Author Topic: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!  (Read 93689 times)

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kherbert05

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #60 on: February 24, 2013, 09:42:54 AM »
I toured one house were most of the rooms were missing the doors. We thought maybe they were getting ready to repaint. There was spackle on some of the walls. A woman was camping on the floor. No furniture other than her sleeping bag. Went out to the garage - the doors were stacked up there. The visible ones had holes at shoulder/torso level and the bottoms had been kicked in. I told my Realtor that I would be afraid that the person that did that might come back, either looking for the woman or angry the home had been sold. I bought another house in the same neighborhood.
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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #61 on: February 24, 2013, 04:16:32 PM »
Two houses in particular had creepy basements:

One was a stone cottage that used to be a hunting lodge for a larger estate nearby. Behind an unassuming door was a wrought iron spiral staircase leading down to what I can only describe as a maze of dungeon-like rooms. The only light access we could find was the one hanging above the stairs, so as my husband and I walked further into the basement the darker it got. We used our cell phones as flashlights and every now and then I took flash pictures with my camera to be able to see the actual rooms better. The laundry room had a newer washer and dryer, but I just couldn't see myself doing laundry down there.

Another home had a gigantic finished basement also made up of many rooms. One used to be the catering kitchen of the seller's ex-wife. The equipment seemed to be professional grade and all high end but everything was in disarray. What made my imagination run wild was the very large stain on the floor that, to my untrained eye, looked like dried blood. My husband thought the same and was very freaked out by the room.

I just have to say these descriptions gave me flashbacks to Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs...esp the end where Clarice is being "hunted"through his basement. I love the movie but would not want to live in a house like that!

I would! In fact, if it has a rust stained old styled bathroom it may be my dream home...
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ladyknight1

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #62 on: February 24, 2013, 04:55:31 PM »

Gutted house - A two year old house. Two stories, nice big yard. We walk the outside first, and realize the external air conditioning unit is gone. We look in the windows and realize all appliances for the kitchen, including the dishwasher, are gone. So are the counter tops and cabinets! The sink and the disposal are gone. Just a few pipes jutting from the wall were left in the kitchen.

I'm currently redoing my kitchen, and wondering what potential buyers will think one day, 15 or 20 years from now, when I sell the house. Because I'm not having a fitted kitchen. Everything is free-standing and removable -- big range cooker, antique dressers for storage, etc. Not even the corner sink unit that I am having hand-built by a carpenter is going to be built in. So if I moved out with my stuff, you'd be left with connections for the gas, connections for the sink and dishwasher, and a lot of empty space.

I knew when we bought the house that the whole kitchen would need to be replaced and redesigned, and I've never looked at a house and liked the kitchen -- even when it was brand new, I'd always want to rip it out. I know the wonderful kitchen in the last house I sold was probably in a skip before the ink was dry on the sales contract.

If you design and build the kitchen that way, it is perfectly reasonable and legal to take everything.

However, when a house is designed with standard cabinets and counter tops, it is theft of fixtures (in my state) for the occupant to take them when they move. Also, where would they put those cabinets? Can cabinets be versatile enough to move from house to house?

Amava

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #63 on: February 24, 2013, 05:04:40 PM »
Also, where would they put those cabinets? Can cabinets be versatile enough to move from house to house?

When I bought my house (which is SO old that it didn't have a built-in kitchen or anything yet), one aunt was just breaking out their kitchen to install a new one. We took over most of their cabinets and the sink to install them in ours. It was a bit of a puzzle, it required a lot of sawing and retouching, and it's not very pretty, but it's good enough to "make do" until we get round to getting a kitchen built to our own taste.

Kaora

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #64 on: February 24, 2013, 05:16:00 PM »
My parents were house hunting a couple years ago, and we went with them.

Most of the houses were wonderful, some a little small and old timey, but not bad in themselves.  I'm surprised the realtors didn't run away after my klutzy brain decided that the sliding glass door simply wasn't there, so I tried to walk through it.  Whoops.

There was one house we were looking at, in an excellent neighborhood, only a couple blocks walk from where my BF lives, built by the same guy.  I think the owners couldn't pay the loan and ended up losing the house.

It was odd.  It was a gorgeous house, with a breakfast nook to the left of the entranceway on the way in, a couple of bedrooms beyond that, the kitchen in plainview infront of us, and another room which served as the family room overlooking the backyard.

There was a hallway that led past the kitchen that led to the first bathroom, which was... pink.  Really, really pink, with only bathtub and no shower fixtures.  I mean, bright flamingo and Pepto Bismols almighty, it was pink.

The master bedroom had been the only one to originally have a shower.  It did when we checked it out.  Still, we're very much shower people, so while not a dealbreaker, it was very close.

