Monday, April 02, 2007

All my reservations aside, we went ahead and had Archicenter do a full inspection and a pest inspection. We *knew* a lot had to be done to the place... hey, any place no one has lived for 15 years is going to be a fixer-upper! That's a giant, "DUH!"

The owners estimates were $30K for basics to get it livable. Having looked over the place, my bullshitometer was pinging that that t'weren't quite the full picture and I quickly tallied up it up to somewhere more in the range of mid $50,000 based just on what I could see. I refused to put in an offer till we had a full inspection and pest inspection done. Normally you put in the offer, pay a small amount of the deposit so they can start putting things through and somewhere in the offer is the terms that go, "pending inspection showing no major structural damages." If major structural damages are found, you get out of the contract scott free. The trick with that is, if they find something and it doesn't qualify you're still in a contract. Nice eh? So, having had a look and a functioning braincell, I refused to put anything in writing till the inspections were done.

Well. The inspection was slated for today. And my... oh my.... was that ever enlightening!

We KNEW it would need: replacement of the back porch, main verandah, lower side whole wall including two windows, two story weatherboard wall and windows, front door, balustrading and timbers in eaves, back verandah, deadbolts on all doors, several interior doors, total recarpeting of the house, retiling of two areas, entire house needing repainting etc. etc.

Here's a partial list of the top of my head of issues we didn't know about but which were discovered yesterday:
* roof is rusted out and needs full replacement with water damaged assessed and fixed
* verandahs and wood floors have an aggressive wood borer infestation - we knew the verandahs had rotted out and the top planks needed removing/replacing but the understructures are also rotted and bore filled and in the interior the joists and bearers are trouble as well. Non affected boards are still very loose, lumpy/bumpy indicating patch jobs and not even GOOD patch jobs at that.
* trap-door toilet (no, that's not a typo. It's a trap-door to a small WC) is leaking, has caused water damage and the pipes they've used are non-compliant and need correcting
* the 'trap door' is non-compliant, dangerous (what a shock!) and needs to be sealed off and a new staircase constructed to be used to access that level of the house.
* the garage/shed thingie is non-compliant and needs tearing down
* the deck coming out from the kitchen which we were told 'just needed wood tiles put back over it' is non-compliant and needs tearing down - no idea what the strata under it looks like as it wasn't accessable
* one side of the house is rotted and needs replacing
* a few of the windows need safety glass to be safe because they are below waist level
* the plumbing isn't actually hooked up and is non-compliant, the one pipe the guy showed me on the side of the house actually is wide open and spills out onto the ground, it all needs re-working and a water tank needs to be installed
* guttering? what guttering...
* several stumps have been replaced but several more are well and truly rotted out and need replacing
* electricity is still blackwiring and not safe
* insulation needs to be better and may not be existant in part of the house
* several walls and doors are skewed due to sinking stumps
* kitchen needs to be completely reworked... the architect asked how much they'd estimated and when I told him had a nice laugh, saying "well you know, you could spend $20K just in the kitchen alone..."
* trees are in serious, serious need of tending to which means permits!
* carpet in the bathroom, means the flooring underneath has sustained water damage
* laundry, sink and utility room are completely unhooked up and not workable condition
* the powerboard is outdated and needs replacing

Oy. Vey. Can anyone say "ka-CHING!"? (I knew you could!) Game plan is to do a tally as to how much it'd all be tomorrow and put it across to the owners, asking them if they're willing to come down substantially in price.

So Inspection Dudes 1 & 2 leave and Real Estate Dude is supposed to be there, like, 10 minutes ago to lock things back up. I decided to sit for a minute and just absorb. It is a pretty place and underneath all the crap is a lot of potential. I don't mind fixing, if it's not going to bankrupt us and we end up with a nice place in the end. It's a matter of if they'll sell at a reasonable price. First thing I spot a beautiful kookaburra singing and watching me. I *love* them, they're my Favorite Australian Animal and I spent a moment absently wondering if it was a good sign or a bad one since he was laughing at me.

