Monday, August 06, 2012

I used to like rollercoasters

But this one I'm on right now has got to pull into the station soon. 

We were so close - but the deal on Mom's house fell through.  Why?

Because the home inspector was a jerk and the buyer was a dick.

SO - here's how it happened:
  • Buyer makes an offer - $50K.  The house is listed at $55K.
  • Mom counters - $52K
  • Buyer accepts contingent on getting the job at the college.
  • Buyer gets the job
  • Appraiser comes - no problems.
  • Home inspector comes - issues a report.
  • Based on findings in the report, buyer comes back with new offer of $45K
  • Mom and I say 'to hell with that' - we'll do $50K
  • Buyer makes final offer:  $46.5K
  • Mom tells him to pound sand.
  • Buyer walks.
"What in the world was in that report," you must be asking.

Was it dry rot?  Poor foundations? Contaminated water?  300 feral cats kept in a bedroom with no light or air?

No.  It was things like:
  • No rain gutter on outside edge of garage.  Okay - maybe $150 to fix.
  • Two cracked storm windows on second story.  Fine - maybe $100 with a glazier.
  • Hand rail does not extend the full length of stairs.  Okay - true.  But this house was built in 1910 - before the Americans with Disabilities Act.  And let me tell you something, buddy - this house was tricked out with every mobility appliance for the last 15 years that you can imagine - including a stair climber.  The hand rail - or 'bannister', as we luddites call them - was only ever designed to run up to where it meets the second floor hallway because that's how houses were designed and built back then, genius.  I know because I own one - and my handrail only goes 7/8 of the way too.  But okay - we're talking maybe another $75 to fix.

    (My running tally is $325 so far - how does that match with yours?)

    but you ain't heard nuthin' yet....

  • The inspector actually wrote - and on my mother's soul, I am not making this up - "Electric stove is not attached to the wall.  This creates a hazardous condition in that a child standing on the stove top could cause the stove to topple."
Let's dissect that last bit - shall we?  

First of all - there hasn't been a 'child' in this house for 19 years. Let alone one that would be stupid enough to climb on top of the stove with my mother within earshot.  She has built-in sensors for that kind of shit - she will hear your shoes leave the ground and have you hanging by an earlobe before you even know what happened.  Back in my day, you'd have a two week bruise on your vaccine scar from where she ground her bony ass knuckle into your bicep all the while asking you when your brain had ceased to function.  But you find you are unable to answer her because the great white sword of pain from that knuckle is using a wood burning kit to etch a permanent message into your brain - it reads: 

"If YOU EVER do this again, you will end up as a bad smell in the shed - CAPICHE??"

Not bad for a bony white lady from East Canton.

Next - I have seen this stove and it ain't going nowhere.  It is a 34" wide electric range in Almond with cast iron burner plates.  The oven heating filament once fractured - causing bolts of lightning to shoot out of the oven, arcing to anything metal in the kitchen and laundry room.  It was like fighting Thor, the God of Thunder.  This thing was arcing to the exposed water pipes, the sink - you name it.  And that bad boy never budged.

Finally, and I hate to say this - but I feel obliged, given the right as someone who survived growing up with my parents during the 1970s, potentially one of the stupidest decades in human history to grow up in - if your child is dumb enough to get up on top of your stove and do whatever is required to make a stove actually topple (Brian and I are trying this later during cocktails, as a scientific inquiry), then you probably didn't need that child advancing your particular gene pool anyway.

Had the child perished valiantly trying to save the cat or a younger sibling from the wrath of Oven-Thor, I might have some compassion.  But,  uh-uh. Dumb is dumb.

As usual- I digress.

That was mainly it - less than $400 in 'needed' repairs.

Had he come back to my mother and said - "Hey - whaddya say we call it $51K and call it a day?"" - there might have been a chance.  But a $7K reduction?  This is not a six-figure house, buddy - it's only part way  past being five.

Now you're just a cheap dick.

This is a retired 71 year old widow who just declared bankruptcy after 15 years of my father's various brushes with death.  She dealt with so much that we became almost blase' about it all.  On the night he died, my brother called as they were disconnecting his breathing tube and I told him to call me in the morning because Dad was 'probably just being dramatic again.'  She's been through a lot.

And this is all she has.  And you're going to try to weasel another $7K out of her hands?

And your job will likely pay you more in a year than you are paying for this house.

And you are single and you don't even have any potentially stupid appliance-climbing progeny to worry about.

You. are. a. massive. dick.

The realtor said that when she told him Mom wouldn't budge he simply walked away.  Nothing said - he just walked. 

Mom saw the realtor at the church they both attend on Sunday, and when we spoke later in the day she reported that both the listing realtor and the buyer's realtor were exploring possible gifts to send the inspector that would explode upon opening.

As disappointed as we all are, I'm proud of Mom for standing her ground.  She has never had to deal with anything like this - Dad always did it for us all.  And she calls me to weigh in on any decision she has to make. She says she's confident but still values my opinion.

I reassure her when she gets despondent - it won't be long - we'll get you here. 

And as far away as we both are right now - I've never felt closer to her.


Brian said...

New stoves come with a bracket that attaches to the floor under the stove to keep it from tipping forward. Once the bracket is attached to the floor, the stove slides back into the bracket. The problem is not that someone would climb up onto the top of the stove, it's that weight put on an open oven door will roll the stove forward because of the leverage from the open door and it can fall on a small person. It's a legitimate safety concern. A lot of the brackets never get installed though.

Peter said...

Your Mom is a tough cookie, and I ncongratulate on that.

Cubby said...

Maybe New York state has weird laws or something, but in the states in which I've purchased houses (Ohio, Illinois, and Florida), a home inspection report listing a handful of extremely minor defects does not allow the buyer to renegotiate the contract. If the seller corrects the defects, the contract should be enforceable.

If a buyer in NY can wiggle out of a contract so easily, what's the use of having a contract in the first place?