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We're embarking on a home building expedition, and here's what we have to say about it!

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Home Inspection

Today, we completed yet another step in the home buying process. Each step closer to the close date makes me think that this is actually going to happen. However, it's not without some doubt and what will end up being some tough negotiation.

We knew this house was going to need a lot of cosmetic work and some structural work. We found a little more than we thought today, and will have to have Old Friend the seller do some work that we know he is not going to want to do.

The good news is that Inspector R told us that structurally, the house is in good shape. There are no major faults, cracks, molds, crumbles, or anything like that. But...we have quite the list of things that need to be done either before or immediately after we move in.

We started by walking the yard, and he told us about the paint job that needs to be done (which we knew, and Old Friend is supposed to be doing that for us), some places where the bushes are too overgrown and brushing up against the house which can cause mold, and how old and heavy the garage doors are. All do-able projects. Nothing that was totally urgent, and all things we had thought about anyway.

We did run into a slight issue with the exterior paint though. Old Friend told us he'd repaint the outside because he knew it needed to be done. Great! It's in our offer (which he accepted) that the 4 window sashes that he knew needed to be fixed will be fixed, the exterior will be painted and the roof will be done. The roof is done, and he picked architectural shingles that have a life of about 30 years. Awesome. But...he's now arguing the painting. He's saying that because we are changing the color, it needs 2 coats and he only wants to pay for one. What?? He said he'd pay for the first coat and we could pay for the second. No way. Sorry Old Friend, but you accepted the written offer that just said "paint exterior", it didn't stipulate a price or how many coats, or whether or not it would need to be scraped and power washed (which it will according to Inspector R). Margot the Agent will argue that for us. We're not paying for something he already agreed to.

Inspector R also found out that one of our big picture windows in the living room is totally erroded and he was actually afraid that if he opened the window, the glass would slide right out and crash down on the lawn below. Yikes. That wasn't one of Old Friend's 4 windows that he agreed to, but it's so bad that Inspector R is listing it as 'defective' which means Old Friend is going to have to replace it himself.

We found out that the AC unit needs to be serviced, there's a leak. It's not too bad, and probably only leaks when it's really humid, but come on. It's New England. It's humid all the time. That's just a service call, so we don't think that will be a problem.

Inspector R then found some water marks on the ceiling in the first floor that are below the main bathroom. But, they are dry, so he thinks it was nothing more than an overflow bath or something. He suggested we take a look under the floor, but he really thought it was just a mark and we could probably paint over it.

But...in the master bathroom...the toilet was loose! It was just moving around the bathroom. And the grout and tiles from the shower are seriously old and moldy. We were planning on re-doing the bathrooms anyway, so we might just tell Old Friend that we'll re-do the master bath, if he takes care of the big picture window and servicing the AC (and painting like he already said he would!).

That way we can just totally re-do the bathroom right away and it's all ours. No need for him to come in and re-do part of it however he wants it done and have us rip it up sometime next year.

There were a lot of little things, but all stuff we can do. It's REALLY dirty, the walls are full of scrapes and scuffs, the tile is old and ugly and there is stuff EVERYWHERE. But, we'll get a cleaning service when we move in, we're planning on re-doing the floors and carpets immediately, we'll paint right away, and it's on Old Friend to get the crap out of there! :)

We still really like it, it's nice and open and has a ton of potential. Aside from the few things Inspector R found, he was pretty satisfied with it and felt good telling us it was a structurally sound place. He mentioned it needed some love, but we knew that. He also did mention that Old Friend had a gas insert installed in the fireplace, but he's pretty sure it was done with no permit because he said it didn't look like it was done right. So we have to call the town hall and see if there was ever a permit for that and if not, we might have to have Old Friend get that fixed to. If there was, it was just done poorly and that will need to be fixed in time. It's working, and won't blow up or anything, but it just could have been done a lot better!

We should get the report from Inspector R tonight and have until Friday to write up our list of 'demands'. We hope that either we'll get everything done, or we'll negotiate and take on some things ourselves (like the master bathroom) but drop the overall price a little. We'll see!

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