Well well well… Things took an interesting turn in our general home inspection yesterday afternoon. Here’s a recap…
I keep musing over the fact that the seller left a note for us on the dining room table, with the basement key… It said, “BASEMENT KEY — ENJOY! [NAME], HOMEOWNER :-)”
When I first saw it, my cynical inner monologue immediately went to, “Yeah, I’ll enjoy hearing about all the shit you didn’t take care of down there, that I have to go fix now, AFTER I drain my life savings. SMILEY FACE.”
But by the end of the inspection, we were indeed smiling. Took a while, but we got there.
Our inspector’s name was John. He was possibly British, possibly Australian, couldn’t tell… A tall, handsome, and fit older gentleman with a very slight accent of some sort. He looked like an experienced home inspector, and was slightly funny and sarcastic about it all. He cut to the chase and made everything seem like not a very big deal: “Well what you do is ya just…” “And then somebody probably had the brilliant idea to…” “I’ll tell ya one thing you can do; it’s illegal in California, but it’s definitely legal in Florida ‘cause you know California over-regulates everything; I know where you can buy it…” “You know, I’m telling you to do it this way, but as a homeowner you can really do whatever you want…” *wink*
At one point, standing in front of the electrical panel and listening to a litany of recommended upgrades, I think I must have started to sway under the enormity of it all. Trent started to laugh a little, and Inspector John turned to me and waved his tape measure and said, “Hey, you know, I’ve seen this a hundred times. Hundred year old house! No big deal.” And then he turned on his heel and marched into the bushes, tape measure in the air.
The list was as long and as bad as we expected. That half of the roof definitely does need to go, this piece of wiring should be corrected, that siding there needs to be replaced, the furnace needs servicing (“I’m not even sure I’ve ever seen a furnace model like that; gonna look it up in my encyclopedia of furnaces!”), the subfloor probably needs to be inspected here, this duct should be re-routed… Blah blah blah yada yada yada. I kept grabbing my calculator and subtracting off our reserve maintenance budget, crunching numbers and grasping at reassurance that we could afford to do as much as we’d hoped off the bat.
It wasn’t looking too good. Until Inspector John disappeared into the basement. For about 45 minutes.
That was a very long 45 minutes. Especially because our original disclosures from the seller contained a $10,000 estimate to replace the front half of the foundation. According to the estimate, our dream house’s foundation is “cracked, rotated, and no longer serviceable.”
And the house is on a hill. And the bedrooms are on the lower level. Soo…
We earmarked $10,000 in our budget and made the bad foundation Issue #1 on our list of Issues To Address. Pronto.
“There’s nothing wrong with that foundation!” Inspector John said when he re-emerged upstairs.
Flabbergasted, we all followed him into the basement, and inspected all the walls together. And yep — the foundation appeared to be practically new. New concrete, no cracking. A new wall had even been added outside the house at ground level to protect moisture from infiltrating the basement, should the house settle below the hill grade. He assured us that for an old house, the foundation was in good shape. Nothing needed to be done to it.
We were all totally confounded. WHO’S $10,000 bad foundation was that in the disclosure estimate, then?
Was this the greatest home inspection coup ever?
How could the sellers possibly mistakenly allow that into their disclosure packet? We very well might have given them more for the house, if we hadn’t thought it needed 10k in foundation work (although, after hearing all the myriad other old-house-BS it comes with, we’re certainly not sorry we bargained them down).
We checked the address on the estimate — nope, it was for this house. All we could conclude was that whoever that foundation guy was, he must have looked at a lot of foundations that day, and submitted the wrong report under the wrong address.
So, in the end, the basement key definitely did lead to some smiles. As long as it all holds true — and we’re not making any easy assumptions. We’re in the process of tracking down the original phantom estimator. And after THAT, we will happily take our extra 10k and fix that half of the roof, correct that wiring, replace that siding, service that furnace, re-rout that duct… Blah blah blah yada yada yada…
Seven more days of the inspection contingency left to go.
(a few more of our own shots of the nooks and crannies of our cranky new-old abode…)