Wednesday, December 19, 2007

News from the home front

Never attribute to malice that which may be explained by stupidity.

Does the course of true home buying ever run smooth?

Made an offer on a house, had it accepted.

Had the house inspected, told the seller all the trivial details that needed to be fixed (e.g. dry rot in the foundation, leaks in the plumbing, electrical outlets that were miswired).

Seller's response was basically "Gee, could've sworn I got all the dry rot out. That plumbing was done by a licensed plumber, but to be nice I'll fix the leaks. But the electrical outlets are all fine, nothing needs to be done about them."

My Realtor, seeing that the deal was going to fall through over this issue, called the electrician personally. He said the outlets were wired fine.

She asked him why they failed the home inspector’s test. He replied that maybe they needed to be fixed. He’ll write a letter offering to fix them.

She asked if he could email or fax the letter. He doesn’t have email or a fax machine.

She asked she could drive by his office to pick up the letter. He doesn’t come in to his office very often.

At this point I’d almost feel sorry for the Realtor if she hadn’t gotten so snippy with me the other day when I’d said I was concerned over this issue. (“Well, the inspector can’t see through walls, you know. If the electrician said it was fine, then it must be fine.”)

I started out thinking that since the seller was a contractor, they must have some idea that these things weren't done right to begin with. Now I'm starting to think the seller is merely inept. Doesn't fill me with confidence either. And he does have some experience with home renovation. Google tells me that he and the electrician went to Mississippi with members of their church to renovate homes after Katrina. That's a positive sign, anyway.

Of course, they were probably long gone by the time the home owners tried to plug in an appliance.

Tried a new sport tonight: indoor jogging. Well, it was different.
Jog/walk 2/2 9 times.

Brick wall courtesy of ... oh heck, click here to find out.


Crabby McSlacker said...

Oh that's obnoxious. Don't your sellers read the papers every day about how lucky they are to have an interested, reasonable buyer? You think they'd be doing backflips to make sure the deal goes through.

And yeah, it may well just be stupidity or wishful thinking, not sneakiness. But now that they know, I think they should hop to it and make it right!

Or else... or else... (this is the part I'm not too good at as a buyer.) "Or else I'll buy it anyway but be really grumpy about all the stuff that's wrong that you didn't tell us about and won't fix," has been our usual hard-nosed bargaining strategy.

Good luck with it. Grrrr....

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

I'd suggest getting an estimate from a competent electrician for getting the problem fixed, and then tell the buyer that you won't lower your offer if he'll set aside an amount equal to the estimate in an escrow account in your name.

Disclaimer: I am a mere editor, not a lawyer. But I did see a similar situation work, just the way I've described, when our longtime neighbors were selling their 40-plus-year-old house that had several problems. The buyers got the escrow account that they wanted.

The Merry said...

Katharine, that's a brilliant suggestion. (Frankly, I tend to trust editors anyway. I mean, how many editor jokes do you hear? And how many lawyer jokes? Well then.)

Crabby, by this point I'm ready to usurp your name. Enough already. There's a 20-year old house on the market for the same price. Not nearly as nice a layout, but an even larger garden and it's in a nicer neighborhood. Probably much easier to rent or resell than the older house. If the seller doesn't want to work with me, maybe these people would?

(I say "the seller" -- actually it's two guys, but one's on vacation so I'm only dealing with one of them.)

Nunhead Mum of One said...

Electricians - pah!

the Bag Lady said...

Mary - a 20 year old house, nicer neighbourhood, larger garden...what's wrong with the layout? Can it be renovated to better suit your needs?
Is the Bag Lady wrong...isn't it a buyers market down there right now?
One would think the sellers would bend over backward to make things right...

The Merry said...

Bag Lady, I can't really restructure the newer house without major reconstruction. For example, the staircase is so awkwardly situated that it juts out into the front room almost cutting it in half. But changing the staircase would mean getting rid of the 1/2 bath or tearing out part of an outside wall. Still, I wouldn't have to argue about electricity... I hope...

The Merry said...

It's really not /nearly/ enough of a buyer's market in my neck of the woods. Better than it was, but nothing like other parts of the country.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I'd be concerned. These are big things, dry rot and leaks and faulty wiring (not to mention leaking water AND faulty wiring together!) I'm making this sound scary, I know, but you have to consider this long term. How will you fix it, how long will it take, how much will it cost, can you get it fixed before something happens? (I bought a condo last year and the issues I have had with the A/C and faulty, arcing wiring have been a stressful pain in the butt and I don't wish it on you.)

