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Old 07-18-2011, 08:49 AM   #46
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


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Originally Posted by PLAIN O TX View Post
Neighbors told us Dominion Republic Mafia used to live in our home. We had band aids covering bullet holes in the sheet rock, kicked in doors, and piles of "new, pilfered" children clothing and chain link fence in the attic? We bought a repo and are still trying to undo damage. County deputies have stopped by at different times and apologised "you are not who we are looking for, sorry". I am still trying to find the hidden drug money stash! It's got to be hidden here somewhere!
Scary stuff

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Old 07-18-2011, 10:27 AM   #47
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This is a current recount of things...

  1. Animals were getting into kneeling attic space. They didn't call animal control or anything; they simply went outside with a two by four and nailed it over the hole. I've removed 3 corpses. I had to pry one off the floor.
  2. Drain was run to the shower; and the metal cover was on the shower but there was nothing between them. A good 1/4 inch gap where all the water was flowing right down to the basement.
  3. 3-seasons room built on dirt and attached to the house with caulk; so that one of the inside walls was siding. The door into the house from this room was a scrapped original door. Heat/Cool wise, it was like having a window wide open. They then DIY solved this by spray-foaming the entire door frame; sealing the door closed.
  4. The front screen door had a rail-style mounting system where the hinges fit under a rail and then you screwed them in. The hinges were simply screwed in sitting outside the rail; so the door barely moved and didn't close.
  5. During the fire rehab; they swept the fire debris into the ductwork; and left it there.
  6. They built a retaining wall by half-burying 9 cement blocks in the side yard.
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Old 07-18-2011, 07:49 PM   #48
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


Yeah it can be fun to play "What were they thinking???" after you move in.

Y'all have me beat hands down, but a year in I am still running into Huh? things here.

They didn't like the old laminate countertops, so they painted them.......poorly..... with a brush......in a weak attempt at granite-y stonesque swirls that are closer to wino vomit in an alley.

They redid the kitchen floor by using 2X4 pcs of masonite just kind of tossed down w/ smaller bits and pieces to fill in the holes and ugly peel-n-stick tile of the cheapest kind holding them together in a jigsaw of stupid.

Since they painted the bathroom vanity, mirror, window and toilet seat flat black with a cheap brush (or a squirrel, I'm not sure), they needed some other black highlights so they whacked the white tile w/ a hammer to break 'em out enough to glue 4X black granite unchamfered tiles in their place............. classy

Home Depot was remiss in not following thru with that restraining order that might have kept them from painting virtually every wall a different atrocious color.

At some point one of the front gutters came loose, so of course they reattached it w/ Liquid Nails, y'know, the way the pros do

That worked so well they used the LN to hang light fixtures in multiple places.

The cracked grout in the bathroom was filled with........ well, I'm still not sure, smegma? Some type of gelatinous semi-organic life.

And of course, since that wall was wet inside, and the drywall deteriorating, the only answer was to glue a mirror to it, again with Liquid Nails, the answer to everything, duct tape in a tube!

Some dingdong in years past had screwed around with the ducts so the house was cold (which I figgered when I saw the oversized wood burning stove parked in the doorway between the livingroom and diningroom) so they went to HD again and bought bags of blow in cellulose. Of course, they weren't about to go through all that time consuming installation, the bags were slit open and dumped in a pile in the middle of the attic. Shweet, if you're cold, go in the closet, it has about R-88 in the ceiling.
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Old 07-18-2011, 09:30 PM   #49
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Used duct tape on EVERYTHING. Seriously, the HVAC connections were patched with duct tape (to prevent leaks). All electrical connections were done with duct tape. Repairing holes in walls was done with duct tape. Note all the duct tape was extremely old and peeling, thus making almost everything a hazardous mess.

Used grout on everything. He might as well just poured 10 gallons of the stuff all over the showers and baths.

Used faulty outside wiring outside and covered an in-ground hot tub against code with a dry rotted wood deck.

Covered a old and deteriorated wood shingle roof with aluminum shingles, which cracked and bent at the slightest pressure (Note this was texas were it hailed hard).