Notice how I said originally?  The hallway past the kitchen, which had a broken stove, extended and turned left into a weird, really long hallway with a little space to the left for the washer/dryer.  There were two bedrooms added on by removing the garage and dividing them with plywood, adding doors onto them.  It still had the sunroof covering the corners of the two rooms. :o

It was also still cement, with loose carpeting.  It also had another bathroom, the only other one to have a stall, that I can only describe as leftovers stolen from someone's construction project.  The door was a heavy, metal bathroom door with a Men's sign on it, like you see in commercial areas, the piping was all obvious and the tub was standing in the middle of the room, with said piping all connecting to it from the side.  There was a toilet, but it looked scary and metal.  White tiling, blue paint, gray tiled floor.  I've almost never run out of a bathroom, but I ended up closing the door quickly and never wanted to go back.

We go out to the backyard to look for the large hot tub that was advertised (we were thinking it'd be great for my sister's CP), and found that it had been filled with cement.

Also noticed a large amount of trash and rubble strewn about the yard, mostly small things, like cigarette butts, though we once spotted both a baseball and a shoe.  Just one.

On the way out, we saw that a large switchplate to the right of the door had been mostly smashed in, and that the electrical wiring box, which was just outside in the entranceway, but on the back an arch so we didn't notice it coming in, was unlocked and some wires were dangling.

As we found out later, the extension was added without permission of the city or any code checks, so it would've been a hazard waiting to kill us.  Near as we can tell, they tried trashing the place, but didn't do very much aside from that poor plate and the electrical box.

GreenEyedHawk

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #65 on: February 24, 2013, 07:09:10 PM »
I looked at a lot of houses that were "meh" before finding this one, but one really stands out to me.

It was the lowest-priced one on the list and from what I could see from the MLS listing online, the decor hadn't been updated for a really long time, like maybe since the late 60s.  But if the house itself is sound, the rest I can deal with in my own time, right? 

We get there and the first thing I notice is that there are not only steel shutters over all the windows, but heavy iron bars as well.  When we get inside, I'm overwhelmed by a sickly sweet smell.  There is no power, so the listing agent has kindly (fft) left a stack of flashlights by the door for anyone who comes in to see the place.  No furniture or anything has been removed.  There's a hospital bed in the middle of the living room, the two bedrooms (right off the living room) are still fully furnished, with closets full of clothes two or three layers deep, along with a lifetime worth of other stuff.  The kitchen counter is totally crowded with pill bottles (I didn't look too closely) but for me one of the weirdest things there was a decorative glass bowl filled with hundreds upon hundreds of keys.  No basement; just a dirt-floor trapdoor cellar.  The hot water heater takes up most of the space in the bathroom.  The sick sweet smell is overwhelming.  I'm fairly sure it was home to an elderly lady who probably was very unwell (and paranoid) and most likely died there.  The hair on my arms and the back of my neck is standing up; the place had such a creepy vibe to it that it was taking a lot of willpower not to just scurry for the door.  Finally my dad said, "We shouldn't be here, let's go."  I told my parents if I bought that house my power bill would be through the roof because I'd never turn any of the lights off.

Another one was advertised as having a huge main bathroom, so when we checked it out, I was a little surprised to find that the bathroom was indeed quite large, but the toilet was at the top of a set of seven or eight very narrow, un-railinged tile steps.  Talk about the "throne"!  I could easily envision myself falling halfway up after groggily trying to get to the toilet at 1 in the morning.
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hermanne

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #66 on: February 24, 2013, 09:33:32 PM »
The stories about the "shouldn't be gutted" kitchens remind me of a little culture shock when I was teenager. My parents and I had gone to Germany to visit family, and my mom's cousin offered us the use of an empty apartment in the house he owned. (His sister had lived there and recently moved.) Great, I thought, we'll have our own space and a kitchen!

Yeah, the only way I could tell which room was the kitchen was by the tile on the walls. Cousin's sis took everything when she moved, even the kitchen sink! I was shocked, but mom told me that was SOP there.
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White Dragon

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #67 on: February 25, 2013, 12:13:09 AM »
A couple of 'special houses come to mind.

One was a house on a very large (3? 5?) acre lot. The house was a few minutes out of town, very much in the country.
The entire property was fenced in fairly expensive chain link fence because the wife "was afraid of the outdoors".
While odd, that wasn't the dealbreaker. It was the fact that the house was visibly not level and the roofline had a huge bow in it, indicating the entire truss structure needed replacing. It was, literally, a problem from the ground up.

The other house had just come on the market and the realtor hadn't seen it yet.
The house was old and small, but we could have lived in it while building elsewhere on the very large acreage.
The rest of the grounds had...stuff. There was half a dozen or more sheds and old buildings, some would have made amazing playhouses, others needed demolishing. All were full of junk, at least two had wasp nests. The rest of the property was trees and brush and it was also full of stuff. You couldn't move without stepping over some broken axle or pile of wood.
Clean up would have taken months and $$$.

doodlemor

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #68 on: February 25, 2013, 12:55:06 AM »
The first house that we thought we wanted had a spectacular view.  On a clear day you could see across Lake Erie to Canada.  Our banker, also a personal friend, was able to get in to look at it before we did.  He reported that the cellar had 4 feet of standing water - and this house was no where near any creeks.  It was apparently on soggy ground.  We bought elsewhere.

