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Monday, June 2, 2008

Mis-adventures in house buying

I’ve learned a lot during the purchase of our new home. There are things we would have done differently if we had known.

The looking for a house was bad enough. Who writes those listing descriptions anyway?? I have discovered that:
“view” = if you squint hard enough in a certain direction you might see it,
“get away from it all” = you’re out in the sticks,
“close knit neighborhood” = micro yards
“cute” = tiny,
“unique floor plan” = weird floor plan
“handy man special” = you are going to doing a lot of fix-ups,
“needs work” = neglected property,
“needs TLC” = it’s a dump.

We naively thought that when you made such a huge purchase that the sellers would have to do certain things…like make sure they had a clear title to sell the house, have a survey to show exactly what they were selling and have a home inspection to prove that there were no hidden dangers. But that is not the case. We have found out that it’s the buyers’ responsibility to make sure the sellers are honest in all areas!

If I could do it over again, I would:

# Require 15 BUSINESS days (or at least 10 business days because inspectors don’t work on weekends!) after the first offer (earnest money down) to have all needed inspections done so you know you are getting a house worth what you’ve offered. Our various inspections were so rushed (mainly the sellers realtor’s doing) that they really were not useful for true negotiations.

# Have these items as part of the inspection process: basic home inspection, waste water disposal system is adequate for the house size (an official document), termite inspection, and if needed inspections of chimney, septic tank, etc.

# Have done as needed: chimney swept, septic tank emptied, etc.

# Stipulation that seller remove ALL personal property AND garbage before closing. (You don’t want to know what a battle that was for us. They didn’t even clean out the refrigerator – and had moved out at least a month earlier, leaving behind eggs, meat and other stuff. YUCK! Can you say “biohazard”?)

# If drapes, etc are included in the MLS – have the seller make an inventory list. Our LR has two huge windows (not to mention the other windows in the house) and the MLS listed “drapes”. What we got was 2 rods and ONE set of curtains & sheers-- which they left thrown in the floor when we insisted they be produced.

# That all fauna move with the sellers! We got stuck with fish. Anyone want some free fish??
This is how they left our "drapes".

4 or 5 week old abandoned fridge food. Yucky!
Sorry, but garbage wasn't on the MLS!!

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