The most distressing news the Jacksons got in 2012 was back in August when the seller backed out of an agreement — unsigned — that would have made us homeowners within two weeks. We were devastated. We were certain it the house we were supposed to buy.
Just days after that deal fell through, it became apparent that the house in question had serious structural problems. Due mostly to the summer drought and the shrinking and compression of the clay-type soil in our area, both the slab and the foundation of the house were cracked, leading to cracked floor tiles, a bulge under the carpet in the hall, separation of drywall from the frame and fractures above every door and on the ceiling. The front door barely closes and a 1-inch gap above the door lets an ample supply of outside air in despite my best efforts to seal the gap. I’m guessing it won’t be long before we’ll be able to see through at least one wall into the garage.
It’s going to take thousands of dollars to fix what ails the house, and that’s on top of the thousands that will be needed to replace the 30-year-old furnace, central air unit and hot water heater. One inspector also suspects that a sewer line is cracked and/or leaking under the house — under the foundation. My report of perpetually slow drains on the west side of the house is more evidence of that suspicion, he said.
HEAR THAT SIGH OF RELIEF?
In hindsight — what could have been astronomically expensive hindsight — if the seller hadn’t withdrawn the unwritten concessions and terms, we’d own that house and a bevy of seen and unseen and known and unknown structural flaws.
Today we signed a contract to buy a house on the northwest side of Columbia. We’ll know in a couple of days whether the terms we offered were acceptable. The final purchase is contingent, of course, on structural, mechanical, electrical and termite inspections. For now, it’s hurry up and wait for the deal to be done. Meanwhile, we’re packing.
Funny how life’s circumstances twist and turn, huh? What you think you really, really want sometimes slips out of reach — and cracks in half.
Let me hear your stories of near-misses with potentially devastating, expensive mistakes.