Every kid talks about how they’re going to have a secret room in his house when they grows up… so imagine the delight of reader Jeannine to discover the house she bought actually came with one! And then imagine how that delight turned to revulsion as she and her partner opened it up and found countless piles of garbage covered with white puffy mold! It would turn out to be only the first of many secrets the house revealed to them, including a basement with 75% secret asbestos tiling! Oh, it’s like something out of a fairy tale!
Last year, we went house hunting to try and take advantage of the tax credit for first-time home buyers. As it was getting pretty cramped in an apartment with our two kids, it seemed like a good idea. After looking around for a month or so, we found what looked like the best prospect. We offered $129k compared to their $145k listing, and they accepted the offer almost instantly. It seemed to be a practical miracle to us, and we were overjoyed.
The home inspection turned up a few things wrong of course, but the homeowners gave us an extra $2,000 to cover those repairs. We thought it was great, and went about moving in and settling down.
About a month later was when all the fun started.
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.
We’ve now discovered a TON of cover-ups in the house that were NOT mentioned by the previous owners or noted on the inspection. Just a few follow:
1. One of the cabinets had the bottom cut completely out so they could fit the fridge underneath it.
2. The countertop was not a countertop….it was floor tiling stuck down tight to hide the damaged one below.
3. The shower in one room has a corner cubby. Someone had busted holes in it, and then tried to cover them up by using duct tape that matched the color of the walls, and scraping it down. They had covered it with shampoo bottles when we came by, so that we couldn’t see it.
4. The cabinet bottom under the kitchen sink had MASSIVE water damage to it, it’s literally rotted out. They had stacked up chemical bottles and empty baskets over it so we couldn’t see that when we did our lookovers to the house.
5. The koi ponds that they claimed were four and six feet deep were actually only 2 feet. One has a leak as well.
6. Fake wood paneling in a room downstairs were covering up giant holes that look like someone had a temper tantrum and kicked in the wall.
7. One of the worst parts. Over 75% of the basement has ASBESTOS tiling, and we were not told about it! A contractor we hired to come by and install a dishwasher did a walkthru after we showed him the secret room, and he immediately pointed it out.
I’m at my wit’s end now, I had thought that this would be a house with some repairs we would have to do. I didn’t think for a second that there would be so many problems, that were NOT pointed out by the inspector or the owners!
Is there any sort of advice you guys have on what we should do? Besides sink money that we really don’t have in trying to fix some of these problems up.
Hmm, a not-so-secret lawyer would seem to be in order.