Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mission: Inspection

I have the morning off of work so that I may accompany the inspectors around my prospective new abode. There are two of them: one for pests and one for structure and systems. The pest inspector looks around, points out the wood surrounding the landscaping out front and suggests I get that replaced with brick or stone or pavers or something. Wood, even pressure-treated wood, starts to rot when it's in direct contact with the ground, and then it could become home for termites and other bugs. He also points out the drainpipe and where its dumping-off place is--right against the house. He suggests I get some sort of extension to add to the end of it so that rainwater doesn't compromise the foundation. He checks the inside of the house while I follow in the wake of the other inspector. My real estate agent is behind us both, making notes (as am I, by the way).

The inspector points out the missing doorknob of the storage unit. I'd already made a mental note of this the last time I saw the place. He says to watch the area of the patio around the entrance for the sliding glass door. It's a skim of concrete that looks like it was added after the door was in place -- there to keep the rain from getting in. He said silicone sealer will sort that out. He also shows me how to keep the dryer vent clear of lint (there's a ton of it in there and he removes it. Their dryer is going to work much better this evening than it has for a while. I wonder if they'll notice). Apparently that's a fire hazard. He says his son (a boy scout) uses lint from the dryer to start his campfires. Yikes. Will definitely be on the look-out for that.

On the inside: All clear, pest-wise. One breaker on the electrical panel needs to be replaced. The "test" breaker, the one that's supposed to shut everything off, doesn't work at all. He told me to expect to be replacing the thermostats at some point--the heating system is of indeterminate age and when it has problems it's usually the thermostats that die. He also suggested that I change the smoke detectors. They aren't meant to last forever, and should be replaced more regularly than most people do. As to water, one of the valves on the water heater has a slight leak.

Structurally, things are fine. I ask a few questions about things I'd noticed--mainly cracks in the paint. They're nothing structural, just drywall tape that's pulled away. They can be fixed with some spackle. The attic is dry, ventilated, insulated--all things you want in your attic.

And that's about it. It looks like repairs are going to be under $500, which is the magic number I gave in the contract for what I wouldn't quibble about. It's up to the people giving me the loan whether they want these things fixed before they give me the money or not. I may just have to give them receipts to prove that I had it done within a certain time period of moving in (30-60 days, maybe?).

Now it's time to tell the Invisible Complex Manager that I've bought a house and need to be let out of that addendum I signed last month. I wonder if I'll have to find someone to take over the lease, or if he'll just let me go. I've asked other people who've lived there a while (and some who moved out after buying houses mid-lease), and consensus is that he'll be okay with just letting me go. We'll see. I need to clean a little more before I tell him. I figure once I do tell him there will be people traipsing in and out until it's leased, and I'd feel a little easier in my mind if it's relatively tidy. Though how tidy can you be with a ton of boxes around the place, anyway?

Added later: I forgot the best part! As we're standing outside and he whips out his PDA to start note-taking he says, "Why does this place look familiar?"

He did the inspection on it 3 1/2 years ago when the current owners bought it.


Anonymous said...

Excellent - well done, V. None of that sounds the least bit serious. These guys have to come up with something.

One thing - "spackle"?

--V said...

Ummmm. Spackle. Yeah. It's a noun and a verb.

The noun: Painter's putty. Polyfilla.

The verb: To use spackle.

I just looked it up in Wikipedia. I didn't know it was a brand name that had been turned into a word (like kleenex, Xerox, elastoplast...). After installing drywall you put up tape to cover the seams and spackle over the tape. You smooth it all down, sand it, paint. After painting you can't tell where the drywall seams are (if you're good at spackling, that is). It's also used to fill in nail holes and any other dings or dents in the surface you're about to paint.

Anonymous said...

Amazing. Two peoples separated by a common language.

Anna said...

You're nearly there. I'll never forget closing the door and being at home for the first time in my new house, I kept hugging myself. Magic. The progression has made for interesting posts too.

--V said...

Has it? That's good. Sometimes I wonder as I prattle on about this whether folks are getting tired of reading about me trying to buy a house.

It still doesn't feel real. I'm dragging boxes home on the bus, packing, talking to my mom about paint colors, looking at furniture, and it still just feels like I'm playing house. I don't know when it's going to hit me that this is really happening.

Probably when I start writing checks.

Just Me said...

No, it'll hit you sooner than that: when you sign the mortgage paperwork.

Seriously, bring your favorite pen to settlement, because you'll be signing your name a hundred times.

I'm enjoying this series of posts. Your discussions about your rental situation reminded me of my own first attempts as a renter, but the story of your house reminds me of when we bought this one.

I remember frustrating the realtor to no end with my pickiness. Finally, he blocked out the better part of a day to show me several houses, so many my senses were numb like the way you get when you smell too many different candles. I was sick to death of getting in and out of his car.

When we came to this one, I instantly started bickering with him about the location because I thought it was in the city, and not among the narrow list municipalities I insisted upon. He had to show me on the map where it was.

I thought "ehhhh," when I looked at the outside, but when I walked in the front door I KNEW it was going to be my house despite it's conspicuous lack of a fireplace. We've lived here 16 years and I have no desire to leave.

Of course, if The Oracle gets one of these jobs he applied for in D.C., I may have to move, but "I'll think about that tomorrow."