Author Topic: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!  (Read 93695 times)

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mmswm

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S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« on: February 22, 2013, 10:23:40 PM »
Seems like there's a lot of us with horror stories about the house hunting process.  I've been enjoying them, but I don't want to get the never shopping there thread closed, so I thought it would be fun to have a separate thread.

The last couple of posts in that thread have been about houses with bedrooms that aren't.  I remember house hunting and looking at primarily "character" homes, or homes that were at least 75 years old.  I was astounded at what was called a bedroom.  In one house, the 4th "bedroom" was accessed by an impossibly steep spiral staircase and try not to smack your head on a wooden board that was nailed across the the doorway.  When you got down there, it was basically an unfinished basement with one single room that was drywalled in and called a bedroom.

Another house had a very lovely bathroom, if you didn't mind pepto bismol pink fixtures.  And I mean ALL the fixtures, including the oversized jacuzzi tub, toilet, sink and floor tiles.
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snowdragon

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2013, 10:49:36 PM »
When I was considering buying a house I went into one that had not been cleaning in a good long time.  It looked like something out of a before commercial for Mighty Maids or something.  Underwear on the floor, dirty diapers on the counter in the bathroom, the master bedroom had the bed with out even sheets, and the kid's room were a disaster. basement looked like something out of hoarders and the garage had filled and open garbage cans in it.  The real estate agent was so embarrassed and could not apologize enough, but I wouldn't go look at anymore houses that day.
 

Elfmama

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2013, 11:02:38 PM »
Another house had a very lovely bathroom, if you didn't mind pepto bismol pink fixtures.  And I mean ALL the fixtures, including the oversized jacuzzi tub, toilet, sink and floor tiles.
My MIL would have loved it.  The guest bedroom in her house was the same color.  Walls, curtains, bedspread, carpet...

Of course, it's cheaper to paint and recarpet than it is to renovate a bathroom.

My own story isn't a horror, but a humor.  When we were last looking for houses, we looked at 4 houses in our price range.  In the first one, the owners had taken the advice of those agents who say 'neutralize everything!'  Everything was white, with the exception of the carpet, which was beige.  All walls, the cabinets in the kitchen, the appliances, the bathrooms, etc. 

The second was the house that we eventually bought. 

So we get to discussing the houses at the end of the day, and he says "It looks like the first house is the one that's closest to what we want" and goes on to list the advantages of this house (4 beds, 3 baths, HUGE lot for this area, fenced back yard, fireplace, etc.)  And I am ??? because the first house had NONE of those features.  It had been so thoroughly neutralized  that there was absolutely NOTHING to remember it by, and DH had forgotten about it completely! 
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snowdragon

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2013, 11:16:13 PM »
Another house had a very lovely bathroom, if you didn't mind pepto bismol pink fixtures.  And I mean ALL the fixtures, including the oversized jacuzzi tub, toilet, sink and floor tiles.
My MIL would have loved it.  The guest bedroom in her house was the same color.  Walls, curtains, bedspread, carpet...

Of course, it's cheaper to paint and recarpet than it is to renovate a bathroom.

My own story isn't a horror, but a humor.  When we were last looking for houses, we looked at 4 houses in our price range.  In the first one, the owners had taken the advice of those agents who say 'neutralize everything!'  Everything was white, with the exception of the carpet, which was beige.  All walls, the cabinets in the kitchen, the appliances, the bathrooms, etc. 

The second was the house that we eventually bought. 

So we get to discussing the houses at the end of the day, and he says "It looks like the first house is the one that's closest to what we want" and goes on to list the advantages of this house (4 beds, 3 baths, HUGE lot for this area, fenced back yard, fireplace, etc.)  And I am ??? because the first house had NONE of those features.  It had been so thoroughly neutralized  that there was absolutely NOTHING to remember it by, and DH had forgotten about it completely!

