumbed, painted, etc. I'd do it again but I'm not sure that I'd recommend it to anyone else.
posted by octothorpe 24 June | 21:27
BUGS. || OMG bunny!