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1/22/2020 12:12:56 PM
Posted: 1/16/2015 2:36:37 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/16/2015 2:41:03 PM EST by AZJeff]
The thread about previous homeowners that is running now got me to thinking about stories related to buying used homes, and the unexpected results. Here is mine, for what it's worth:

Two houses back, my wife and I bought what was a very nice looking home in rural N. Illinois from a couple who ran a real estate appraisal business out of the semi-finished walk-out basement. They turned out to be terminally weird, cheap-ass liars.

Examples:
1. Closing was in January with snowfall. In the spring, after snow melt, our very nice new neighbors informed us that our driveway was partially across his lot line. He wasn't worried about it, but my wife and I were concerned for future potential issues. So....we paid to have the driveway moved (gravel, fortunately). Both the seller and the surveyor feigned ignorance to this fact.

2. Our first fall in the house (10months after possession), many of the windows start leaking during rains. We find out the attic is full of replacement window gaskets, and our nice neighbors (of driveway fame) tell us the former owner had a running battle with the window maker over leaky windows. We called the former owner to inquire about the window maker's history with him, and he denied ever having an issue. We had to take out a second mortgage to replace all the windows

3. I decided to upgrade all the woodwork and interior doors from the original crappy dark luan paneled stuff from back in the 1970s'. When ripping them out, I found the original small independent builder's name written on the inside of door frames. This prompted some investigation, and I found out the bulider lost the house while in construction to the bank in the housing crash of '79, and the wonderful previous owner bought the house from the bank half-finished. He then proceeded to complete the half-finshed house in half assed ways, including the following:

After being in the house for a few years, and never having a good balance of upstair air temperatures versus downstairs, we had an HVAC guy come look at the furnace/central AC. After examining it, he asked us: "In what year did you say this house was built?" We reply between 1979 and 1981 and ask why. His reply: "The furnace was manufactured in 1972, and is much larger than needed for this size home and so never runs efficiently." I can only assume he bought the furnace on the cheap and slapped it into the house without worrying about whether it was suitable for the job. So....we replaced the furnace.

I could go on with many other stories, but suffice to say these former owners were memorable.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:39:50 PM EST
And this is why a competent inspector is worth their weight in gold
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:41:31 PM EST
Former owner (married) had an affair with the neighbor (married) across the street. For some reason (sarcasm) it ended with a divorce and they left the house for the bank to deal with. After he left he told his family that lived a couple streets over that they could strip it of all the nice stuff (fixtures, hottub, closet shelving, etc...). It then sat for 4 years.

Wife found it, got a good deal on it and we fixed it up. I never had to fill so many damn holes in all the closets from where they just ripped the racks and shelving all out.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:46:00 PM EST
Furnace was something the builder probably found a good deal on back in the day. So, the house still could have been built in 1979.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:48:36 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By bjohnson425:
And this is why a competent inspector is worth their weight in gold
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Let me tell you about that: We hired an inspector. He went through the whole house (November), and found no major issues, at least none of the ones I mentioned in my first post.

For example: when the inspector opened the windows to inspect them, I watched him. Oddly enough, tevery window he selected to be opened all turned out to NOT be leakers. In some cases, had he even opened the second size of a pair of casements, he would have seen the leakage damage. But for whatever reason, he never did. In retrospect, it's almost like the inspector KNEW which windows to open.

I suspect that, since the owner was a real estate appraiser, he might have known the appraiser (small town environment), and may have already "primed" him. I cannot prove it, but it seems odd that NO window the inpector opened (and it was not all of them), showed any signs of water damage, especially since over 1/2 of the windows on the second floor wound up being leakers.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:52:47 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/16/2015 2:55:47 PM EST by Tbr1806]
If you can prove the previous owner did all of this work you MAY have some legal ground to stand on, I'm not sure about where you live but in CT you must sign a legal document stating that you have disclosed all issues with the home and you are hiding NOTHING, you also sign one that states all work that has been done on the property has has been completed by a licensed contractor and the proper permits/inspections have been completed for any work done to the home.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:55:50 PM EST
We're still in our first house. Built about '57. We're the 2nd owners. No surprises, inexpensive, and all that was needed for us to move in was to buy a fridge, and replace all the outlets with grounded ones. No inspection, either. It's a ranch, we could see everything inside and out.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:56:09 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/16/2015 2:58:11 PM EST by djkest]
We bought a house that was only 2 years old and still had issues. Here's what we had to do to get the house to "like new" condition:
Replace 2 ceiling fans that were broken.
Replace all the kitchen appliances that had been wrecked/ruined.
Patch and repaint all the walls in the house. Seriously, all the walls.
Replace all the carpet (we couldn't afford to do all the carpet, we just did the living room so far.
Replace the master bedroom door, which had been battered and splintered.