I LOVE,LOVE,LOVE,LOVE that look...it makes decorating so much easier. When I have a house that is exactly the color scheme I am having.

weeblewobble

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2013, 11:59:17 PM »
The first house DH and I ever looked at was a "well, it's in our price range" looksie.  I had no interest in living in the area where the house was (too far from town), plus, it butted up against some very "fragrant" farmland AND the exterior brick looked like melted fudge ripple ice cream.  I hated it before we even saw it, but DH insisted we look at it.

We knew going in that the couple selling the house was doing so because they were divorcing.  Walking through the house, it was very clear that the separation was NOT amicable.  The husband didn't want to leave the house because he thought it weakened his position in the divorce, so he decided he was going to make life as miserable as possible for his wife, even if it hurt their chances of selling the house.  Any area where the husband was living was intentionally left very messy.  He left FILTHY clothes all over the laundry room (as in the only possible way he could have gotten them that dirty was to intentionally roll around in manure).  And when the real estate agent opened up the "guest room" to show it to us, we saw an enormous pile of animal pelts, taxidermically preserved animals and various "serial killer" decor items.  They were just piled in the middle of an empty bedroom.

The real estate lost her cool for a moment and said, "Good God, that's creepy."  Then ushered us out of there.

As we climbed into the car, I gave DH the patented, "I'm not going to say I told you so, but I TOLD YOU SO" look.  DH told me, "We will never speak of this again."
« Last Edit: February 23, 2013, 12:04:30 AM by weeblewobble »

MommyPenguin

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2013, 12:15:54 AM »
We don't have any *real* horror stories on the level of these ones so far.  But we've been enjoying looking at houses, mostly online, since we'll be moving in two months or so.  One of the houses that we went to see back in September had obviously had some sort of flooding incident.  Not only did it smell like mildew, but they had several huge fans running in the basement and the windows open (in cold weather!) to dry things out!  I think I would have tried to get the house dry and ready before putting it on the market, or at least delayed any viewings briefly until the house could be aired out, because it was *really* obvious that there was a flooding problem when there were fans going in the basement and the windows open!

ica171

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2013, 12:54:35 AM »
I've spent a lot of time looking at houses because I am constantly searching for THE house. You would not believe how many houses I've seen that say they've got X bedrooms, then two of those are a big open space in the basement with a super wobbly paneling wall built down the middle, with a metal garment rack or Sauder armoire in each room as a "closet." No doors, no legally required egress windows, sometimes not even four walls.

The absolute worst house I ever saw was a doozy. We were looking in a small town and working with a not-good agent who didn't feel like driving out that far. So she gave us the code and we went on our way. I didn't realize at the time that was illegal, but it seems obvious in hindsight. None of these houses were occupied, and it was only a few houses, but still.

We got to the last house and it was very run down looking from the outside. That's OK, we want a fixer. The code didn't work, so we called the agent who says it should work but isn't much help other than that. DH walked around the house looking for a back door or something while I waited on the front porch. He got in and let me in. I asked him how he got in and he pointed to a solid wall in the kitchen. I said "uh...how did that work?" Turns out there was a fire in the kitchen (you could see the damage very plainly except on that one wall) and apparently one of the windows had broken. Instead of replacing the window or even boarding it up correctly, they leaned a sheet of paneling up against the wall, put one nail in, and called it good. When DH saw the boarded-over window, he touched the paneling and it swung in completely. It was a huge window (old house), so he walked in and opened the door for me.

The house was absolutely trashed. It had to have been lived in trashed, too; this wasn't just getting back at the bank putting some holes in the drywall. In the living room, the carpet was brown and caked with dirt, hair and what I think was cat poop, except for where furniture had been. In those spots it was bright blue. There was a second floor, but there was no first floor landing to get up there. Well, there was a piece of paneling thrown on the floor. We took a big step over the landing to the first stair to get upstairs.