A few years later when our family expanded we looked for a larger house, and became very interested in a rather large Victorian.  Unfortunately it needed new wiring, a new well, a new septic system, pointing up of bricks, etc. etc.  The house was actually cheap for its size, but the *improvements* would have been way over our budget. 

There were two men living there by permission of the owner.  I forget where my husband got his information, but he thought that one of the guys was an IRA member on the lam.  We didn't buy that house, either.


Aquamarine

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #69 on: February 25, 2013, 09:54:33 AM »
The worst creepiest one I remember had an upstairs bathroom that was about 14' x 14', beautiful dark wood floors and a bright Pepto colored toilet smack in the middle of the room.  No towel racks, no sink, literally nothing in that room but the toilet.  To this day I'm still baffled by it. 

This was a nice well built home in the $700,000.00 range (in Kansas), not a haphazardly built mess, the whole bathroom plan was deliberate.  And why bright pink??

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magicdomino

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #70 on: February 25, 2013, 10:10:31 AM »
The worst creepiest one I remember had an upstairs bathroom that was about 14' x 14', beautiful dark wood floors and a bright Pepto colored toilet smack in the middle of the room.  No towel racks, no sink, literally nothing in that room but the toilet.  To this day I'm still baffled by it. 

This was a nice well built home in the $700,000.00 range (in Kansas), not a haphazardly built mess, the whole bathroom plan was deliberate.  And why bright pink??

Clearly that was not a mere bathroom, but a room-scale Art installation, symbolizing the modern American obsession with toilet habits.  I'd describe the great importance of this piece, but it has been a long time since I took that art appreciation class, and can't BS describe things like I used to.   

ladyknight1

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #71 on: February 25, 2013, 10:10:53 AM »
There are two houses near me that look high and dry for 9 months of the year. During the rainy summer season, the water in the lake they are on is within a foot of the foundation. Both of these houses have basements (in Florida!) and neither of them will ever pass inspection for sale.

athersgeo

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #72 on: February 25, 2013, 10:15:09 AM »
When we were moving house a couple of years ago, we had to do a tick sheet of all the things that we were leaving behind in our house (and we received a corresponding one from our sellers in due course), which was...eye opening. I can't remember all the gems on the list, but amongst other things:
-Loft insulation
-Copper pipes
-Bath
-Toilet
-Kitchen sink

Mum and I were giggling over this and thinking this was a fine example of government-induced paperwork (which it is, btw!) - until our solicitor told us about a house sale that was due to complete on Christmas eve, where they discovered that the sellers had ripped out *EVERYTHING* (yes, including the loft insulation and copper pipes), leaving their buyers nothing but the standing four walls of the house. On Christmas Eve.


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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #73 on: February 25, 2013, 10:52:47 AM »
We bought 3 years ago when Obama was offering $8,000 to anyone who bought a house in 2009.  We were looking in an area with a lower cost of living so we could get more house for our budget and told our realtor we preferred either Victorian or before 1950.   Sadly, this meant a lot of really neat Victorian homes that had been rentals and not kept up well.  There was another that was not an apartment and would have been beautiful if not for holes in the floor and a burnt carriage house out back.  Otherwise it had pretty good bones but we couldn't afford to take care of the carriage house, and there were a lot of big holes in the floor. 

The county was offering an additional incentive for people willing to take a duplex and make it a full house again.  So our realtor showed us some houses that really  were way beyond just knocking down a few walls.  Then there was this beauty in the basement of one duplex.  Our realtor and I called it the Sweeney Todd house.



I went house hunting with a friend in her Iowa town and saw this, which I was reminded of when a pink bathroom was mentioned. 



In another house there was a shower in the carpeted den because apparently the man's wife was severely depressed and didn't want to leave that room.  At least that's what the realtor told us. 

So by comparison, the Spirit of 76 wallpaper in this house when we first moved in was really no big whoop.



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Thipu1

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Re: S/O: House Hunting Horrors!
« Reply #74 on: February 25, 2013, 11:07:40 AM »
We moved into our current home in 1982.  That was in the middle of a stock market boom but real estate prices were still reasonable.  As a result, we had quite a few apartments sold to people who didn't realize that these conditions can't continue forever. 

They brought in restaurant quality stoves and gold-plated bathroom fixtures.   They had his and hers BMWs.  Their toddlers were wearing designer leather jackets.  You get the picture. They were spending every cent they made in the anticipation of an eternally rising economy. 

Then, in the mid eighties, there was a crash.  They were out of a job and couldn't make their monthly maintenance let alone their co-op loans.  They had to leave. 

Oh boy, did they leave!  Their childish attitudes towards money resulted in gigantic tantrums.  Their apartments were totally trashed with huge holes punched in the walls, wiring ripped out and paint splashed on the brick walls and hard wood floors.  I believe the co-op brought law suits against several of these people but I can't be sure.