Hoo boy. You’re not gonna believe this.

We went for the house inspection this afternoon. Right away, this inspector (Bill) was walking around saying things like “Something’s not right.” He pointed a bunch of stuff out to us, but he still seemed puzzled by some missing explanation, and he called John, our realtor, to see if we could try to get the contractor to come out.

Just then, like magic, the contractor pulled up. And boy, did he enlighten us.

This woman, the seller, had a son who was a drug dealer and he was shot down in the neighborhood over a year ago. Then some rival drug dealers fire-bombed the house.

According to the contractor, the fire did about $25K worth of damage, but in the end it was worth $40K in renovations that were necessary anyway. Unfortunately, the seller made bad (i.e. cheap) decisions all along the way and the house, in order to be what it has the potential to be, would basically need to be gutted again and done right. Bill, the inspector, was nodding vigorously through this whole explanation and saying “I knew it! That explains so much.”

It explains a lot to us, too: why she was so reluctant to move forward with everything, why she has been so hard to reach — I’d guess she’s hurting a lot from having to rebuild and having to sell this house, and I don’t envy her situation. However, she broke the law by not disclosing everything she needed to disclose, and I’m not going anywhere near this deal.

I’m glad to know what we now know, and even though I’m sad to miss out on what this house could have become, I’m glad to be able to walk away with a clear sense of closure.

What a freakin’ trip.

We’re back in the market for a house. Preferably one that hasn’t been fire-bombed.

34 thoughts on “We’re back in the market for a house. Preferably one that hasn’t been fire-bombed.

  • December 15, 2004 at 5:02 pm
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    Oh, Kate, I’m so sorry. What a huge disappointment. But go you for looking on the bright side of being able to find out *now* rather than after you’ve actually purchased the house.

    This certainly explains why they kept insisting on going ahead with the renovations you REALLY DIDN’T want them to continue. Sheesh.

    -J

    Reply
  • December 15, 2004 at 5:03 pm
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    Yikes. I don’t envy her situation either, but it sounds like walking away is the sensible choice. Wow!

    Good luck finding a house you like that hasn’t been torched.

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  • December 15, 2004 at 5:03 pm
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    OMG!

    She thought she could get by without disclosing that?

    Yeah, passing on this one makes a lot of sense.

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  • December 15, 2004 at 5:07 pm
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    Yeah, it explains a lot, doesn’t it? Wow.

    I’ve just got off the phone with my two contacts at the loan company and they were both completely stunned. It’s obviously the first time either of them has ever heard a story like this. Yeesh.

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  • December 15, 2004 at 5:09 pm
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    Yeah, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want to live in a house where you’re not worried that someone might forget they already killed the guy who used to live there. “Did we ever get around to fire-bombing that one? I can’t remember. Let’s just do it again.”

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  • December 15, 2004 at 5:10 pm
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    Yeah. Although, as several people have pointed out, I should try to recover all the money it cost me to get this far, since she did, after all, lie and break the law. It was only about $750 worth of miscellaneous fees, but still, I’ll need to pay those again somewhere else, and it’s the least she can do after leading us down this dishonest path.

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  • December 15, 2004 at 5:15 pm
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    No KIDDING. Quite apart from the renovations that weren’t done right to begin with!

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  • December 15, 2004 at 5:27 pm
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    Holy crap. Just unbelievable. Asking her to pay your out-of-pocket costs seems like a given to me. Sorry it wasn’t the house you were hoping for.

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  • December 15, 2004 at 5:32 pm
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    Oh, absolutely, try to get whatever you can out of her. I mean, I can imagine how horrible this all is for her, but you know? She LIED. And she didn’t have to.

    -J

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  • December 15, 2004 at 5:33 pm
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    Yeeech! I don’t blame you for walking away from that one. I agree with those who have suggested you try to get back what you put into that deal to this point.

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  • December 15, 2004 at 5:34 pm
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    Yeah, except my real estate agent just said he thinks it’s unlikely to happen. I’ll get my earnest money back, for sure, but the $500 deposit for the loan processing and the $250 inspection fee? He’s looking into it for me, but he says I should count on chalking them up to education. *shrug*

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  • December 15, 2004 at 5:35 pm
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    HOLY FUCKING SHIT!