Upstairs the garbage was literally knee deep. We didn't stay long, but from a quick glance it was obvious that it was mostly pron. Of course the walls all through the house were covered in graffitti, trash was everywhere, etc. It was by far the worst house I've ever seen.

There was one other house that I still consider the one that got away. It had been converted into apartments and someone was still living in the upstairs apartment. It was pretty solidly wall to wall stuff, although not trash. Just stuff. It was great, but the basement had this weird room under the stairs filled with trash bags. Looking back, I wish I'd gone for it, room full of trash bags or no.

When my parents bought the house they currently live in, it was an absolute wreck. The couple who owned it were divorcing, and the deal was that the wife got to live there until it sold. She went out of her way to trash it--she had lots of dogs that she didn't let outside, trash everywhere, walls caked with who knows what. There was a pool; it was filled with dead mice and frogs. The yard was overgrown. There was stuff everywhere. The basement had water issues. They saw something in it, though, because they bought it and cleaned it up. Almost twenty years later, they still live there and just remodeled the kitchen. I think the reason it was able to be cleaned up was that everything was great quality, it was just filthy. I don't know if elbow grease would have worked as well if it had been builder grade finishes.

ETA: Remembered one more. There was one house we went to see with what sounded like a big dog inside. The agent knocked several times and it barked, so that was how we knew it was in there. She was afraid to go in, but we braved it. The dog was fine, but as we went upstairs to see the third bedroom (a loft with no doors), a head lifted up from the bed. A teenage girl was sleeping in there. DH was in front of me, so I hope she wasn't scared thinking someone had broken in. He said "Oh, sorry!" and practically shoved me down the stairs to get out of there.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2013, 01:05:11 AM by ica171 »

Cuddlepie

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2013, 12:56:53 AM »
After almost 30 years remembering this house still makes me feel repulsed. 

The house was owned by an animal loving family.  There were dogs, cats and little puppies.  The front room had piles of fur against the skirting boards and piles of droppings on the carpet and yes the smell was terrible.

Husband and I decided, after only a few steps into the front room, that this place, no matter how much we cleaned, what we replaced, would never feel clean enough for us and our two toddlers. 

ica171

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2013, 01:02:52 AM »

Another house had a very lovely bathroom, if you didn't mind pepto bismol pink fixtures.  And I mean ALL the fixtures, including the oversized jacuzzi tub, toilet, sink and floor tiles.

My parents' house had three bathrooms, all done in different colors. The house was built in 1968, so all the finishes were what was popular then. There was a blue one, a green one, and peach with maroon accents. Each bathroom included a vanity with sinks in the bathroom's color, toilet and tub in the theme color, and floor tile and wall tile in the theme colors. Above the wall tile was coordinating wallpaper. The peach and rust bathroom is still there, and it's in really good shape for forty-five year old materials.

Thipu1

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2013, 08:17:43 AM »
Thirty years ago, when we were looking for a place, there were many office buildings and factories that had been converted to apartments.  Some of the developers were, shall we say, imaginative in the use of space. 

The Mushroom Farm.
This was in a converted warehouse.  The rooms were big.  The kitchen and bathrooms were nicely done.  The neighborhood was good and the price was in our range.  Unfortunately, it was in a basement and most of the windows were glass brick.  As a result, it was DARK. 

The Submarine Pen.
This was in a converted office building.  It was on an upper floor and had huge windows. The views of lower Manhattan were gorgeous.  Again, the rooms were big and the fixtures good but it was extremely narrow.  It was almost set up like a shotgun house.

The Ink Factory
This one had a lot going for it.  It had a nice layout, plenty of room and the novelty of a window over the bathtub with a nice view of the East River.  However, it had been, after all, an ink factory and the hard wood floors were liberally stained with black and blue splotches.  This was described as 'historical character'. 

The Elevator Shaft.
  It was in a converted factory.  The neighborhood was good and the imaginative feature here was that the living room had obviously once been part of a freight elevator shaft.  Despite this, we seriously considered it until the developer decided to go rental rather than Co-op.   

