Because I have not bought a house in thirty-nine years, much less in a different state, this process, like everything else since I listed my triplex for sale on February 7, 2020, has become a big learning experience.
For example, when I made the offer, I did not state that appliances must be included. Mistake number one. But the used ones I had to buy for this rented house had to be replaced, and so it wasn’t a huge mistake after all.
Next came the inspection on Tuesday, June 2.
My realtor gave me three names and phone numbers for people she had worked with before. She told me to interview them and pick one.
“Just ask questions and get to know them so you can decide who you want to work with.”
The first guy was a contractor by trade prior to becoming an inspector. But he just had surgery on his ankle and wouldn’t be available. Even so, he shared important information–like asking them how much experience they had inspecting houses.
The second guy was available and could do it Thursday or Friday (May 28 or 29). He had prior experience in plumbing, heat, and air conditioning and gave me an impressive list of things he thought were important. But when I asked if I could be there while he was doing the inspection, he said “No.” And I said, “Thank you.”
The third guy was affable and informative. He had worked for Terminex prior to being an inspector. He knew a lot about termites and other pests and moisture under the house. He said I could be there and that he would give his summary of what’s important before he left. (Right Answer.) He’s the one I hired.
From June 2 until today, I have been calling experts for each item, trying to get estimates for getting everything fixed. They met me at the house for sale, with the realtor if it was for inside work, and I took notes. Try that in your town in this crazy-world time.
Here’s the list so far with their verbal estimates:
$ 500 ELECTRICAL: exposed connection under the dishwasher, by washer/dryer, and Romex (live wire in add-on room); switches in LR that don’t do anything.
$2,500 TREES: Remove dead trees in back, the ones next to the house (“double” on one side and White Oak on the other side), two next to a neighbor in electrical wiring, and trim neighbor’s tree limbs that hang over the roof
$1,000 WINDOWS: Fix five windows (master bedroom and garage) that have broken seals.
$ 500 GAS FIREPLACE: Replace the brass-coated gas line with a stainless steel line.
$3,500 PLUMBING: Reset Master BR toilet and possible broken flange; the toilet is not flush with the floor; fix leaks under the house (trap under clothes washer) and toilet; replace cracked shower stall; put in a vent for the clothes washer (there isn’t one) and replace the trap; eliminate saddle valve (fridge); replace the 19-year-old water heater.
$50- $12,000 ROOF: Fix the bulge on the right. Cost depends on where the bulge on the roof is located and the slope of the roof. It could be either “a little fix” or a “must replace the roof cost.”
$1700 Fridge and Laundry Machines (Henry’s Appliances): The owners wanted to keep their appliances.
I spent four days trying to find experts to look at the issues and give me estimates for fixing them. Each time, I had to call the realtor and arrange a mutually acceptable time for both to be at the house. But today I have had enough. I typed the list and sent it to my realtor. She’ll come over later today and we’ll fill out the paperwork for the owners’ realtor. I want them to fix what was listed in the inspector’s report. Let the chips fall where they may.
I like the house for many reasons.
It has a lot of space–more than three times the size of my attic apartment in Durango. There are so many rooms! For my cats, one with lots of windows (the sunroom); one for a library, an office, and a guest bedroom. It has a two-car garage accessed by a door from the living room that already has a cat door. And it has a tornado shelter under the house, accessed with stairs from the kitchen. The lawns are small enough for me to maintain; there’s a shed for yard maintenance stuff; there are lots of trees.
There was an article posted by a friend on Facebook about gardening in a “jungle.” I’m hoping I could have a garden even if there is no constant sun in the yard.
Here are some photos I took while the inspector was in the crawl space:
And this is just part of the house. There are also three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The bedroom windows are high, which I appreciate.
I’ve met several of the people on this end of town, and the woman across the street brought me a magnolia flower to welcome me to the ‘hood when I was there, talking with the realtor the other day.
All this, and I refuse to be attached to the house. But I do like it, and if it’s mine, I’ll get it. If not, I’ll keep looking.
If the deal consummates, the closing will be on June 24. I have already identified the men who can do the work and have gotten their estimates for the repairs. It’s a cool house for an old hippie recluse. It has new heat and AC (2-3 years old). But being from Colorado, I’m already shopping for a portable, bedroom-size air conditioner. I like it cold at night.
Till next time, “Please be kind to everyone you meet, for we all have our hidden sorrows.” ~Tzaddi (a.k.a PamYoung)