And, BTW, the realtor is supposed to be working for you. She shouldn't be snarky because you can take your commission elsewhere.

McB said...

Oh, hon, I'm so sorry you are having these problems. Try Katharine's suggestion re escrow. At the very least I would get an independent electrician to take a look. And if the sellers balk, tell them they don't have the only house for sale.

Heather said...

wow, I am really sorry that you have to deal with this. sounds like such a bad situation. I hope it works itself out somehow.

BCB said...

Merry Christmas, Mary! There is a wise old saying, "In the darkness there are CherryBombs," and tonight, one of the longest nights of the year, we CBs are out blog caroling, pushing back the winter darkness by spreading holiday cheer. Before we came to see you, we were sharing peace and joy over here:

I picked this song because I figured you were tired of the rain and maybe ready for something different. Everybody ready?

Let It Snow!

"Oh, the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful . . ."

Wishing you peace and hoping your brothers let you use the computer soon!

GatorPerson said...

And since we have no place to go
Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow.

Keziah Fenton said...

We need a great place to go
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

What? BCB said we could change the words and this did seem like a great place to go.

I'm wishing you the very best holiday for you and your family. Ky sends a half chewed tennis ball for Tanji. It's one of his favourites :-)

rssasrb said...

And since we've no place to go

Anonymous said...

the fire is slowly dying

hee hee this is fun

BCB said...

I think we forgot the part where it shows no signs of stopping

I like that part.

rssasrb said...

And my dear we're still goodbying

Anonymous said...

Whoops. Sorry.

GatorPerson said...

Oops. Forgot!
Happy holidays, Mary.
It doesn't show signs of stopping
And I've bought some corn for popping.

This is really hard. I don't know these lyrics.

BCB said...

Try this:

Probably just broke her blog with the long link.

Anonymous said...

And since we've no place to go,
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Grab your cloak and come along with us. We have chocolate. And merry, merry, merry.

rssasrb said...

The lights are turned way down low
Let it Snow
Let it Snow
Let it Snow

Merry Christmas Mary.

Scope Dope Cherrybomb said...

When we finally kiss goodnight,
I'll find my way home in the storm,
And if you want to hold me tight
All the way home I'll be warm.

Merry Christmas Mary

BCB said...

When we finally say good night
How I'll hate going out in the snow . . .

[but when you're done with this song, meet us over here:
and hope she'll forgive us]

Anonymous said...

The fire is slowly dying,And, my dear, we're still good-bying,
But as long as you love me so,
Let it snow!Let it snow, Let it snow!

Meryy Christmas and a very
Happy New Year, Mary

Anonymous said...

but as long as you love me so let it snow let it snow let it snow

orangehands said...

let it snow...

gotta catch up...

McB said...

I'm sooo behind ...

Let it snow, let it snow let it snow....

Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

No lyrics to add (hours later)- Merry Christmas, Mary!

Anonymous said...

Frosty the Snowman
Was a jolly happy soul
With a corncob pipe and a button nose
And two eyes made out of coal

Frosty the Snowman
Is a fairytale they say
He was made of snow
But the children know
How he came to life one day

There must have been some magic
In that old silk hat they found
For when they placed it on his head
He began to dance around

Frosty the Snowman
Was alive as he could be
And the children say
He could laugh and play
Just the same as you and me

Frosty the Snowman
Knew the sun was hot that day
So he said let's run
And we'll have some fun
Now before I melt away

Down to the village
With a broomstick in his hand
Running here and there all around the square
Saying catch me if you can

He led them down the streets of town
Right to the traffic cop
And he only paused a moment when
He heard him holler stop

Frosty the Snowman
Had to hurry on his way
But he waved goodbye
Saying don't you cry
I'll be back again some day

Thumpety thump thump
Thumpety thump thump
Look at Frosty go
Thumpety thump thump
Thumpety thump thump
Over the hills of snow

The Merry said...

My GOODNESS! Who tracked all this snow in here? And for heaven's sake, if you're going to let the camel leave indisputable evidence of its presence, couldn't you leave a shovel as well?


My heavens! A little additional snowfall and this whole landscape is transformed. Thank you all, and to all a good night!

Theresa said...

Merry Christmas, Mary! I hope you have lots of hugs and smiles and laughter today and every day of the year.

We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year!

And you got a star for running! Go Mary!



P.S. Very sorry about your house woes. Ugh!