All that to save just a little bit of money. Not really worth it imo.

One of the weirdest things I found was a large pair of dirty panties that was stashed up in the ceiling in the basement, in a place you wouldn't normally look.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:58:50 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By djkest:
We bought a house that was only 2 years old and still had issues. Here's what we had to do to get the house to "like new" condition:
Replace 2 ceiling fans that were broken.
Replace all the kitchen appliances that had been wrecked/ruined.
Patch and repaint all the walls in the house. Seriously, all the walls.
Replace all the carpet (we couldn't afford to do all the carpet, we just did the living room so far.
Replace the master bedroom door, which had been battered and splintered.

All that to save just a little bit of money. Not really worth it imo.

One of the weirdest things I found was a large pair of dirty panties that was stashed up in the ceiling in the basement, in a place you wouldn't normally look.
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sounds like you bought a foreclosed house
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 3:34:37 PM EST
Pics of large, dirty panties?
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 3:37:07 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Tbr1806:


sounds like you bought a foreclosed house
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Tbr1806:
Originally Posted By djkest:
We bought a house that was only 2 years old and still had issues. Here's what we had to do to get the house to "like new" condition:
Replace 2 ceiling fans that were broken.
Replace all the kitchen appliances that had been wrecked/ruined.
Patch and repaint all the walls in the house. Seriously, all the walls.
Replace all the carpet (we couldn't afford to do all the carpet, we just did the living room so far.
Replace the master bedroom door, which had been battered and splintered.

All that to save just a little bit of money. Not really worth it imo.

One of the weirdest things I found was a large pair of dirty panties that was stashed up in the ceiling in the basement, in a place you wouldn't normally look.


sounds like you bought a foreclosed house


It was a foreclosure actually. We saved about $10k over non foreclosure houses of the same floorplan. We should have bargained harder.

I forgot to mention, when we replaced the living room carpet, we found massive urine stains from the dog that he owned. It had soaked through the carpet and pad and into the subfloor. So we cleaned and scraped the subfloor and painted over the urine stains with Kilz.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 4:06:03 PM EST
We have always bought used homes.

Home 1 : owned by a crazy woman. She had the roof replaced before she sold it, kept the insurance check. The contractor tried to put a lien on the house. First and only time I had to use title insurance. She was threatened with insurance fraud and jail time if she didn't pay the roofers.

Home 2: owned by a morbidly obese couple. The tank bolts in the master bath toilet were bent as if they were reclining on the jon while dropping a deuce. Poorly built home. I replaced a window only to fin out that the siding was pressboard, no exterior sheathing or housewrap used. Instead, it was sheathed with foil faced cardboard (yes, cardboard). R13 insulation in the wall cavities which was sagging because it wasn't stapled in, and no vapor barrier. I hated that house and was glad to have sold it.

Home 3: built in 1971. A tropical depression rolled through (in VA) a couple days after we moved in. Water all over the lower level. I traced the leak back to a corroded oil furnace chimney (triple walled pipe) on the roof. When I opened up the wall to access the void where the chiney ran, it was full of black mold. Replaced the chimney, repaired the roof, leak gone. We gutted the lower level down to the studs. Ended up replacing all of the electrical, plumbing and HVAC. New drywall, hardwood floors and tile throughout. We then redid the exterior. The home was 80% brick, so that wasn't that bad. New AC, furnance, water heater. New kitchen and bathrooms (the avocado green toilets and bath tubs were more than I could bear). New roof went on last. The home was like new when we were finished and built right. It was my favorite home,probably because I did all the work myself, but also because we were on 2 wooded acres in rural VA.

