Joy comes in the morning.....or does it? Or is it just the same reality that you were dealing with when you went to bed in the darkness? Did the light of day usher with it a new appreciation for life's details that you couldn't see just 10 hours previously? Will more joy come as the sun shines brighter?
I'm a brewing mix of emotions this morning (in no particular order) and feel like I'm still in the blind cover of darkness. Frustration, trepidation, excitement, longing, uneasiness, thankfulness, optimism, worry, confident - all of those emotions joilting and banging around in my head like a bumper car ride at the county fair. It doesn't quite all fit into a square box with a pretty bow, does it?
Yesterday afternoon and into the evening was the home inspection with a certified home inspector. B stayed home with the children while I met the inspector at the Quarter Horse Lane house. he didn't think he would be able to take the heat so we opted for me to go alone and him stay with the kids. The inspector started at 6:25pm and I walked away with our 14 page report, which included 2 summary pictures at 10:15pm. I get 20 more pictures this afternoon after he scans them so that he can retain a copy.
I cried on the way home.
The entire crawl space is a zoo. The ductwork in that crawlspace is in horrible disrepair. Over half of the duct system has lost its insulation and is either loose (its old and metal) or has come apart already. Over 90% of the insulation in the crawlspace is either wet and ruined or is hanging down with parts touching the wet dirt floor and will be ruined soon. Whoever runs the downstairs unit is cooling the crawlspace and pumping that cold air into a space that is already heavy with moisture. The entire ductwork feeding the bottom floor will have to be replaced before we can move in and operate the air conditioning system. To run the system as it is now will mean that we pay for 3 times more operating in the air handler than is needed for the house and we continue to weaken the structure system underneath the house by increasing the condensation moisture and potential for fungus/mold growth. There is no ventilation at all in the crawl space. Two blowers will have to be installed.
The main supports that run from the front to the back as well as side to side of the house are sagging. We thought that it was just normal settling that takes place in a 40 year old home. It is not. The inspector ran a laser light from the Master BR to the kitchen and there is a 3-4 inch drop in the flooring across the width of the house. The solution to this is simple but costly. Someone will have to come in under the house, jack it up 5 inches, place support across under those weak/sagging beams and then support that support with bricks or something, then lower it back down to the 4 inches. At least 5 different places will have to be done. When this is done, there is no telling what will happen to the walls and flooring in the position and condition that it is now. This will have to be done before we move in. The new kitchen cabinets will be installed level with the current positioning of the floor - once that end of the house is raised, the cabinets will all be off. So - the kitchen can't go in until the support system is fixed. We are looking at aproximately $1500 for this support job. that's a mighty damn expensive bra for a house.
There are no air inlets in the soffits which probably explains why that house has had at least 3 roofs in 40 years and the current one is in not so good shape. The most life that we would get out of the current roof (IF we do the repairs in 8 places that are needed) will be 24-30 months. Remember our contractor didn't have his ladder with him and only gave his opinion from a ground walk-around. The inspector speculated that with the roof pitches and square footage and labor, we are looking at between 6-7 thousand for the roof.
The soffits and fascia all around the house need replacing and the current gutter system is shot. Ventilation needs to be in the new soffit system. The new gutters need to be 6 inch with some additional gutters added on that north/rear dormer to prevent further water damage. Sun hardly ever gets on the back/north side of the house for long enough to dry that stuff out.
Those are the major things that he found that he believes are "critical" to the home. He encouraged us to contact someone for an accurate estimate on the ductwork/system replacement in the crawlspace but he said it would probably be between 5-7 thousand dollars. All in all, the critical things appear to have a preliminary repair cost of at least $10 thousand.
To frame this realistically - I realize that the inspector's job is to nitpick and find every single thing that he can that could be a potential problem. That is what we hired him for. His business slogan is "we look before you leap." I was impressed with his thoroughness. I was frustrated because for some reason the power and water had been disconnected that day and it was supposed to be switched to the developer's name/account until we took possession of the home at closing. Instead of switching - it was disconnected. The inspector assured me that the inspection would be complete without the water and electricity and that he wasn't coming back out to the property for a second time.
On a positive note, he did tell me that without a doubt that this house was built like a cadillac. The construction was very custom and of the highest quality. The structure (save the support which is damaged from moisture) is in excellent condition and barring some natural distaster - would still be standing 100 years from now.
He encouraged me to go over the report with my contractor and have the contractor contact him if he had any questions. The pictures pretty much tell it all. There was a list of other things that would need to be done as we go along to increase the efficiency of the house but they were not listed as critical.
One of the things that bothers me is that all the windows are painted shut. If we had an emergency (as in fire) and couldn't get down the stairs - there would be no way to get out onto the upstairs roof unless we broke through the windows. This is a safety issue with me but not something that is critical in moving in, according to the inspector.
I can't determine if the 'uh oh' feeling that I have in my gutt this morning (which was there last night as well) is from not having enough information yet to make an informed decision (like cost, specifics involved, etc) or if its from being kicked in the gut with the less than desirable news (after all, in our mind the house is perfect once we complete the things that we already knew about) or if its my intuition warning me to stop now while I still can. Does that make sense?
We have until Saturday at 2pm to decide if we want to withdraw. We have until Saturday to decide if we want to spend an additional $10-$12K on that property and still pay the price that they accepted. To do this (spend that additional money) we would have to deplete 90% of our savings. What are our options? Are we willing to accept the consequences of the chosen option? What should we do? There are a lot of questions and not many answers right now.
Today both B and I have assignments to gather the information that we need to make these decisions. We are working today on laying the groundwork to answer those questions. These critical things are not things that can be done by B or me, my father or really the contractor. These are subcontract jobs done by professionals.
What I keep getting boiled down to is this.....how bad do we want that house and what are we willing to pay for it after all is said and done?
The one lingering question is when does that joy come?