Sunday, March 12, 2017

Real estate update


Last week, I reached out to the mortgage dept of the bank, to inquire about when the appraisal was going to take place, as I was originally told within the next week, and a week had passed. I had asked the realtor to let me know when it happened. I have been working with the Vp of the bank's mortgage dept, and he replied, "I'll put some heat on them."

My house inspection was last Thursday, as I arrived, the realtor told me that the appraiser would be there later that same afternoon. Guess that is what putting the heat on meant! or it's just a circumstance. We await the report, expected some time this upcoming week.

It was a bit crazy on inspection day as a team of 5 men, each with their own subspecialty, were going through the prospective home. Additionally, one of my contractors was there to put in a bid. Having been married to a former builder, I know a bit about construction, and have had my concerns, but awaited the inspection.

Pests-no sign beyond perhaps some carpenter ants, but CT is known for that. Just watch come Spring. I know from experience that the rains especially bring them out-ick.

Roof-good shape

Furnace-fairly new

well-will need to have the current 30 y.o. well tank replaced with the new technology style, bladder tank. Much more efficient, less strain on the well pump, requires no annual service like the current one. I should get 6 months out of the current tank and either service it or replace it. $1400.

septic-seems ok, dye test was good. If it hadn't been pumped in past 2-3 years, it should be.

plumbing-Master shower leaks into cellar. This is an issue. Per the contractor, it will have to be ripped out, redone. The all white tile in the pink bathroom is a dead giveaway that this was a repair,just badly done.

Additionally, the laundry room appears to actually have been an original storage room with a door to the back yard, sharing a wide concrete slab as a stoop. One can clearly see where the door to enter said room was closed in (vinyl sided home) and a window installed in it's place. The scrub sink is not properly vented. The installation with existing piping is not in code. The laundry machine also has had a "you have no idea what you are doing" type installation. If standing in the back yard, one can see that there is a hooded dryer vent coming out of the cellar, where the laundry would have originally been. Moving it upstairs made sense, however, there are concerns on how it was constructed. Per the contractor, he can't figure out how/if the washer is connected to the septic. If it isn't, the grey water would be exiting the home, near where the well is.

The kitchen sink had leaked (now repaired) for some time. The wood in the cabinet floor below is warped and will need repair. Appears that the original L shaped footprint of the kitchen was maintained (cost savings) as the sink remains under the window, the range under a microwave/fan unit that is exhausted outside *(yes!) using the original, hooded exhaust channel. I have no way of knowing if a dishwasher was original to the home in 1960, the install was not correctly done, the inspector couldn't get it to run.

Mold- on some floor joists down cellar from aforementioned leak

Water tests will come in this week

Radon tests will come in this week

The materials used in the kitchen and laundry are questionable, the work done in the handicapped bathroom is awful, from tile on.  Not overly concerned about the bathroom as it's getting gutted. I am concerned about the laundry grey water, septic records, permits for the laundry-which would have been required, due to the plumbing being added.

I called the health dept to see if they had records and was advised to first go to the accessor's office for the field card, which they would need to look up particulars. The field card showed permits for the deck 2012, well dug deeper 2011, septic repair 2004. Next stop was the building dept, where I put in a FOI request for all permits pulled for that home. If my suspicions are correct, the laundry was not permitted, and from what I can determine, and based on what the contractor is saying, will need to be completely redone.

My nerves made me put a call in to the attorney, who advised me to cancel our appointment on Mon to sign contracts, and to call the realtor. Meanwhile, he would be contacting the seller's attorney. When I called the realtor, I discovered that she was copied on correspondance to the seller's attorney. I told her that there are concerns with the laundry plumbing, whether or not it was permitted work, and that it should be brought up to code. Her reply was that codes from say the '80's when it was put in, may* have changed since today. I advised her that while materials authorized to be used, distance between fixtures changed etc, the code violations found are pretty basic ones that would have been in effect even in 1960. She asked me what I want to do. I told her that I am in the process of doing my homework and know that I have the following options:

-walk away as I am dissatisfied with the inspection
-continue with the purchase and ask for monies credited back at closing to cover the repairs

She replied that it's an estate sale, which has been the buzzword whenever I have inquired about something.

