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Old 03-14-2010, 11:42 PM   #31
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


Maybe the kid didn't have a computer with Facebook, but still felt the need to 'leave a message on someone's wall'.

Hmm... that was supposed to be funny, but now that I think about it...

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Old 03-15-2010, 03:41 AM   #32
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


I was laid off in Aug 09' and my wife got a good job offer, so we moved from Ohio to West Virginia. Couldn't get another mortgage while we still had our old house, so we found a fixer upper for $12k. I've gotta say its a great house for the price, but I've found some scary/funny things in the couple months we've been here.

1) An attempt was made to insulate the gaps around the front door. To do this they decided to staple those fabric softener sheets that go in your dryer all around the door frame.

2) After my daughters took a bath I found out the tub overflow was set up to drain onto the ceiling below.

3) Two floor joists were totally cut through below the toilet. They used furring strips to help 'brace' the joist.

4) There is a math problem written on part of a hallway wall in pencil - there is some new drywall put up and some missing. The problem goes like this:

11+
7+
14+
37+
19_
91

But the answer is 88. Maybe thats why all the drywall cuts are slanting and not quite long enough.

5) The bathroom sink was draining but pretty slowly, so I used the mini plunger on it. A few seconds later I get hundreds of little pieces of something floating in the sink. I pick a few up and realize it's all burnt up newspaper. I would've like to see what happened there.

6) One of the furnace doors and the service panel door is missing.

7) They started digging a sump pit in the basement. The hole is 3' x 6'! I joked with my daughters (7 & 8) that it could be their swimming pool - they weren't having it.

Well, that's it in the first 2.5 months of living here. The house is 106 years old - I wish I could've seen it when it was first built.
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:21 AM   #33
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


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7) They started digging a sump pit in the basement. The hole is 3' x 6'! I joked with my daughters (7 & 8) that it could be their swimming pool - they weren't having it.

Well, that's it in the first 2.5 months of living here. The house is 106 years old - I wish I could've seen it when it was first built.
My last house is 105 years old now
I actually dug a sump pit in the crawlspace about 32"x60"
Then I tossed the old cast iron bathtub in there
I didn't know what else to do with the bathtub
It actually made a nice sump pit area
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:24 AM   #34
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


Despite the fact that my house is 210 years old, comprehensive renovations and additions were made during the 80s and 90s so it is in pretty good shape. My home inspector missed a few minor things, too (like that the water pressure tank was totally deflated, causing my pump to short-cycle like mad), but the biggie was the wiring in the attic. It was a 15 amp circuit that was properly wired into a new 200 amp panel back when they built the addition in the late 80s, but somehow they had managed to over load BOTH of the old receptacles in the attic bedroom. The lights still worked, so I didn't realize it until I went to plug in a fan and saw that the old two-prong outlets (the only ones in the place) were burnt and melted. Looks like the kids forgot to tell grandma what happened when they tried to plug in the space heater :-P Doesn't really hold a candle to the stuff you guys ran into, though.
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Old 03-15-2010, 01:27 PM   #35
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


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Originally Posted by fetzer85 View Post

4) There is a math problem written on part of a hallway wall in pencil - there is some new drywall put up and some missing. The problem goes like this:

11+
7+
14+
37+
19_
91

But the answer is 88. Maybe thats why all the drywall cuts are slanting and not quite long enough.
This is hilarious! - I also have math problems on one of the original windows it's in beautiful copperplate. Also practicing alphabet. It was in what would have been servant's quarters - and I won't ever obliterate it.
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Old 05-24-2010, 10:22 PM   #36
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


Thought it would be fun to start a thread discussing the worst aspects (and best?!?) of DIY jobs done by previous homeowners.

I'm sure I'll leave behind a few for the poor sap who gets this house after me, but I still am amazed at some of what I have found.

