Soooo ... Home Inspection
To my flist, also, I really appreciate the comments that everyone has been leaving me and apologize for being unable to reply so far. All of my spare time has been spent either sleeping, writing, or working on SWG, and not in that order. Once I'm sitting in my study, in our new house, and the archive is available and functional, then I will take myself off this self-imposed LJ exile and start reading journals and reply to comments in quicker time than two weeks. In the meantime, I am thankful for the laughs and good cheer I get from reading the comments people have left on my posts so far. :)
Here goes ...
Thursday, we had the home inspection on the house we hope to buy in Manchester. It did not go as well as we'd hoped.
There are several major problems with the house that will need to be addressed before Bobby and I are willing to carry on with the contract. Our home inspector was excellent and pointed out a number of small things that Bobby and I are willing to do ourselves, as well as places to improve in years to come. But there were three major things and we are not willing to buy the house unless they are fixed or the owners give us money to have them fixed ourselves.
First and foremost: the sump pump. A sump pump, of course, is supposed to sit in a hole (a sump) and has a ball attached that, when water rises in the hole, the ball rises and switches on the pump, which proceeds to remove the water until the ball sinks down again (meaning the water is gone) and the pump shuts off. The sump pump in our Hopeful House is outside on the landing of the outdoor steps down to the basement. This is problem number one; there are a good three months during Maryland winters where temperatures drop below freezing, especially at night, and a pump is no good if it is frozen. But the oddest thing of all is that the sump pump has no sump. It is a sumpless sump pump. No one--even our home inspector--had seen anything like this before. The ball that is supposed to switch the pump on and off is tied up so that the pump will always run. But to start the pump, one has to flip a switch inside the house, which makes the sump pump useless unless someone is home to turn it on. Which, for about eight hours each day, no one is. The other thing is that there's no drain in that stairwell, so the only way the inspector figured the pump would even work was if we attached a hose to it before using it and tossed it over the railing. Again, this requires someone to be home to operate, which isn't a problem for the current residents, since the guy works entirely from home.
But this is a big problem for us. It won't take much rain to bring the water level in that basement stairwell above the threshold to the door, at which point we come home to a flooded basement.
Luckily, my dad has been wonderful through all of this, and he's definitely very handy with DYI issues. Before Thursday, I wouldn't have known a sump pump if one fell out of the sky and hit me in the head. We never had one in the house where I grew up, which sat at the highest point in Baltimore County, so it literally was all downhill from there. He drafted a list of repairs that he thinks are needed before we buy the house, having gone with us to the inspection and having spent two hours reviewing the report.
He wants a drain installed in the basement stairwell that will take water to an indoor sump with an automatic switch. He asked the contractor who's doing their addition for an estimate of how much that would cost, and the contractor figured between $2000-$3000. So this was number one on our list. We simply cannot take that sort of chance, of coming home to an indoor swimming facility in our basement.
The second big issue was three foundation cracks that the inspector found, so we're asking for these to be investigated and repaired. The inspector found dampness and mold in the basement, and he figures that both are caused by the cracks.
Third, the copper pipes in some places are terribly corroded, so we're asking for this to be evaluated and replaced. Again, we cannot take the chance of coming home to burst pipes.
So this was disheartening. Bobby and I were up past midnight on Thursday, discussing what we wanted to ask the current owners for and what we were willing to settle for. We decided that these three issues are the biggies. We've almost entirely drained our savings to finance this house, not to mention having borrowed more than I care to even consider from my dad, and we simply cannot afford to spend several thousand dollars more on repairs that should have been made years ago. Nor can we afford to have an emergency of the scope that any one of these problems could cause.
So yesterday, we met with Joe and Pat, our real estate people, and put an addendum on the contract. We asked for these three things and threw in a few other moderately pressing issues as well. Our line of thinking is that we'll ask for the most that we'd expect, and if they come back saying that it's too much, we'll cut the list down to those three major things we want repaired. If they're not willing to do this, then we're canceling the contract and moving on.
It is our hope, however, that they're going to make the repairs. For one, they've already moved into their new house. In the two weeks between the showing and the inspection, they removed all but a few items from the house. So they're making two house payments now, and it's a buyer's market; it took four months to get a contract with us (and we were the only contract on the house). Who knows how long it will take to get another buyer in. (And their real estate agent is so unmotivated that he won't even return our agents' calls; Joe and Pat refuse to even work with him anymore and are going straight to his manager with everything.)
Also, the inspection report is now a matter of public record so any future buyers will immediately be able to see the problems that the inspector found. For what they're asking for the house, no reasonable person is going to accept those faults with the sort of market we're in. In all likelihood, they're going to have to fix them anyway.
And they didn't do much to update the house either; the appliances are all old and much of the decor is outdated. So it's not like they can point to $5000 spent remodeling. So far as I can see, they didn't put much into the house aside from new countertops in the kitchen and some landscaping outside.
So it's our hope that they're going to agree to our offer, but Bobby started looking again today in case they do not, and he found several enticing possibilities in Manchester, Owings Mills (northern Baltimore County), and Pasadena/Severna Park (Anne Arundel County). This encouraged and reminded both of us that, as much as we love this particular house, it's not the only one out there, and we'd do well to stick by our guns on this.
In better news, for our anniversary, Bobby bought us an antique suit of armor to put in the study. It's hella cool ... and Alex just knocked the lid of his toy box into it and scared the crap out of himself!