Thursday, July 1, 2010

I'll Huff and I'll Puff and I'll just watch your house fall down because it's a piece of crap...

As our frustrations about apartment living continue to build momentum, we've been spending our weekends for the last month or two looking at houses. Overall, we haven't been having much success (obviously, since we're still here). There have been three houses that have caught our attention (okay, I lied - there have been more than that, but only three that counted because the rest were the 'fun' open houses we went to of houses well beyond our price range).

House 1 of 3: We eventually ruled out because of the following (today is all about the listing apparently...)
1. Lack of a front closet. This sounds so stupid, but in our place in Toronto we didn't have a front closet and it got pretty annoying - especially in a Canadian winter.
2. The fact that there's no door leading directly to the backyard. This will prove to be an issue when it comes to Toby. While it's not a far walk, it would be an ongoing pain in the ass to have to walk him out to the backyard everytime he needed to do some business. Most humans with pups tend to have a door that goes right into the backyard which they use to let the pooch out and in. This is the kind of convenience we're looking for here.
3. It's kind of an illegal duplex. There's a full apartment in the basement, but it's not zoned as a property that is legal to have such a thing. The current owners rent to some pot-smoking college students. So to live there we'd either continue with the trend of the illegal tenants or look into getting the house all up-to-legal-standard - and I looked into it? It's a pain in the ass. I'd rather carry on with the illegal activity and be all super-badass.

House 2 of 3: Is awesome - so awesome that it sold right out from under us. So sad.

House 3 of 3: Is one of those houses that we knew would not be with us for too long. It's not an exceptionally large place, but it had just been flipped and was located halfway between the university and the college - meaning we'd live there for 3 or 4 years and then use it as a rental property for students. So we went back to look at this place for a second time. It was at this point we got a copy of the prelisting home inspection arranged for by the seller. The realtor who was showing us the house decided to be helpful and show us the two small things that the inspection references. I took a copy of this inspection for myself so that I could comb it through, and these are the alarming things I found, no thanks to the realtor. - (Yay! Another list!)
1. The first page does a lot of talking about how "the water and runoff drain should be aimed away from the foundation to reduce the risk of water infiltration".
Off to a good start....
2. "The finishing trim on several of the windows are poor". This is one of the things the realtor decided to point out to us. This? Is an understatement. In some spots there was about an inch of space between the trim and the window. The realtor was trying to justify it by explaining that there was plenty of materials under the siding to have the water just slick right down to the base of the house (where, apparently it's aimed INTO the foundation and likely to result in water filtration). He was also helpful in pointing out that the house next door was close enough that we'd need some pretty vicious wind and rain to affect these windows at all. Nice try, Mark.
3. The level of insulation in the attic is substandard - get an insulation contractor in to quote you asap. It's always a good sign when by page two of the half-assed inspection they advise you to start consulting contractors.
4. Under the heading for the foundation wall - "Mortar joints are deteriorating". This is another thing that realtor Mark decided to show us - Ryan went along for the trek to the back part of the basement where as he put it "The wall was crumbing". Can we say $$$??
5. My personal favourite: (also? one that Mark was not inclined to point out to us upon our visit) "Basement floor joists and beams are not standard style of construction...repairs have been undertaken by different owners over the years and workmanship appears substandard...reinstall proper posts or bearing walls on some of the stress points." While it's typical to form for me to have some smartass comment in response to this, I truly have no words this time. All I can say is good luck selling this house.

There were other smaller things identified in the prelisting inspection, but the inspector had identified right in the start that it was only a 2-3hr inspection and was not inclusive of building code standards - so I can only imagine what else would come up with a proper inspection. It's unfortunate that the real estate world is now inundated with people who are looking to make a quick buck by flipping houses without having the expertise to do it properly. Window trim we would've been able to deal with - and the fact that the furnace is likely to die out in the next 2-5 years we could handle as well...but mortar and joists are a little more than we're looking to handle at this point in time.

Back to the MLS listings.....

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