Home 4: Our current home is the newest we have owned. It was built by a construction contractor owner and lived in by his family. It won the best in show for the parade of homes in the year it was built. It has been perfect in nearly every way except for the carpet in the mast bath. I asked him why he would put so much effort in the details of the home only to cheap out there. He said his wife insisted because she hates the feel of tile underfoot. Fortunately, I am good at laying tile.

As others have mentioned, some people do some whacked out stuff with homes. All but home 4 was that way. I must admit there was a certain level of satisfaction putting things back right, but I have greatly enjoyed just living worry free in our current home without any projects. That has given me time to pursue other projects like building a shed, landscape, gardens, and this year - a pole barn.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 7:39:40 PM EST
I've always bought older homes. There's no comparison when it comes to build quality. I understand that's it's nice to walk into a new home that does need any work. But vinyl siding, MDF trim and hollow core doors aren't for me.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 7:49:33 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By m289271:
I've always bought older homes. There's no comparison when it comes to build quality. I understand that's it's nice to walk into a new home that does need any work. But vinyl siding, MDF trim and hollow core doors aren't for me.
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This
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 8:43:58 PM EST
They burn down a hell of a lot faster too.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 8:59:21 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/17/2015 12:23:42 AM EST by Fella]
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Originally Posted By bjohnson425:
And this is why a competent inspector is worth their weight in gold
View Quote


Part of that is incompetence in the purchasing process. Things that should have been easily found during inspection and survey. The rest is just common house stuff.

House built 30 years ago has an improperly balanced, half assed hvac system? You dont fuckin say.

Its a rare treat that i see an old house that doesnt have a fucked up hvac system, extension cords in the walls, leaky windows or other problems. They are so common i dont even consider them problems anymore when i see them.

Im remodeling my childhood home right now that was built in '28. I tore into one wall and found they had stacked a bunch of rocks up above a stud to get some more support for the second story???? Guess they ran out of wood and had to use rocks the last 6 inches.

A lot of studs, probably 30, were done with 1x4s that were painted floral colors so i assume they were from some picnic tables or something they salvaged.

I didnt bat an eye when i saw that. Nothing surprises me anymore.

Link Posted: 1/17/2015 5:05:22 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Fella:


Part of that is incompetence in the purchasing process. Things that should have been easily found during inspection and survey. The rest is just common house stuff.

House built 30 years ago has an improperly balanced, half assed hvac system? You dont fuckin say.

Its a rare treat that i see an old house that doesnt have a fucked up hvac system, extension cords in the walls, leaky windows or other problems. They are so common i dont even consider them problems anymore when i see them.

Im remodeling my childhood home right now that was built in '28. I tore into one wall and found they had stacked a bunch of rocks up above a stud to get some more support for the second story???? Guess they ran out of wood and had to use rocks the last 6 inches.

A lot of studs, probably 30, were done with 1x4s that were painted floral colors so i assume they were from some picnic tables or something they salvaged.

I didnt bat an eye when i saw that. Nothing surprises me anymore.

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Originally Posted By Fella:
Originally Posted By bjohnson425:
And this is why a competent inspector is worth their weight in gold


Part of that is incompetence in the purchasing process. Things that should have been easily found during inspection and survey. The rest is just common house stuff.

House built 30 years ago has an improperly balanced, half assed hvac system? You dont fuckin say.

Its a rare treat that i see an old house that doesnt have a fucked up hvac system, extension cords in the walls, leaky windows or other problems. They are so common i dont even consider them problems anymore when i see them.

Im remodeling my childhood home right now that was built in '28. I tore into one wall and found they had stacked a bunch of rocks up above a stud to get some more support for the second story???? Guess they ran out of wood and had to use rocks the last 6 inches.

A lot of studs, probably 30, were done with 1x4s that were painted floral colors so i assume they were from some picnic tables or something they salvaged.

I didnt bat an eye when i saw that. Nothing surprises me anymore.





WOW.

I was out of work for 6 mos. after 9/11, doing construction to make ends meet.

We were demo'ing a house my buddy bought for cheap in up in Westchester, the walls were stuffed with newspapers from the 50's and tons of old clothing and bed-sheets instead of insulation.

Talk about a fire hazard.
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