Is what I thought after the house inspector called us and told us that our prospective home was not “inspection-ready”. He said he didn’t feel safe inspecting the house in its condition and told us that he didn’t know another inspector that would disagree.
Free kayaking in Riverside park! Bob would say it was fun. I’d say it was scary-fun.
See, when I told you this house was a fixer-upper, I forgot to mention how much fixing it needed (hint: a lot). This place has been neglected for over a year. The basement is covered in mold. It’s really quite gross, not to mention toxic. Despite that, we saw the potential in this home. We knew that the seller didn’t want to spend any more money on the house, which is to say he was selling it “as is” (which is the case with most short sales, I’ve learned). So we called a mold removal company to do a free estimate for us and it turned out that the price for removal was reasonable. We factored this into our low-ball offer and was SHOCKED when the seller accepted the offer. Immediately after, our lawyer was on the job of negotiating the logistics with the seller’s lawyer. We went back and forth, until we finally settled on a contract that worked out for all of us. Things were falling into place. Bob and I excitedly started picking up paint swatches at Home Depot and talking about how our dark brown couch would look great against a teal accent wall.
And then came the inspection. Or rather the almost-inspection.
Our pants were soaked! Hudson River-soaked. Blech. Oh yeah. These pictures have nothing to do with this post.
On Friday, I took off from work and rented a Zipcar to head out to Jersey and meet with the inspector. We were on the highway when Bob got a call. He turned the radio off, so I knew it was something important. All I heard on Bob’s end was “can’t inspect?”, “unsafe?”, “the utilities aren’t turned on?” and “so we should reschedule”. My heart started racing and I motioned for Bob to put the call on speaker. I heard the inspector say that in addition to some of the utilities not being turned on (which is crucial for a complete inspection), he didn’t feel safe being in a basement with the amount of mold present. He told us, “I highly doubt anyone would want to inspect this place without having the mold remediated first. It just isn’t safe to be in there for more than a few minutes. Even with a mask on.” I was so distracted by what he was telling me that I ended up driving off the wrong exit. I was angry and lost, but mostly disappointed.
This presented a problem for us. We had agreed to take care of the mold only IF we bought the house (obviously). Seeing as how we aren’t going to buy it without having a complete inspection first, it becomes a stalemate. The seller made it clear that he didn’t want to spend a dime in this transaction. But if the inspector is right and the house is in no condition to be inspected, then it can’t be sold. Our realtor then explained to us that we could perhaps use this reasoning as bargaining chip, although it isn’t likely the seller will budge. Not that I blame him. The mold is just a product of neglect over the past year and has nothing to do with him.
So I’m fully expecting his lawyer to come back and say, “No dice.”
Val and Tanya. Behind me (taking the picture) was the creepy guy who was following us all around the park for a good twenty minutes. No joke. He was a creeper, but we lost him eventually.
Things are a bit up in the air right now.
Here’s the other thing. Our rental lease is due on Wednesday. We need to decide if we’re going to renew the lease or not. Neither of us want to spend the amount of rent they’re now asking for. But we love Astoria and getting to spend more time here is something we’d both love to do. But Bob also suggested moving back in to his old apartment, which is in his grandmother’s multi-family home in Maspeth, Queens. It would be a hell of a lot cheaper, so we could actually save some money. But the area isn’t as convenient and the apartment is a bit smaller, so we’d have trouble fitting all of our belongings and furniture. Also, the idea of moving into a place for the short-term seems so exhausting. What if we end up buying this place or even another one within the next few months? Moving twice in one year? I’d rather eat glass.
Update: I wrote this post a few days ago, though it was published today . We’ve since decided that we are going to renew the lease on our apartment and wait out the process with this house. If need be, we will break our lease and give them 60 days notice so we don’t risk losing our deposit or breaching our contract. Per our realtor’s and lawyer’s advice, we are going to hire a new inspector to take on the job, since it turns out that the original inspector recently had a health scare that made him a bit more nervous to the mold situation. Perhaps the damage isn’t as detrimental and the new inspector can do his/her job without health risks. Our realtor informed us that the utilities will, in fact, be turned on this time.
I knew there’d be bumps in the road and I was fully prepared to feel this way after getting too attached to a home. It doesn’t make it any less disappointing though. But! We’re not out of the woods yet. There’s still some hope and I’m clinging to it!