Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Our House Saga: The whole story, part 3

Before settling on a price or signing any paperwork, it is necessary to have an inspection of the property. My guess is that smart/experienced people pay for their own inspector, or at least someone not affiliated with either the house or either of the agents involved. We, of course, did not, and took Fendy's recommendation of "her inspector." In retrospect one can see why this is a serious problem, but we assumed that anyone worth his/her license would be honest in an inspection. Duhhhh--why would anyone assume that, given that the inspector only gets paid when the house gets sold, or worse, is on retainer with the agent, since his/her fee is covered by the agent? Oops, yet again.
Our inspector found all of the flaws detailed in the last post, but his take was that "these were no big deal" or "these can be fixed easily" or "this should be taken care of by the seller" or "you're going to deal with this ASAP, right?" as if we were rolling in dough to pay for thousands upon thousands of dollars of repairs. And in one sense, we were, since Fendy assured us that in most cases, the seller ponies up cash to pay for serious infractions of the building code. Alas, that, too, was only partially correct. The most egregious problem was the electrical wiring in the house, which wasn't only not up to code, but was downright hazardous, and was going to cost upwards of $4000 to fix, according to the inspector. Fendy "haggled" with the seller's agent--and remember, this house was owned by a bank, so there was really nobody human on the other end of that "negotiation"--to get us that money, acting as if it was a really huge gift to us. In reality, of course, the bank would have had to pay for repairs anyway, given that the wiring represented a hazard making the house actually unlivable, and we were not supposed to be buying the house "as is."
An honest/truly third party inspector would, I think, have refused to sign off on the house in the first place without a total rewiring job and a fix for all the other code violations, but in our case, naturally, once his electrician (yes, we took his recommendation for the repairman as well, making for a neat trifecta for that tight circle of friends) assured him/them that he could do the work for the magical amount of money budgeted by the bank, the inspection was complete and he allowed the sale to go through.
Well, $4K doesn't go as far as one would have thought, if the goal was to finish rewiring the house completely to conform to the building code. Some of the job was impossible to complete because the previous work done to the house was so shoddy--our living room ceiling needed to be replaced in order for all of the violations to be rectified in that one room alone, and that just wasn't budgeted for. But since the inspector had signed off, we were stuck. A number of other electrical issues couldn't be dealt with, either, because the electrician had used up all the $4K doing what work he had completed. But hey, if we wanted that other work done, he'd be happy to do it--if we gave him more money. And of course, this was well after all the paperwork had been signed, so it was now our house, and our problem. As it was, we had to pay another electrician several hundred dollars to get some proper electricity sent to our garage so the door opener functioned properly (the most he could do was to get us one single outlet to work--otherwise, the whole garage would have had to been rewired!)
Next up: spending thousands of dollars to get that last 1/4 point reduction--can you guess how that ended up?



Post a Comment

<< Home