It's a scarce type home to find (location, size of lot, basically 1 level (one level for bed/bath wing, and a step down to living/kit/dining/laundry), that was well built. Whomever did the handyman special work . . .I have to determine just what the situation is on the laundry plumbing. Realtor keeps saying that regardless of what my contractor states, they only go by the inspection report. I did call and speak with the owner of the inspection firm, he told me that the leaking shower will be in the report. When I discussed the laundry, he was kind of fuzzy on that, not sure if there was an inspection, anything found . .I will perhaps have to press him on that and  get him back to view it again.

I have a call in to the septic guy re: the laundry waste pipe. The contractor is recommending that the kitchen and laundry be completely repiped and that is a very $$ bill from him. Yes, I need more eyes on this, more quotes.

So, what to do? The inspections will be in by say mid week, alloting me 3 days to respond to the seller.

I have asked DX to view the property, and he has agreed, we will be there monday morning. I trust his opinion 100%. As I was coordinating times  with the realtor, she reiterated that it's not what I want to have done as in my own upgrades but rather the existing condition of the property, again referencing the inspector's report. I plan on taking photos of the areas of concern and sending them back to the inspector creating the report. I told her that this is understood, and my goal is to discern the installation of the kitchen sink/D/W as well as the sink and washer install in the converted laundry room.



Carol Farley said...

It is unfortunate that these things have been found in the home of your choice. But, if it was me, I would walk away. These are the items you and inspectors can see that are not right therefore, I would be concerned about what might not be so visible. When the realtor keeps telling you it is an 'estate' sale that does not mean it should be in poor condition unless the home is way below market value. It also appears that a lot of money needs to be invested into this home to make the repairs and also upgrade to your liking unless the selling price is so low to make it worthwhile. I would look for a home that has city water and sewer as that is much more reliable. Also, a home that more meets your expectations without having to do major work to make it so. This is just my humble opinion as when things start to get ripped out, who knows what will be found and make the job even more involved and expensive.

Belinda said...

Wow, how disappointing to receive such a report on some major issues. I'm glad your dx is going to view the property. I'd hold off on anything until you see what he has to say.

Meg B. said...

Once all the reports are in, I would cut my asking price considerably. These aren't little issues.

Kathy said...

hmmm is this contractor someone that you have had dealings with before and trust? Glad that your ex will check things out. I would wait to see what he thinks of the laundry room etc.
Good luck!

CTMOM said...

Kathy, no, I've never worked with him before. I need DX to look at the areas of concern and get his opinion, he's a straight shooter, will be honest

NAN said...

Carol, you know best and what homes sell for in your area. To me saying it's an estate sale means the sellers think the price is low enough to merit a quick sale and I would seriously doubt if they are very negotiable. OTOH maybe they will lower the price since you are pre-approved and ready to move in ASAP. Good luck!

Dagmar said...

Which realtor keeps using the phrase, "It's an ESTATE SALE, dear" like that absolves all the issues? If it's the seller's' realtor, that phrase is just a stalling tactic; she's using it in hopes that you will back off and just let issues drop. You don't for one minute sound like the sort of person who will play the doormat, so just keep doing your own homework and either step over or around her.

However, if it's YOUR realtor that keeps parroting those words, I would have a serious come-to-God with her. She is supposed to be in YOUR corner, she is supposed to be all about getting issues resolved to YOUR satisfaction! That's why the concept of a buyer's realtor exists--to negotiate fixes that the seller would much rather call "normal wear and tear" instead of non-permitted, not-to-code, illegal renovations. I would warn her that if she doesn't start advocating for you, you will consider her actions adversarial and that will void your buyer's agent contract with her.

mikemax said...

I think "it's an estate sale" means that you are dealing with a group of heirs that want the least amount of work and the most amount of money...and will be hard to get to agree on anything.

As for being able to walk away, I'm assuming what is meant is that you can get your earnest money back. I think it is only possible based on the wording of the contract and with regard only to items found in the inspection. Wanting out at this point for any other reason probably means forfeiting the earnest money. What a contractor thinks is of no importance. Actually, what your DX thinks is of no importance, except that you know you can trust his judgment.