Giggity

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2013, 08:49:55 AM »
I have nothing to add, except that every single house in Texas has popcorn ceilings and we all know how horrible those are ... but we're about to start house-hunting so I want tales of woe and angst.
Words mean things.

Brisvegasgal

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2013, 09:03:27 AM »
DH and I looked at one house that was not built level.  As soon as we walked in we could see that the floor sloped to one side.  I mentioned this to the real estate aent who claimed to not know what I meant.  So I picked up a tennis all that was sitting on a nearby counter and placed it on the floor.  He agent's face was priceless as he watched the ball quickly gather momentum as it rolled towards the lowest point in the floor!

Phoebelion

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2013, 09:17:49 AM »
When we were looking, the 3 story  house down the street went on the market.  Just what we were looking for - double lot on the corner, huge garage, etc.  I had been in the house - DH never had.  He wanted to check it out so I warned him about all the little rooms (old farm house).  So down we went.  The wife had gotten the house in the divorce and she couldn't afford it anymore.  At least thats what she said. 

As soon as we walked in, you could smell the animal urine.  Every step you took there was an explosion of fleas.  Animal feces in the basement (I called it the dungeon - windows were black from when there was oil furnace).  The windows had been replace - badly - obvious water damage below every window.

We made on offer on the house.  At $35K less than what was wanted.  Part of the sale included that they had to have all of the carpeting removed, hire someone to come in and remove the animal feces,  have that area cleaned to our specs, the entire house scrubbed down, and have the entire house bug bombed.  And they went for it.  As we were living 2 doors down, it was easy to keep an eye on the procedure. 

The hired a company (one of those that come in and clean up fire damage) that I happened to do business with.   The owner was horrified by the place.  He made sure that we got what we wanted. 

Turns out she did get the house in the divorce, but only until the youngest turned 18.  Seems she didn't want to split the money with the ex so she was doing everything possible to block the sale of the house.   All the expenses from the "sterilization" of the house and our $35K discount came out of her share of the sale.  Talk about cuttimg off your nose to spite your face.

sunnygirl

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2013, 09:41:17 AM »
When I was helping my father house-hunt, we visited one house that had a massive rug loosely tacked to the wall. I found it odd because it didn't look like a permanent fixture, but like someone had just stuck it up ten minutes earlier. I lifted the corner of the rug out of curiosity (it was only attached at the top) and found a massive garish mural of the family painted on the wall underneath. We were more put off by them trying to hide it, than the mural.

CakeBeret

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2013, 10:11:45 AM »
Once DH and I visited a foreclosed home in a nicer neighborhood. It had 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a whirlpool tub, a 2-car garage, and a pool in the backyard. The outrageously low pricetag should have been a warning to us.

On the first level were two bedrooms no bigger than 8x8 and a bathroom. We figured the remaining bedrooms and bathroom must be in the basement. That was when we realized that the only access to the basement was a very narrow, very spindly, spiral staircase that originated in the middle of the kitchen floor. The staircase did not have any railings around it, so it would be perfectly possible to accidentally fall into the staircase while going about your business in the kitchen. Scary. And that thing was seriously NARROW--my size 18 hips were brushing the railings on both sides as I tried to go down.

Went downstairs and it was essentially unfinished. There was carpet loose on the floors. The walls were cement. We found what was termed the "master bedroom". To its credit, it did have a fantastic cedar-lined walk-in closet. To its discredit, the walls looked like they had been painted by someone tripping on acid. Floor to ceiling murals on all four walls. After trying to avert our eyes from the walls, we realized that this could not legally be a bedroom because it only had one tiny basement window.

On we went through the basement. We found the "master bathroom". A huge jetted tub in the middle of back half of the basement, and a toilet behind a curtain. We found the 4th "bedroom" and it also featured the floor-to-ceiling acid-trip paintings and not enough windowage to legally be termed a bedroom.
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