1. We have a woodstove in our house. When we moved in it was sitting on plywood, yup, plywood. Naturally we replaced it, moved the stove, pulled up the plywood. Now the fact it was sitting on plywood was bad, but, the plywood was levelled with about 600 pieces of lego.

2. Every scrap end of wood ever cut by the previous home owner was kept. These were then loosely sorted into tupper-bins and stored in the shed. I'm talking 2 1/2 bins of 2X4 less then 4 inches long.

Anyway, I'll add some more when they occur to me (or encounter more perhaps).
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Old 05-24-2010, 10:46 PM   #37
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


I'd say the next owners of our home will not like the amateur quality of my DIY...but where do i start about the previous owners?

1) kitchen had recessed lights..that were plugged in with frayed wires
2) Beautiful hardwood floor in every room including the kitchen was covered by 50 year old (maybe older) carpet (kitchen was covered by 3 layers of linoleum)
3) main room ceiling turned out to be dropped to 7ft, with two additional layers of ceiling sitting above that...this was a fun project...
4) above the main room ceiling, I found live wires just resting, presumably connected to an old ceiling light from one of the previous ceilings above that. The live wires were covered with duct tape
5) unfinished downstairs shower seals. Everything works, but if there is a puddle of water on the floor I can guarantee it will seep down into the basement from where the tub meets the floor.
6) stairwell was only 5'11" from it's ceiling because the prior owner preferred to have a built-in speaker in the ceiling.
7) shed electrical power is plugged into an outlet in the basement. The outlet is powered by a 20amp fuse. But don't let that fool you, the outlet in the basement, the cable plugged in from the shed, and the outlet in the shed are rated for 15amps. In between the plug and the shed is a GHCI plug outside. I wouldn't be surprised if the cable is not rated for outdoor use.

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Old 05-27-2010, 08:23 AM   #38
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


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2) Beautiful hardwood floor in every room including the kitchen was covered by 50 year old (maybe older) carpet

Sounds like you moved into my house
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Old 05-27-2010, 09:06 AM   #39
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Sounds like you moved into my house
Sounds like both of your PO's knew my PO's, and all three didn't like hardwood flooring. Other than that, I wouldn't know where to start in making the list.
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:00 AM   #40
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


My house was 7 years old when I moved in. The original owners were not the DIY type thankfully. However, they seemed to be of the opinion that once you bought a house, you didn't need to do anything but live in it. I have been fixing all the drywall pops and cracks, probably from its original settling, and doing all sorts of minor things. Oil the hinges on squeaky doors, reattach the dryer vent ducting in the basement, fix a leaky utility sink, tighten bolts on gates, waterproof/stain the deck - and boy do my fence and cedar-sided shed need some attention.

Nothing is bad, but I just feel like, come-on, these things are so minor you couldn't fix them while you lived here? I think 1 out of every 3 lightbulbs were also burned out. Also, cleaning must not have been their strong suit. When we moved in (1 year and 1 day ago) the kitchen appeared clean, but there were layers of grease caked on TOP of the cabinets, that we literally had to use a scraper to get off. Behind the stove almost made me throw up.
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:22 PM   #41
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


I bought a little 640 sq. ft. cottage near the lake. Originally built in 1941, probably only 3 boards in it belong to the original construction. The house was flipped at least 4 times since 2000.

One of the previous owners wanted to put in closets in the "bedroom" (7' by 5' room - our bed touched 2 walls and we couldn't close the door) and the front room. What did they do? Well, they took a Sawz-All to 9 ft of an 18 ft bearing wall, of course! The closet "walls" were assembled by hanging 2' by 4's from the exposed rafters (which were actually not hanging, but in compression due to the absence of the bearing wall) then *hot gluing* in 1/4" pine paneling. Lighting was supplied by extension cords running through the walls. Anybody need some extension cords?

One of the previous owners decided that they didn't really need gutters. It is clear that there *were* gutters as all the hangars and screws were left in place. Did I mention that there are cracks in the cinder block perimeter foundation?

