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Thread: House Hunting Horrors

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
    Mar 2005
    In a 480 square foot ex baseball nacho stand

    House Hunting Horrors

    Ms. P and I went and looked at a house for sale this weekend. It was built in 1944 and the real estate agent, who is actually a friend of ours, told us it was a little rough but had good bones and be a good remodel project. Got there and the roof needed to be replaces in a couple years but there wasn’t any sagging. We go into the front living room and dining room and they are in good shape, the kitchen needs new floor, countertops and appliances, but overall not bad and you can see past the paint. First bedroom was in decent shape, just bad wall paper. Den had neat knotty pine and the double garage had its doors removed, but could easily have those replaced.

    Now the fun part, the first bathroom we look in has a layer of mold along the edge of the shower/tub combo and on the ceiling. Floor tile was crack in several places and had the pink ceramic tub, toilet and sink (okay that’s a gut job). The second bedroom was enlarged to incorporate the former back porch and that bean was sagging and in another corner of the room an area about four feet by five feet in the ceiling was falling in (later examination was a leak around a vent pipe on the roof).

    Upstairs had two bedrooms and one bath, but again the bathroom as a repeat of the one below. We could look past the old carpet and dark paint, but wasn’t sure about the plumbing and roof leaks.

    Next we went down to the basement and there was an area for a washer/dryer, be there again musty and mold around. Walked through narrow passage way and came to this large basement area about 24 by 30 with the walls painted bright red and bricks on the floor. It had a few velvet paintings on the walls with some interesting man/women poses, a commercial style ashtray mounted on the wall and a broken down waterbed. It had a floor drain around the perimeter and was damp and musty. It was quickly dubbed the “love shack” but Ms. P said it could have easily been for s&m fans.

    Outside had a large aboveground pool with water that was a nice algae green color and a deck that wrapped around it.

    We were the first people to see the house; our agent friend said we would be the last until they got serious a cleaned for starters. On our way home we thought if this would have been on one of those HGTV shows House Hunter or How Much is it Worth it would be high unintentional comedy.

    Have any of you had an “interesting” house looking experience?
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Mar 2004
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    When I was looking for a house I came across one with my agent that had a live alligator in a kiddie pool in one of the bedrooms. No need to see the rest of the house, we got out of there!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
    Mar 2004
    Appleton, Wisconsin
    Built in 1944? At the height of World War II and its related severe restrictions on ANYTHING available for sale to the civilian market? I would check that built date again, too.


  4. #4
    Cyburbian ruralplanner's avatar
    Jul 2007
    Rural Midwest
    The house we bought did not get interesting until AFTER we bought it. After looking for two years, our realtor said that she found us, as she called it, “a funky house”. We took a look at it a few days later, at night and were told that if we wanted it we needed to buy it on the spot (this was a high-demand area and the price was right). We had a quick look around on all three floors (yes ! three) and checked out the two fire places. We noted that it had two bathrooms but the sinks were in the hallways. We also noted that there were not rooms. The only doors led to two cubbies with a toilet and shower in each. Well, it wasn’t perfect, but it was a REAL passive solar design and it was funky. We bought it that night.

    A month or so later at the closing, the owner informed us, just as we were signing our lives away, that there was a mobile home out back and someone was living in it. Imagine our surprise when we found out the house and land we were buying had a squatter! But we went ahead, knowing that we wanted it and my wife would be the bad guy to remove the squatter somehow.

    Come move in day, our squatter was still there. Things got a bit nasty but he finally removed his rig and later his outhouse. He did leave us a nice 55-gallon drum that was buried below the outhouse, which was full of you know what. He was however nice enough to put a cover over it so we did not fall in.

    Our first few months were a real surprise. Every time it rained, Mrs. ruralplanner would call me at work in tears with a 5-gallon pail inside collecting water dripping through the ceiling—on the first floor! We soon learned the importance of roof eaves and gutters—there were none.

    Fast forward a few years. We needed to reside the house and were all set to spend $30,000 to reside in cedar. But wait, there was more. Our contractor took a look in the attic and noted that the roof sheeting was covered in mold and rotted. Apparently from condensation and in adequate roof ventilation. So we scrapped the siding job after months of research and had a new roof installed with eaves and gutters. It was one of those jobs where the more they got into the job the worse it got. Our entire south wall-- three stories high was rotted out, studs and was filled with carpenter ants. Our 3rd floor screen porch needed to be rebuilt. A second floor balcony leaked into the house. And the siding was shot. For awhile we contemplated on tearing the house down and starting over but in the end decided against it and fixed what we had to keep the house standing. So $35,000 later we have a habitable house, once again with rotting siding and windows that need replacing. I’ll never forget waking up one morning seeing the sky—in my bedroom—when they had the roof completely removed.

    While this thread is about the looking experience, it is something we should have done before buying. My advice is if you see water damage and lots of it and mold run far—very far. It would be interesting to see our house featured on one the of HGTV shows. After the work we had done, it’s a palace for us but would likely be laughable for anyone looking at it to buy. Never mind that you can still poke your finger through the siding. If I can figure it out, I may post a picture of the house.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
    Mar 2006
    Machesney Park, IL
    In the city I work in, several months ago, a realtor was showing a young couple a house, and they found the homeowner, dead in her bed. They ran out, and who do you think the first person was that the realtor called? 911? Nope... she called the listing agent to complain.

    Coroner figured she'd been dead for a couple of weeks. If your realtor isn't in touch with you for over 2 weeks, what the heck are they getting paid for?! The realtor said she tried to get a hold of the homeowner, to tell her about the showing, but she didn't answer her phone, and she didn't think anything of it.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
    Mar 2005
    Clayobyrne, CB
    My wife and I looked at over 100 houese when we moved down here, before settling on our current home. Many of the ones we looked at were supposed "rehabs" that were nothing more than former crack houses with new paint, refinished floors and new outlet covers. One house we toured had dead roaches all over the kitchen floor in front of a refrigerator full of rotting food. I think the owner had just died.

    The house we bought was the home of a crackhead who drank and smoked himself to death. I am in the process of redoing the back yard and have found crack pipes, little heroin baggies and assorted other trash buried in the dirt. One of our conditions of purchase was that they remove an abandoned pick-up truck and a rusted dog pen in the forest behind the house (back yard). They had money to renovate the interior, but ran out before commencing any landscaping. It has been fun. Really.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
    Mar 2003
    "Somewhere in the middle"
    Well I certainly can't top dead homeowner. I think that has to take the cake.

    We have bought any number of interesting houses. I bought an old victorian cottage for $10,000. It had a lovely room that had outside cedar shingles on the walls and red shag carpet. We hauled so much of it to the dump, I wondered if we had really bought a house. It turned out really well and we made $10,000 over remodel cost. I would have stayed there longer but it was one of those bad neighbor houses. The people across the street played their music so loud that it would shake the things off a shelf in my bathroom on the back of my house.

    Speaking of that, has anybody been to the website www.rottenneighbor.com?
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  8. #8
    Jun 2005
    My uncle's body was discovered by a realtor showing his house.

  9. #9
    Feb 2007
    just back from a massive dog fight session
    I don't want to be accused of gloating or anything...but of the 3 houses I've looked at I'm about to buy the second. I couldn't even imagine looking round 100+

    Victorian 2-bed back-to-back terrace...£105k

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