Tag Archives: First Time Home Buyer Panic

Home Buying for Morons, Part III: The Good, The Bad and the So Very Ugly

Money Pit House
Step right up and place your bets. Come on people, who wants to gamble that this house isn’t a wreck? Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/ddpavumba

Is there anything more disappointing than finding out the house you wanted to buy was a trap set for the unwary and uninformed buyer? Maybe discovering the day of your wedding that your dress doesn’t fit because you didn’t lose that ten pounds you expected, but other than that, a home inspection is probably one of the more shocking experiences you will have in your lifetime.*

As many of you know,** I recently made an offer on what I thought was a nice little house in a lovely neighborhood. I was half right. The first time I saw the house, I immediately put in a bid because every other house in the area disappeared before I could blink. (You’d get whiplash watching the buyer’s dropping off their earnest money.) So, I thought, this is how it’s done. You see a house, you make a bid and then you pay someone to tell you what a colossal idiot you are. (Cue the Inspector! Duh duh DUH!)

Actually, I had an excellent recommendation for a person who does home inspections. I highly recommend him. Todd Moelker in the Hudsonville, MI area. Nice guy, not afraid to climb up and brush three feet of snow off an icy roof to try and tell you whether it will cave in on you. The only bad thing about the inspection was the news he had to give.

The roof (what he could see of it) looked okay. But the rest of the house? If you have seen the movie The Money Pit with Tom Hanks and not Meg Ryan, then you have some idea of what level of decrepitude is possible.

The entire time Todd is walking me through the hoped-for home of my dreams, he is cataloguing the problems. Windows are ‘new install’ which is apparently a bad thing in an old house—especially when they are poorly installed. The floor in the kitchen with cracks radiating throughout the tile doesn’t signify a bowling enthusiast with dropsy, but rather that the installation was done improperly. The furnace is not only old, but is running hot because the temperature gauge is broken…and it is leaking through the corrosion in the pipes that he can find no cause for. The stains around the ceiling are layers of dust that collected in areas with little to no insulation. He might have mentioned something about a gas leak, a wiring issue, a massive foundation crack, the fact that said foundation may or may not be sliding into a sink hole and a toilet in danger of falling through the floor, I’m not sure, I was busy trying to get out of my contract and wasn’t paying strict attention.

Tools for House
The problem with buying a fixer upper is that I have only ever managed to use a hammer to put holes in the plaster while trying to hang things. FreeDigitalImages.Net/kookkai_nak

So what did I get for my $400.00 inspection? The peace of mind that comes from knowing this isn’t the house you are looking for, move along.*** Oh, and I have a new standard for home purchases: if there is a dead mouse in the fuse box…walk away…just… walk away.

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnote:

*Hyperbole alert—the above statement may be an exaggeration of facts not in evidence. In other words, I made it up.

**The two followers of this blog who are not spammers.

***Horribly misquoted Star Wars Reference. Don’t hate me.

Houdini Housing Crisis – Finding a Home in the Special Needs Market

Barbie Dream House Fortress…moat and guard tower sold separately.

House - Castle
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/DebSpoons

I am trying to imagine the conversation I will have with my realtor:

Me: (Ring, ring – Because that’s how imaginary phones sound.) Hello? Hi, I need a home and this (insert laughably small sum here $XX,XXX) is what I can afford.

Realtor: Really? Is there no wiggle room on that dollar amount?

Me: Only if the budget wriggles lower.

Realtor: Okay. Well, what are you looking for?

Me: That’s the tricky part. I need a house with ultra-secure doors—preferably solid wood with no glass. And NO sliding glass doors exiting the house or accordion doors on the closets, thank you very much. No in-sink food disposal units. No ceiling fans. No carpets. An unscalable, securely fenced-in backyard. A lockable basement where the furnace is secured. No Jacuzzi tubs. No decks with a drop greater than three feet. No pools or water hazards in the immediate vicinity. Near public transit and a library if possible.

Realtor: (Stunned silence.)

Me: Oh, and if there is a bedroom with padded walls and no windows, that would be nice. …Hello?   Helloooo? Dang it.

Why do I have such a strange list? Because I am a Special Needs Homeowner. I gave birth to a darling boy…who is apparently a cross between Harry Houdini and Wile E. Coyote. If he’s not trying to break out of his prison, he’s likely trying to blow it up. I don’t need a house, I need Fort Knox…on a budget. What realtor wouldn’t jump at the chance to represent me?

So if anyone out there is wondering why I have dropped off the Blogosphere radar, I am trying to achieve the impossible: luring a reluctant realtor with the promise of good Karma and abundant gratitude. Failing that, I’m sure ACME Company will have a trap I could order. Meep Meep.

Image ‘borrowed’ from monthlybrand.com.

Stay tuned for the next installment of “House Hunting for Autistics”.