Last June, we shared the story of Jeannine and her husband, who discovered all kinds of exciting surprises in their home after purchasing it. These included a sealed room filled with garbage coated in a fuzzy white mold and a shower literally patched up with duct tape. None of these issues were disclosed by the sellers, or noticed by the inspector that the couple hired. Consumerist readers had 266 comments’ worth of advice for Jeannine and Mr. Jeannine, but we never heard back from them. So where are they now? Things have actually gotten worse.
Here’s an excerpt from Jeannine’s original letter to Consumerist:
We were down in the basement laundry room one night, when we noticed something glinting back underneath the stairs. Upon inspection, it seemed to be a tiny latch embedded into the wall. Looking closer, we noticed a tiny, TINY crack in the wall, or so we thought. When we unlatched it, and pushed….the wall opened up. Yes, we found a flipping secret room under the house. We got a flashlight and peered in, thinking it was the coolest thing ever.
Until we gazed in horror upon piles and piles of garbage, and white puffy mold that stretched from one side of the room to the other. What the….this room, let alone this PROBLEM, wasn’t on the inspection, what was this?! We slammed the door shut and hauled upstairs to call the home inspector. He claimed he didn’t think it was mold, but would be out there ASAP to come check. We waited…and waited…turned out it would take a few extra DAYS for him to come out and check.
Yes, it was mold, he handed us a couple of dust masks and told us to just “pick it up, put it in garbage bags, and then spray some clorox down there.” And….he left with that.
Unfortunately, Jeannine and Mr. Jeannine didn’t know that their story was published, so they never came here to read the pages upon pages of comments on the situation. When we checked in with her, here’s what she had to say.
Nothing much has honestly changed, except that we did contact the home inspector’s company (after finding out he was a franchisee). They argued with us, and made it quite clear they were not going to assume any responsibility for it.
We have unfortunately run into many, many more coverups around the home….it seems like every day we find out something else. Last November, the oven malfunctioned and destroyed our Thanksgiving dinner — the “new” oven they had in turned out to be 12 years old. (Hindsight is 20/20, we shouldn’t have taken them at their word about it.) We discovered as well that the baseboards in the hallway weren’t actually secured, they had stuck them onto the wall with double-sided sticky tape! It seems like every week, we find another thing they covered up, that we add to a list of things to fix.
Unfortunately for us though, we have no extra money to hire a lawyer, as some medical issues came up, along with hefty bills. We’d like to, but we just can’t afford it.
Hard lesson learned for us though as first-time homebuyers….never trust what the previous owners say, even if they seem really nice.
We’re sorry to hear how things worked out, and hope that their experience serves as a lesson to other Consumerist readers: be skeptical, and assume the worst when making what will probably be the biggest purchase of your life.