Yes, it’s true, we’re having a touch of cold feet about the house. While we are generally logical and rational people, things just aren’t, you know, like, feeling right, man. Every time we’ve had a scheduled appointment to do something at the house, either the handyman has been there working on something, or something that needs to be inspected isn’t available. Most recently, the bank’s appraiser was out on Monday to check out the house. Most inconveniently, the seller’s handyman was there working on the bathroom sink, which meant that the bathroom sink was on the floor in the kitchen. Not so impressive for the appraiser to see. That also meant that the water was turned off, so every single time we’ve been there, the plumbing hasn’t been turned on. I know the owner is in Mexico and all, but it’s starting to make me wonder what’s up with the plumbing, you know?
Tomorrow is the end of our feasibility study, when we need to either commit or walk away. I actually went to the agent’s office today and signed the paperwork to make a slightly different offer, but mostly commit to buying the house. The agent wasn’t in, just left the paper for me, which I signed and left with the secretary. I didn’t really feel good about it after I left the office. On my way to the store I decided to swing by the house and get another look at it, figuring that seeing it again might get me excited again about the possibilities. I was just having a little look-see through the windows and couldn’t help but notice that neither the front nor back door was locked. So, I thought I’d poke my head in and see if the handyman was around. He wasn’t, but since I was inside anyway…
The sink was hooked up and the water turned on, so I thought I’d see how it works. It leaks. Not from the incoming water side, which would be more serious, but from the drain side. Big drops of water right onto the bathroom floor. It makes me wonder what else the handyman has “fixed”. We know that he repaired the hole in the back deck by nailing a piece of plywood over it and applying a new coat of paint. What else has he worked on?
But here’s the real issue. I think that it was really unfortunate that they had the heat turned off for the coldest week of the last few years. Doubly unfortunate was the fact that they had the carpet cleaned after the heat was off and only a day before the coldest week of the last few years. So the carpets never dried completely. All that water just sat there for the last few weeks. Then a week ago when they turned the heat back on, water condensed everywhere. When we were last there, the heat had been on for a day and there was water literally running down the inside of the windows. Unfortunately, it also created the perfect warm moist growing medium for mold, which is a huge issue here in the Pacific Northwest. As I walked through the house today, I found big patches of fluffy white mold growing on the carpet in the bedroom. In the back room, there were dark mildew-ish stains growing along the bottom two feet of the walls. We had planned to take the carpet out anyway, but not until spring. If we decide to go ahead with this house, it would now mean tearing out all the carpet before we can even move in. And probably replacing the sheetrock in at least that one bedroom.
I drove back to the real estate office and took that signed piece of paper back off the agent’s desk. We still have until tomorrow if we decide to give it back to him. We are still torn. It is a really cute place, and we’ve been reading all these remodeling books and have grand ideas for what could be done with it. We were feeling like it might be the best thing we can afford, so when we got home today we did a quick search to see what other houses are out there. We came across this one which already has a garage (we would have to build a garage at the yellow house), and is within the price range that we are prequalified for. So it’s not like we’re stuck with the yellow house, and we’re feeling like maybe we should call it a lesson and move on.
To top it all off, we got the house inspection report today, and it seems like he has his reports partially mixed up, or he cut-n-pasted the wrong information or something. There are a bunch of things on the report that are just flat wrong. Like he says that the water heater is 16 years old, but we actually had two separate and very clear conversations about how the water heater is only 2 years old, and he showed me the manufacture date and everything. He names the wrong brand for the electrical panel. He says that none of the faucets leak, but in reality the water wasn’t running either time he was there, so he has no way of knowing that. I’ll talk to him tomorrow and point these things out. Now that we’ve paid him $330 for a walk through, and Preston tagged along on the whole thing, we sort of feel like we don’t need an inspector for the next time. Preston and I are totally capable of doing everything the inspector did. He crawled in the attic to check for water damage. He crawled under the house to check the plumbing and to look for water damage. He used a nifty little plug-in to test the outlets. I’m pretty sure you can get one of those little plug-ins from Home Depot for $10 or so. And he walked around on the roof, determining that “yupp, there sure are some shingles missing up here, just like it looked like from down there.” He was a very nice guy, and we liked chatting with him, but it seems like Preston and I know what water damage looks like, and we know how to identify a missing shingle. Anything more complex than that, and he recommended a specialist. In this case, he recommended that we have a professional roofer take a look at the roof and see what he thought, as well as having a professional plumber look at the plumbing. We’re pretty sure that we could see enough to determine whether we needed the specialist on our own. So we may decide that we paid $330 for the lesson in how to inspect houses, which was very useful.
If we decide to pass on the yellow house, we will most definitely switch to a new agent. This one has not been helpful in the least. The only reason to have him around is for access to his legal documents, which he very kindly prints out and leaves on his desk for us to sign. So far, the only person in this process that we’ve enjoyed working with has been our bank loan person. Her names is Roberta Wilkinson with AlaskaUSA Credit Union, and if you are looking for a home loan, I highly recommend her. She has been really helpful and friendly. She recommended an agent for us, who we will contact if we decide to look at some other houses.