The floors are 2 by 4 joists butting on 4 by 4 beams. No joist hangars, just toe-nailed. Some of the joists ends are 1.5" shy of the beams. As you might imagine, the floors were probably bouncy. So, instead of getting joist hangars, one of the previous owners thought it was better and easier to just get a whole lot of clay sewer pipes, fill them with concrete, and buttress up *every single joist*. Really. Ironically, he couldn't replace the cracked clay sewer pipe while he was doing all of this.

All of the exterior lighting and electrical fixtures were not properly sealed, and were filled with wasp nests. Broken fixtures were abandoned in place. We couldn't figure out how to turn on the front yard light - turned out that the switch for it was in the bedroom.

The good news - small houses mean less to fix, and there are some good people in the world. I have a great neighbor who is a licensed general contractor (why in the world the previous owners never knew him is beyond me). He basically let me do the demolition and cleanup of the interior paneling and sheetrock, and he did the new framing and electrical, and he then let me handle the insulation, sheetrock, and painting. He still got paid, but he basically played foreman for free for the stuff I did, just checking it before I closed things up. It cost about $10k (we were planning to renovate anyway) but almost half of the house was rebuilt, and it now is (more) safe and correct.

The floor framing and the crawlspace is going to be an ongoing effort. It would be nice to lift the house, pour good perimeter wall and piers, and then set it all back down and clean up the joists, but I won't have cash for that for many, many years. So we have a nice little cottage sitting on a rather ugly, FUBAR 14" high crawlspace. All I can do is peck at it, install a hanger, replace a joist, start rolling out the sewer pipe "piers". A boy needs a hobby I guess!

Last edited by Thunder Chicken; 07-16-2011 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:34 PM   #42
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


Sounds like a fun little cottage. I must remember to remind myself: I don't have any structural problems. I don't have any structural problems.....
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:49 PM   #43
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Mine isn't much of a horror story.
We bought a house that was 70 years old. it was an estate sale.
The house was built by the previous owners parents when he was 3 years old.
The man lived in the house all his life, even died there.
It was a beautiful house, done by carpenters who were excellent craftsmen.
Only thing was, absolutely nothing was done to the house in 70 years. The paint on the walls was the original paint. Not one second coat, anywhere. All the wiring was the original knob and tube. In perfect operating order, but never the less k&t. Had beautiful antique light fixtures.
The plumbing probably wasn't as old as the house, because municipal sewers never came along until 1929.
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:54 PM   #44
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Sounds like a fun little cottage. I must remember to remind myself: I don't have any structural problems. I don't have any structural problems.....
Well, yeah. The hope is down the line that this will be a nice little rental property and we can get into a little larger home. First houses are just like first cars, you learn a lot about how cars work when they don't!
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Old 07-17-2011, 06:18 AM   #45
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Inspired by the title of another thread I thought it might be fun to find out what sort of bozo things DIYers are dealing with from former homeowners.

When I moved into my house:
- There was not one single door knob on any interior door of the house
- There was not one single light bulb in a light fixture
- Only two of five exterior doors could close and lock
- The former homeowner drained the oil tank
- every sink, toilet, and tub leaked (water bill dropped by 70% once I moved in)
- Five attic windows were so rotten they either failed to close or failed to keep out the weather
- A chronic leak at the dishwasher rotted a 2 square foot hole in the kitchen floor (subfloor and all)
- The fridge was so poorly maintained that we had to throw it out
- The window air conditioner units were leaking into the walls
- 100 square feet of carpet pad was glued to the hardwood floor
- I removed FOUR TONS of debris from the house and basement - (Leah + shovel + wheelbarrow + Mom's truck + MANY trips to the dump)
- We had to remove six trees that were so damaged or dying that they presented a hazard to the house
- The teenage sons of the former homeowner graffitied up several rooms in the house. Some of the graffiti is spelled incorrectly.

This is the short list of things that jump to mind. I'm sure there have to be some good stories out there....
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