The previous owner was an idiot and tried to do everything by himself. I still can't believe what he tried to pull off.
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:14 PM   #50
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Since they painted the bathroom vanity, mirror, window and toilet seat flat black with a cheap brush (or a squirrel, I'm not sure)
That made me to a spit-take. Hilarious.
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:29 PM   #51
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Since they painted the bathroom vanity, mirror, window and toilet seat flat black with a cheap brush (or a squirrel, I'm not sure)
A live one or a dead one?

This thread ought to be a sticky. It is far too easy to be grim about the "WTF?!?" stuff you stumble across in your house. You really need to learn to laugh at how ridiculous it is.

Last edited by Thunder Chicken; 07-18-2011 at 11:34 PM.
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Old 07-20-2011, 09:54 AM   #52
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


Well ... I recently found out that the "contractor" who redid the bathroom in our house in 2007 (we bought it in 2009) decided it would be a good idea to tie the new bathroom into the same 15A circuit that runs the 2 upstairs bedrooms.

- Added "find way to run a piece of romex from newly isntalled 200amp panel to attic" to my Honeydo list.
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Old 07-20-2011, 10:02 PM   #53
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Ohh let's see.

Explaining the pictures below:
One picture shows the smaller of two very large birds nests found in the attic above the second floor. No access to the attic existed, I just discovered this by way of tearing down lath and plaster so I could eliminate old building material likely to have lead based paint, and insulate and rewire.

Another picture shows the rafters over one dormer. 2x4 rafters spanning 13'. No ventilation in the dormer. The entire roof system was ventilated by 4 can vents located high in the ceiling (with no vent baffles on the sloped ceiling) all of which were stuffed full of birds nest. The rafters shown are on 24" spacing. The sag is visible. But beyond what the picture shows, when the roof had previously been done, the entire roof was sheathed over with 3/4" OSB. The sag was present on the dormer as evidenced by the presence of 2x4 and OSB scraps between the old sheathing and new sheathing to fill the gap. Upon removal, ALL rafters in both dormers were rotted to the point they could be crumbled in hand.

Regarding the picture showing a ceiling with surface mounted raceway leading to a ceiling light: The light was actually wired through the attic. The raceway contains a single conductor. This conductor connects the neutral of the light to the neutral of the receptacle seen on the far wall. These two things are on different circuits. The raceway continues to the near wall, connecting these neutrals to something in the junction box where the light switch for this light is, out of frame. This was a relatively minor infraction compared with electrical issues in this house.

Three of the pictures are pretty self explanitory. Wires spliced to knob and tube, masking tape over the splice. A closet with a metal junction box, no clamps, lamp cord wire. An outlet falling apart, wired with no clamps - not visible in the picture is the splice to knob and tube done outside a junction box.

I like pictures, so I'll have to continue in another post.
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories-2f-bedroom2-outlet-falling-apart-metal-box-no-clamps.jpg  
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Old 07-20-2011, 10:25 PM   #54
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


The knob and tube shown in one picture with the insulation mising at a splice... This was at the sight of the larger of two birds nests mentioned in my previous post. The loose wire connected to nothing: It really was connected to nothing and sitting loose in the attic, with all the birds nests which was on top of blown in insulation.

One picture shows a white wall with a hunk of duct tape sticking out of it. Whatever used to be connected to the wire inside the duct tape was there no longer. The wires were terminated inside duct tape, shoved in teh wall, and the duct tape was painted to match the wall. The wires were live.

The light shown was in the water closet. Lampcord was very typical for a lot of things on the second floor.

I couldn't possibly confine my notes about the condition of my house to electrical issues, of course. The house, built in 1917, is on a crawlspace. There are 3 footings under the center beam. If you count that as a foundation system, then that is all there is to count as a foundation system. The rest is typical of the stacks of cement blocks shown. Rim joists rotted away on one side, and all floor joists have been sistered at least once.

Remember how I mentioned blown in insulation? It wasn't black when it was blown in.