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  • December 15, 2004 at 5:38 pm
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    Well, as I mentioned to , it now sounds like getting the money back isn’t likely. But the inspector did very kindly offer to inspect our next house for free. He seems like a very decent dude.

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  • December 15, 2004 at 5:39 pm
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    *laughing*

    You took the words right out of my mouth. I’ve been unable to say much other than that ever since we got the story.

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  • December 15, 2004 at 5:39 pm
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    It is kind of a no-brainer, huh? 🙂

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  • December 15, 2004 at 6:11 pm
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    *blink*blink*

    Whoa. Hell of a thing to keep under wraps. Good luck with the next one.

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  • December 15, 2004 at 6:14 pm
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    Damn!!!!

    Well, it’s an expensive story, but one that will still serve you well at cocktail parties in 20 years.

    You dodged a bullet. A little too literally for comfort, perhaps.

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  • December 15, 2004 at 6:24 pm
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    Yeah, what he said!!!

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  • December 15, 2004 at 6:28 pm
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    wow. That’s quite a story! I’m glad you found out before the deal went through.

    Another house buying tip I don’t think I’ve mentioned before is to check with an insurance agent to find out what claims have been made in the past and more importantly, to be sure the house is insurable now. Insurance companies are starting to black list houses and even people, often for things beyond their control.

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  • December 15, 2004 at 6:35 pm
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    Oh my god, how shitty.

    And those are some dumb drug dealers. Why firebomb the house *after* they shoot the guy?

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  • December 15, 2004 at 6:40 pm
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    Ack! Good thing you found out before you bought it…

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  • December 15, 2004 at 6:48 pm
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    A little too literally, indeed. Whew!

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  • December 15, 2004 at 6:50 pm
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    I was wondering that, myself. ;-

    Hey, if we get lucky when we start searching again, we might still have a house to have a housewarming party for by 3/12, but what does all this mean for your visit? Will you still come see us lowly Nashvillians? *batting eyelashes*

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  • December 15, 2004 at 6:57 pm
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    We were required to get an insurance policy on the house in our name, like, weeks ago, and in order to do that, I know they had to send someone out to the house to inspect it or whatever. I would’ve thought they’d have done whatever research to be sure the house is insurable at that time, but I’ll ask about that when I call to let them know the deal isn’t going through.

    Incidentally, that’s another thing that bewilders me: all these people have been out to see the house for one reason or another, and no one has raised any red flags until today. The loan officer said that the appraisal came back for more than the agreed-on price, and the insurance people sent their own people out to inspect. Surely the latter especially have mad skills at detecting fire and water damage?! I can’t believe no one was alarmed until our inspector walked through it today. Weird.

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  • December 15, 2004 at 7:19 pm
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    Oh hell yes. I have nonrefundable plane tickets, baby! If all else fails we’ll just have to have a preemptive apartment-cooling party.

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  • December 15, 2004 at 11:15 pm
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    That’s really crazy. o_O

    I think your inspector is worth his weight in gold or cookies. Find out what his favorite cookies are. 😉 I think he deserves a holiday tin.

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  • December 16, 2004 at 6:13 am
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    Most excellent idea. I just may do that.

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  • December 16, 2004 at 9:58 am
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    Can’t add much to the comments that have already been made, other than that even if the renovations had been done completely (and well), I wouldn’t want to live there — as you mentioned, there’s always the possibility of more danger to the inhabitants. Drug dealers are not renowned for their meticulous attention to small details like whether or not the house has changed hands.

    Wow. Just wow.

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  • December 16, 2004 at 11:25 am
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    I’m curious, how much does a good home inspector charge for his services?

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  • December 16, 2004 at 11:35 am
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    This was $250. And worth every last penny. 😉

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  • December 16, 2004 at 11:56 am
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    If she broke the law, you should be able to recover the money in Small Claims Court.

    Reply

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