Thursday, April 19, 2012

Money Pit

When we took the plunge and moved to Dallas I  assumed that when we got out on our own we would be in an apartment as usual. If we were really lucky we would rent a house. This just proves I shouldn't think so much.

The husbeast came to me after we had been living in a friends spare room for a couple of months and asked if we could buy a house. I am not sure if I laughed at him or not, but I probably wanted to. I told him no one in their right mind would ever give us a loan to buy a house. This sentiment did not deter him and he asked if he could get a loan if we could buy a house.

I was reluctant to take such a large step so soon. We weren't what you would call stable financially at this point. It seemed like a really big risk. He is very persuasive however, and soon I was on board with the plan. We were going to try and buy a house.

I honestly didn't think he had a chance in hell of getting a loan, so I wasn't really worried too much about it. This yet again teaches me not to think so much, and never ever underestimate the power of a determined husbeast. He managed to secure a loan in a matter of a month.

So we bought a house. I found it online, we secured a realtor we liked through a friends recommendation, and before we knew it we were home owners.

Now if you have never bought a house before, you may think this is all shiny new and exciting. You would be correct. It is also an experience to point out how incredibly stupid and unprepared you really are. The list of things we will do differently next time is long. Very, very, very long.

Everything was wonderful about the house for about the first 8 hours of owning it. When we showed up the day after signing the papers so we could start doing some demo on built in book cases and plan for painting to happen before we moved in the next week, we discovered our first major problem. The air conditioner had died sometime the night before.

This was a sign of things to come. The house had a home warranty on it and so we got someone out there ASAP since it was early July in Texas. Working on demo and painting without AC in the summer in Texas is stupid. The guy fixed it only because we were new owners and he couldn't blame us for the poor care the previous owners gave the unit.

That AC lasted about two years more before we had to replace it entirely. During those two years we had to have it repaired a dozen or so times. When time to replace it came the home warranty company refused to pay for it because they had failed to tell us a vital piece of information about maintenance and declared our warranty null.

A year later we had to have the heater replaced. The heater had never worked and it didn't really bother us. Unfortunately the AC people who replaced the AC unit for us told us that if we didn't replace the heater right away, when we got around to it we would have to replace the brand new AC again as well. Something about compatible inside and outside units, and new laws and regulations having been passed causing them to all but discontinue making the units we had installed not a year earlier.

Needless to say that entire fiasco cost us $10,000. Lesson learned on checking the condition of the heating and AC units in the house.

Also while all of this was happening we discovered some rather serious plumbing issues. The pipes were so old that they started to basically come apart. We had several plumbers out to our house to fix the kitchen sink, which remained unusable for 9 months. We then had to have a plumber out to fix the toilet, and in doing so he shook loose a pipe and from that  moment on the bathroom would flood the house if you used that shower.

It took us a few years to have that pipe fixed because it was super expensive and we were broke. In the end because they had to drill into our slab to get the broken pipe insurance paid for all of it. However in determining that the slab had to be drilled into the plumber first had to remove most of a wall in the bathroom and then the wall on the other side, which was our living room wall.

Now again insurance paid to replace my floors, and my walls, and the pipe itself, but this was still an expensive project that revealed some new problems. For example it showed that the studs are uneven in the living room. When we were replacing the drywall we found that we could not lay it evenly because of this. It was an issue that had always been hidden by the wood paneling that was on the wall previously. 

We also discovered that the previous owners had cut corners in flooring the house. Also wiring the house. That is enough to be a post in itself. In the end the price tag on the repairs were close to $20,000 and we are not done. There is still a hole in our bathroom wall that we have to pay to have repaired. At the time we were doing the work ourselves, and realized in the end we didn't have the know-how or give-a-damn to fix the hole and retile that shower.

The roof currently is in fairly desperate need of being replaced, and we have already filed an insurance claim on that. We are just having to work up the money to cover our deductible on that whole thing. Once the roof itself is fixed we can then file a claim on the damage to the inside of the house from the bad roof.

Most recently though our problems have again dropped into the plumbing arena. The master bath, which is the only functioning bath, has been having issues with us being able to turn the water off. It is pretty much a feat of strength to get the damn water to shut off. This morning I couldn't turn the water on either. I in the end had to have the husbeast both start the water for me and shut it off when I was done.

The husbeast thinks it is just bad washers, but I think with our luck it is much more complicated than that. There is a possibility it is the valve and we will have to cut off and replace the valve. I am not really certain we will be able to do this on our own.

I also am afraid this will put a hole in the bathroom wall, rendering this shower also unusable until the hole is repaired. For those of you keeping count at home that means two out of two showers in our house will be unusable. That makes things awkward since showering is sort of a necessity.

If my washing machine breaks I can go to a laundromat, but what do  you do if all of your showers stop working? This isn't really an easy problem to fix. Perhaps that is why I am dreaming about taking showers in the dressing rooms at Target.

So while I love our house, I hate it too. It has been nothing but one problem after another from day one. It has so many problems with it, that short of winning a small lottery I fear the house will never actually be fully functional. I fear that we will never be able to sell it and come out even because we will never be able to afford to fix it enough to have someone want to buy it for what we have into it.

Really though, right now what would make me happy is simple. I just want to be able to take a shower without assistance to turn the water on and off.

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