Ah, the joys of being a first-time homebuyer.
The whole experience is exciting. Each step along the way can be exhilarating: deciding that you want to buy your own place, searching for the right neighborhood, touring homes for sale, making an offer on a home you like, and finding out that the offer was accepted.
Of course, when the offer is accepted, there are a few other details to go through. Among other things, you’ll want to get an inspection done and have a final walk-through before closing. By that point, there shouldn’t be any big surprises if you’ve gotten a good look, right?
Well, that’s what one couple apparently thought as they were in the process of closing a purchase of their first home. However, these first-time homebuyers were dealt a fun surprise, which I’ll share in this 23rd installment of the Squirreling Gone Wild Series.
So, the homebuyers were a classic couple: single in their late 20’s, living in the city as young professionals, they met each other and fell in love. After a few years, they got engaged, and then they got married. Soon after marriage, they decided to buy a home in the suburbs. I didn’t ask, but my guess was that this was in anticipation of starting a family.
Anyway, the wife wanted to live closer to her parents, and the guy agreed to it (or just dealt with it, which again wasn’t something I asked!). They picked a subdivision in this suburb which was a bit older, and a few miles from her parents’ house. Naturally, the home was a bit older as well, but appeared to be in good shape. Surprisingly good shape. They did note that the sellers had interesting choices in furniture and placement of furniture, but wrote that off as unimportant, since as buyers they of course would be having their own furniture.
After having their offer accepted, the couple had an inspection done on the house. The inspection revealed a few things that didn’t catch their eye originally, but could have if they looked carefully. I don’t recall what those were, from the original story, but I remember that it did make them wonder about the sellers. This was exacerbated by the sellers’ “nickel and dime” approach in dealing with the maintenance issues. However, the couple really liked the house, and they were so excited about it that they settled for what the sellers were willing to do. Besides, during these times, real estate had been steadily increasing in value.
Eventually, they were set to move in. They just had to go through the “formality” of the final walk-through before closing. Everything seemed taken care of, but it looked like the owners still hadn’t moved everything out. Some of the furniture was still in place, particularly in the family room. It was still in the same awkward layout that it had been before, though most of the rest of the house was empty. It seemed strange, but they were assured that it would be gone upon move in. They didn’t think anything more about it.
Then, they closed the sale, and got the keys. They got to their new home, their first home, and walked in to find…..a living room with massive stains all over the carpet.
The lightbulbs went on in their heads right away. These stains were the reason why the furniture was in such a strange layout, and was still present upon the home being sold.
Apparently, the stains were from pet urine. Lots of it. TONS of it.
As I recall the story, they eventually pulled out the carpet and found that the pet urine had seeped under the carpet into the floor boards. It was all over the room, right where the furniture was awkwardly placed. Messes were even elsewhere in the house, though apparently it was covered up in a less obtrusively. Now, I’m allergic to dogs and cats, and probably have less tolerance for pet disasters than the average person – so to me, this sounded disgusting. At least it didn’t smell, but that indicates that the stains were probably quite old. Maybe years old.
The prior homeowners were so cheap, that they couldn’t even replace the carpet when they lived there. Rather, they covered it up and dealt with it. Not only did they just deal with it, they stayed cheap as they strategically positioned furniture in such a way that the buyers had no idea that there were big problems.
Can you imagine being that sneaky, that shameless, just to save a few bucks up front? It reminded me of the people from Squirreling Gone Wild #10 who saved a few bucks by serving spoiled food.
From what I remember, the buyers thought that the sellers were moving up to a newer, bigger, more expensive house. So presumably they had some money….they just didn’t want to spend it, and weren’t transparent with the sellers.
I have to admit that I think it would have been kind of funny to see the looks on the couple’s faces when they saw the carpet. I can only imagine the wife’s face when she saw those stains J
Still, I did feel really bad for them, as they were jerked around by the bad cheapskate owners. One can be a good cheapskate, but they were bad cheapskates for sure!
Lesson learned: If anything seems suspicious in a home sale, then be suspicious and do your due diligence.
My questions for you:
- What would you have done in their situation?
- If you’ve ever had a home inspection done, have you encountered one where there have been red flags? Maybe you’ve heard of such situations as well.