Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Inspection Day

We met our realtor and home inspector at the house late this morning to do the inspection.

And I am one tired little girl now!

But I am intimately acquainted with the home, all of its systems and the yard.  All my homework and phone calls paid off in getting us a very thorough and detailed professional inspector.  I really couldn't be more pleased with him and his work and how well he explained each step of the inspection and what was needed to correct problems.

Yes, I did say problems.

We knew there'd be a few issues because of the age of the house and the readily visible clues when we walked through last week.  And there was all of that cosmetic stuff we noticed.

And a little more...

Namely one big disappointment, some repairs that are big enough that we are going to kick the ball back into the seller's court to get them fixed prior to the sale and a good answer to the mystery hole in the back yard.

The disappointment was that the ancient heater is electric, not gas as we were led to believe before, so with no existing gas service to run a line from the gas cook top isn't going to be possible in the kitchen.  We're either going to have to go with the less expensive to install, but also less desirable to  cook on, electric cook top or get a propane tank.  Propane may be perfectly acceptable but it's something completely new to me and just the lack of familiarity makes me a little nervous.  I think Derek is ready to charge ahead with electric but I'd like to get them both priced out and see how it all works with the budget.

We found out that there are numerous small leaks in the water pipes, the drain for the master shower is clogged and there's no pressure regulator valve so the water pressure is too high in the whole house.  I know... awesome showers was my first thought, too.  But high water pressure in a house is kind of like high blood pressure in a human body.  Something is going to rupture if it's not brought down to a normal level.  These are not major repairs but I think it's fair to ask that the plumbing in a house be in proper working order when you buy it.

There's also a bit of a water issue where some grading around the foundation is done wrong and allowing a large amount of runoff (both from the hillside and the rain gutter downspouts) to pool right against the foundation outside the kitchen and then it's getting through into the crawl space and one corner of the laundry room.  The seller had already noted a bit of water inside and had planned on installing a sump pump to deal with it.  That was supposed to be done before today, but it's not.  If he takes care of the pump, we can handle the regrading easily.  And again I think it's fair to ask for this because he'd already indicated that the pump would be installed before now.

Finally, we have the biggest potential defect: The fireplace and chimney seem to have several issues uniquely their own.  The flashing where the roof meets the chimney needs to be redone, correctly this time.  And the concrete at the top is broken and needs to be replaced.  And the flue itself is beginning to disintegrate so a new liner needs to be installed and concrete pumped in between that and the old masonry.  And it needs a cap to keep water and critters out.  There's also a question of whether it's separating from the house... which is a repair that costs several thousand dollars.  At first the inspector was sure it was separating but later he backed off that a bit because the cracking on the inside wasn't consistent and it would extremely unlikely that the chimney would separate in both directions.  I think we determined it was much more likely that the cracking inside was because new mortar had been added and hadn't adhered completely to some of the rocks.  And outside, the gap was such a consistent width that he did say it could just be a difference in the thickness of the original siding and what it is up there now.  We are asking the seller to investigate further and make any needed repairs for the fireplace to be used safely.

The hole in the backyard that had received such exotic hypothesis of its purpose as a battle trench dug by Civil War soldiers or humungous koi pond was, at first today, called a sink hole.  That was a little disconcerting...

But then later it got a real explanation.

In the late 1970s/early 1980s this part of the country experienced a severe drought.  During that time many municipalities told residents that, in order to help keep the lawn green without further straining a very strained resource, they could use gray water to landscape.  Gray water is used household  water that does not contain human waste.  It comes from places like sinks and laundry facilities.  Really good investigation revealed a white PVC drainage pipe running from the washroom right to the pit.  At one point, someone was running their wash water out there.

Non-glamorous to the extreme and offering nothing for my imagination to play with but a good explanation.  And he even suggested a good solution for filling it in and making usable yard in that spot.

The plan right now is to wait and see the final report tomorrow and then go back to the seller proposing the fixes we want him to do.

Home buying is so much hurry up and wait...


bobcatt said...

you need to check local laws about the grey water situation i know it causes black mold in house and surrounding the house outside

Kathy Burton said...

It hasn't been used for that for many years, just no one ever bothered to pull out the PVC pipes and fill in the hole. Simple enough to take care of... though I was really enjoying the more exotic explanations for the hole. LOL