House buying: Don’t be like us

House buying: Don’t be like us

I want to start this post by saying I LOVE our new house. If Rahul could live here on a regular basis, I would stay here forever. This post is more a cautionary tale about what not to do when you buy a house. I would like to think some of our mistakes are from lack of experience. I bought the house at Wild Azalea Lane as a new construction in the mid 90s. A lot has changed since then. But we made some big mistakes and have learned a lot from them.

Our first big mistake was to take the home inspection at face value. Very few things came up that needed to be addressed. The other issue complicating things was the fact that we lived over 4 hours a way. In hindsight, we should have been more like the people that bought our house. They were a huge PITA, but when they moved into their new house there were no surprises. They made sure of it!

The biggest issue we have faced is mold. It was visible on the floor vents, ceilings of both bathrooms and one bedroom. I immediately ordered a test kit, replaced all the floor vents, cleaned bathroom ceiling fans, bought 2 giant dehumidifiers for both bathrooms. I have asthma, which makes my weak lungs even more susceptible to things like mold. I will say that our test came back with 3 types of mold, but none that cause serious health problems. But moving to a place with high humidity, I assumed a mold test would have been included with the home inspection, or the realtor strongly suggesting we pay extra to have one done.

The other issue was cleanliness. I almost threw up when I opened the oven. It was disgusting. It probably had not ever been cleaned since the house was built in 2011. It was that bad. It took me HOURS and 2 cans of oven cleaner to make it usable. We found drawers full of paper bills in the office, personal hygiene items in the bathroom, cabinets filled with trash. And my favorite find…sewing needles on the floors of almost every room. No one walked barefoot until I could sweep and check all rooms. All of this could have been avoided if someone had checked after the previous owners said they cleaned before they moved out. Our realtor said the standard thing to do is to pay a professional cleaning company to clean after move out. There are companies where this is all they do. That is what we did for our house and assumed the previous owners would do the same for our new house. But neither realtor checked. At our house sale, our realtor did a pre-walk through and the new owners’ realtor did a walk through with them before closing. Again, we should have been more like the folks who bought our house.

We are lucky in that all of the issues we faced were fixable with a little elbow grease and money. And I have to say, I am proud to have eradicated mold singlehandedly. But when we buy our forever home in 4 years, we will be smarter. So friends, don’t be like us. Don’t assume. Have your realtor check and double check.

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