L charges off, loving the space to run (so gorgeous to see his face light up as he tore about exploring) and clambers around on some tree stumps.

I walk him over to the little fairy pond - good photo op right? He looks at the water and before I can nab him goes to splash his foot in it. Now he's used to this little tiny reservoir under our garden tap we've got at home. (The one Bryn was splashing his shoes in Sif.) So he expected the water to be maybe an inch deep or so. Er... whoops? In he went, forward he fell head first, went completely under, came up sputtering, shivering and covered in 15 years of muck, looking like Swamp Thing and bawling bloody blue murder.

I had to strip him neckid, use half a packet of wipes to get him clean and bundle him in the car. Meantime, R.E.D arrives. Bugger. I was hoping to be out of there before he arrived! So he asks how it went and I told him his clients weren't going to like to hear what we found. He starts song-n-dancing around a bit and tries to minimize. I told him flat out, we'd look at the repair costs and see... if the owners wanted to reduce the price suitably, we'd talk. If not, oh well. He spun his line a bit, it's a special property, we've sourced it for you but of course you have to do what's right for you etc. So I repeated, if we could do it at a decent price we would but if not there was nothing we could do to make money magically appear that we didn't have. He said he had a feeling that when these people heard this they wouldn't bother. I'm not entirely sure if he means they'll walk rather than negotiate (that's my opinion) or if he thinks they won't argue too hard (doubt it - they've been Grade 'A' PITAs so far...)

So that's where we sit.

I'm more confused than ever. I'm wondering if it's too late to contact a buyers agent. Maybe they have more research than we can do, could negotate better or better yet... find a great place we don't know about because it's not on official books etc.

I do however feel rather validated - my gut instinct that something was fishy was quite on the money. RED, who'd been playing the conspiratorial best buddy to that point tipped his hand a bit. Before this I hadn't been able to convinced Nic the guys word shouldn't be taken as gospel because he's y'know, a SALESMAN, and his job is to SELL and seeing as he's getting a tidy sum for doing so, it's in his best interests to tell you the house is worth more than it is, pressure you to think you'll never find another one that's better, try to make you think he's your buddy and going to bat for you or whatever else it takes so he can nudge you towards signing the papers.

We've got to move somewhere on the 20th of April and it's now the 2nd. I have absolutely no freaking idea what we're going to do aside from continue to pursue this IF they lower the price or look for a place to rent. (With 3 dogs, 1 cat, 4 birds, 2 ferrets and a feral child. Aren't I a comedian?) Even if we do secure this place though, the guy is on vacation from the 4th so we won't be able to move in on the 20th. So we're either looking then at boarding the dogs while renting or just renting till renovated or ????

I've also got a crapload of paperwork to take care of with regards to our bills, L's vaccination papers (I lost the little blue book I had the papers from Dr. Lucas in! WAH! Tearing the place apart looking for that!) and to boot we've also got to jump through 434,609,324 more hoops for my permanent residency because while the Dept. of Immigration should have realized they needed to review my application like... you know, 6 months ago in October... despite our contacting them and going, "Um guys??? 'S up?" they now realize they've overlooked me and need to review if I'm still genuinely married and in a relationship with my husband or just faking it all to get a greencard. I have a dozen forms, health checks, request an Aust Federal Police check to confirm I don't run an organized crime mob or something, round up various proofs we ain't faking a relationship and locate two friends to write up Stat Decs that they see us on a regular basis and know we're genuinely, legitimately NOT faking a marriage, pregnancy and child. PS. It's a 60 day deadline to get this done.

Y'know. Cuz those things are so damn easy to fake.

1 comment:

Rachael said...

On the permanent residency thing. I had to go back in and prove A and I were not 'faking it' about, um, 8 years ago, and we didn't even own a home together or have a child to show for, and it was fine. You will be fine :) (even thought it is a massive pain in the 'a' to get all the paperwork together). I went in with Alex and we just brought boxes and bags full of 'proof' (photos, bills, letters, etc). Contact me anytime if you need to know anything :)