The exposed roof structure shown here is actually the good side. But the interior drywall was damaged at home purchase, and this is where I had my first suggestion that I might need to see what's going on behind the.. drywall. Drywall isn't really the right word for what covered the wall and ceiling framing. There were 2' wide pieces of drywall put onto the side walls and parts of the room that were built onto the house with an addition. These were never finished, but rather covered with a fiberboard material that had its joints covered with thin wood strips and was painted. Anyway, the underside of the roofing sheathing on the otherside was worse off - rotted and sagging. This one was just rotted and replaced poorly.
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories-100_2575.jpg  
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Old 07-20-2011, 10:58 PM   #55
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But wait, there's more!

The open stand pipe shown here in the crawlspace is where the furnace humidifier drain went. This is where the sewage came out when it couldn't flow through the pipe to the city sewer under the driveway because it had collapsed in 2 places and had tree root infiltration from the tree on the opposite side of the house (which is about 5 feet from the house. Beautiful tree. Probably as old as the house. But we're going to have to remove it to put in a foundation)

Someone mentioned cut joists for bathtub drains. I have that too, but the picture here shows the cut floor joist at the toilet. Along with half baked attempts to reconnect it to adjacent joists, and the fact that the unsupported cut joist is sistered. (the bathtub joist that is cut doesn't have any such attempted reconnections, and is sistered 3 times. I.E. 4 boards thick.)

When the weather turned cold, we learned that not only was the cracked and heaved driveway a tripping hazard that could cause insurance companies to cancel policies, but it also was one way for rats to come in out of the cold. The body count ended at 15. Might've been more, one of them looked huge as if it might have been carrying a litter.

Okay, back to the wiring since this is worth mentioning. The birds nest shown here is where the wires for the switch that runs the electricity for the garage connects in. I couldn't figure out what was going on, so I just disconnected it all and went powerless in the garage. Somehow, this came out in the middle of the garage in conduit that came out of the slab.

Under the kitchen sink, speaks for itself.

I don't really have a good picture to show the gas leak that was present at the time we bought the house, but the pipe shown here is where the gas came out in one of those flexible copper pipes and was connected to the galvanized pipe buried underground to go out to the garage for the heater. But this isn't the leak, the leak was in the crawlspace. We had the seller turn off the gas, I completely disconnected the garage and replaced gas pipe to the water heater, we discarded the gas dryer.
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Old 07-20-2011, 11:19 PM   #56
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Now, inspection was mentioned. Inspection wasn't going to tell us all of this nor was it going to get this fixed. We had an inspection. Our inspector spent 3 hours in the house with us. Our inspector missed things, for example he assumed the new 100 amp panel was installed professionally. Might have been, but it had code violations such as not being bonded to the plumbing, and never through the entire history of this 1917 house had an electrical permit EVER been pulled.

But the inspection served a purpose. The house was listed at $35k. We used the seller's agent as a dual agent, we wanted to offer $22k but the agent told us they ad turned down an offer of $30k from a flipper who then moved on to another house, so we tenatively offered $32k. After the inspection we dropped the offer to $25k and they took it. Through the inspection we learned that there were electrical problems and no foundation, and as such no bank would ever finance the house and their pool of buyers would be very limitted. They had no liens because the seller inheritted the house from his dad's estate, the family had bought the house in 1973 (for $22k)

The house has a 2 car detatched garage with workshop going for it too, wiring aside the garage was in reasonable condition. The house had new good quality professionally installed windows.

I'll wrap up with some before and after pictures of the roof. With the exception of my brother-in-law helping a lot with tearing off the old shingles, I did the roof myself. I really didn't get enough before pictures though to really show how mad off the roof was, but you can see that I made changes to the structure of the roof over the dormer as part of the work. I've since installed new vinyl gutters, but I didn't get that done before it snowed. I wasn't concerned with perfecting everything as I plan to do the work needed to make the house's structural and electric foundation sound, then pay off the credit cards and land contract, and then get into major renovations - which I intend to have done professionally.