When we sold our duplex, the buyer came back wanting electrical work done to bring it up to current code. This wasn't in the original deal and he wouldn't have been able to walk, even though this was in the inspection. However, we caved because it amounted to less than $1,000 and we were right at closing. It wasn't worth it to us to start over--we wanted OUT. I was plenty mad about it and my realtor knew it. In your case, if there are backup offers and the owners can keep the earnest money, I wouldn't bet on their willingness to anything. The ability to actually walk away and get your earnest money back is actually very narrow.

Now if you want to know what I think: the contractor is looking for work. If you had a 5-person inspection team, you should be able to trust them. Plus, you've got the advantage of a DX who can tell you straight what needs to be done and what doesn't. From what you've written, this seems to be a solid house where most of the work was done with building permits.

CTMOM said...

Max, you make some good points. I agree that the estate, whatever/whomever that is comprized of, simply wants to unload the home and finish with probate. I get that. I offered list price, 20% down and a 30 day closing. Others couldn't do that, so they picked me (according to the realtor, so consider the source). The contractor's bid was to include everything (even down the road projects) to give me a sense of what I am looking at. I have second contractor lined up (with another snow storm on it's way so I literally just messaged him, asking if he wants to come over Mon instead of the originally scheduled day so as to avoid rescheduling again. He has some medical stuff later this week, and will be down for a few days). My understanding is that i would be able to get my earnest money back, as for example, the master shower leaks and needs to be redone, the mold down cellar on the floorboards treated. The attorney worded it that the buyer is not yet satisfied with the inspection, and seeks the permits for the bathroom/laundry/kitchen. Response back was, "This is an estate sale, they know nothing." -I've heard that simply too many times!So O am doing my due dilegance in uncovering what hopefully isn't a can of worms. I also need the actual report, including tests whose results won't come in until later this upcoming week. I need the appraisal from the back as well. The purpose of having my ex look at the plumbing is that I trust his judgement and he'd tell me honestly what needs to be done and ballpark the figure. To be clear: the original home was well built. Of questionable quality is the kitchen, handicapped hall bath, master shower redo, laundry plumbing and possible greywater disposal out into the yard/not tied into the septic. I honestly would like to go thru with the sale, once I get the ex's opinion, as I've been watching the city real estate here for almost 5 years. It's rare to get a ranch (plenty of RR), on a smaller lot, great area, still in the ADA bus service for DS. I see lot's of potential. I just need to ensure that I am not getting in over my head. I hate the stress. I expect to resolve this with in the week.

Carol Farley said...

I also hope that you get this house on your terms and without any additional problems. It appears to fit your needs as to size, transportation options, etc. But, I do not like the idea of you being told that it is an estate sale. Yes, it is and the executor needs to sell the home to settle but that does not mean that anything that is not correct can be allowed to slide by. I presume it is not being sold, 'as is.' If that is the case then be very careful. But, estate sales happen all the time and does not mean that the property is in disrepair. Good luck and keep your options open.

CTMOM said...

Carol Farley, nothing in the listing states "as is" or estate sale-that is just the realtor.

Carol Farley said...

Oh, so the realtor is just letting you know that it is an estate sale. Maybe, she or he thinks the seller is very eager to sell so you might over look things. Again, be cautious with all that needs to be checked out and repaired or brought up to code which I am sure you are and will be. Good luck and hopefully all will go well and if not, another home will come up to suit your needs.

ct legal eagle said...

I would ask for a reduction on the sales price. If you put repairs in, you may trigger the bank to ask for another inspection before closing. With inventory low and ranches pretty hard to find this might be a good tony-q get the deal done, especially before interest rates are headed up. If you need another quote or inspector, I love my guy Wilbur at CT house

Anne in the kitchen said...

We have sold and bought houses and always had wiggle room for a lesser price to compensate for major repairs. If it is indeed an estate sale it has been my observation that most people just want to get things probated and move on. Wishing you the best!