3 of the pictures show the roof before, and one shows after. In case it isn't obvious, the picture showing the house with gable roof over the dormers is after I completed the roof.
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:46 AM   #57
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


Quote:
The main card I called them & asked if they had any problem with my maxing out my credit limit with a cash advance. I heard cheering & a bell ringing.
This made me laugh...

several minor things in the house we bought almost 2 years ago:

-The dishwasher drain was run straight down through the floor and a hole was drilled in the copper stack so the drain hose could be inserted and it was covered with mastic tape.
-several electrical boxes in the basement where connections were made outside the box for some reason
-both fluorescent lights in the basement were wired to the box with individual wires (gnd, neutral, hot) run separately without the sheilding.
-water meter was in backwards (utility's fault) I guess they thought the arrow points INTO the flow?
-Dishwasher supply line was run through an uninsulated cantilever with only 1/4" ply separating it from -20*C nights outside.
-Basement window in slab wall was insulated by a blanket taped to the wall
-aluminum circuit for the downstairs bathroom branched off the outlet for our kitchen fridge which is a copper circuit and a Cu only receptacle. (Reminds me, I still have to fix this *eek*)
-live armoured cable burried with no protection in the back yard to two aluminum sheds
-ceiling light box in our bedroom was protected from the insulation with a plastic grocery bag.
-Extension cord plugged into basement plug and run up through the floor for an electrical connection in the front closet
-the most horrible mess of spaghetti telephone wiring i've ever seen

The worst part: The home inspector missed all of the above.

Luckily I've fixed most of these things. Gonna install a proper outlet in the kitchen for that Al/Cu circuit this weekend to get me by until I rewire the bathroom.
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Old 07-21-2011, 10:46 PM   #58
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Still cannot figure this out? Rotated picture of stairs

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Master Bath, still going...

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Old 07-21-2011, 11:55 PM   #59
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Wow some scary stuff. I had some issues with mine, but nothing that major. I think the previous owners were more or less handy but there was some sketchy stuff.

-Mold in the kitchen ceiling, suspecting the kitchen vent was blocked with snow at one point and it condensated, or maybe there was a roof leak, either way, the problem is fixed and never came back after replacing the drywall and insulation

-Basement had funny smell, the drywall job was horrible and beyond repair (probably why they put paneling on top). When I removed a part of the basement, I discovered the source of the smell. Lot of mold and rot. Decided to remove everything and go right down to bare basement. They had used tar paper over the blocks, faced insulation, and vapor barrier, as the seal. It could not breathe at all. Not to mention I found out this year that the weeping tiles and outside sealing need to be redone, so there's why it got moist in first place behind there.

- while tearing out basement ceiling (needed for the network jacks I wanted) I found some hidden junction boxes for lights, though the way those lights were designed I can't see any other way to do it. They were either designed for drop ceiling installations, or back then hidden junction boxes were ok. They were quite old, probably original.

- some other electrical code violations such as improper breaker size for wire used, and a spot where for some reason, a neutral is shared with another circuit.


More minor stuff:

- kitchen was super ugly, there was grease and other dirt all over the cupboards and all. In fact overall the house was pretty dirty, so that got redone completely

- Bathroom was pretty nasty as well, so that got redone completely

- This house had a pretty serious spider infestation. Now it's much much better. I think just cleaning up, and spraying inside and out with pesticide every now and then has helped a lot.

Overall, it was not too bad, but at the end I did end up putting over 20k into it before moving in. Lot of it was more aesthetics than serious issues though, and to speed up the process I got a pro to do most of the work, but I did a lot of the prep work myself like removing the old cabinets and stuff, and my parents helped a lot too. Being my first home I wanted something completed to move into. If ever I get another home I will probably get a fixerupper and do most of the stuff myself.
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Old 08-25-2011, 04:32 PM   #60
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Here's a new one from my money pit. A previous owner decided that he did not like the 20' by 20' concrete patio in the back yard and so buried it under 2-4" of dirt (which wouldn't take grass at all).

I just had the dirt cleared off and all of the concrete removed and the yard regraded and seeded. Beautiful.

After a couple of rainstorms, a couple of small rocks poked up. No big deal, I just grabbed a shovel and pried them out. What was the under the rocks? *ANOTHER* 20' BY 20' CONCRETE PATIO, buried by an even earlier owner! (If you're keeping track, my back yard was layered like an Oreo cookie, top-to-bottom: 4" dirt, 4" concrete, 4" dirt, 4" concrete, dirt).

Explains why the grade of the back yard was a full foot higher than the house foundation. I spent an entire weekend driving a 4' piece of rebar into my yard every 6 inches to make doubly sure that was it. It was (WHEW!)

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