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Old 10-07-2011, 11:41 AM   #76
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


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Here is another one, yes that's the roof inside the closet.
My house has this too!!!! I'm so glad I"m not the only one

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Old 10-07-2011, 11:54 AM   #77
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


I will add pictures of some of my fun later. The bright side we picked this house up for less than my wifes minivan and the people in the neighborhood were thrilled to see us move in. We are still doing work on the house and still coming across issues.

Some interesting notes
  • Roof leaked everywhere,
  • Roof vents were instaleld about 4-8" below the openings for the vents
  • None of the flashing was done
  • There were 5 layers of sub flooring, every time the floor rotted they added a new layer
  • the drywall was addative, in some places I had 4 layers of drywall
  • Where the ceiling leaked the previous owner put up plastic sheeting and hung drywall over it
  • Electrical was a bit of a nightmare,
  • Some parts of the house were seeing severe voltage drops due to poor connectiosn
  • My 2 year old running across the floor would cause the lights and outlets in the dining room to turn on and off
  • We still have phantom light switches we are tracking down
  • 2 of our outside doors are intended for interior use only
  • I have to cut the power to the garage to prevent anyone from getting zapped
  • Live bare wires everywhere inside and out
  • The grass hadn't been cut in 3-4 years
  • somewhere under the earthen buildup and grass was a driveway
  • Neighborhood cats had made a home (and graveyard) out of the garage
  • The gutters butt up against bare wood wall
  • the mast and electric meeter had to be replaced after it fell down taking out the power feed to the block. (Homeowner DIY never secured the mast to the houe)
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Old 10-07-2011, 05:42 PM   #78
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


Probably a whole thread topic in itself, but when my wife and I were house hunting, we saw this seemingly cute house up for sale in a beach-side neighborhood. Driving in the neighborhood was nice - well-kept houses and nice cars all over. Pulling up to the house, the outside was a little bland but seemed pretty nice. Maybe we were at the end of our search!

Then the agent opened the door.

We were almost knocked backwards by the smell of mold coming out of the door. Apparently the house had been foreclosed, and the previous owner basically played out a scorched-earth plan to drive the property value through the floor for the bank. They had turned on all of the water spigots in the house and plugged all of the drains, so there was approximately 4 feet of water in the basement (which was finished). All of the drywall under water had fallen to pieces, the rest was black with mold. The water had been pumped out, but it was still pretty wet and squishy down there.

All rooms upstairs had been graffitied with anti-bank slogans and curses on the bank and on any future owners, in gold enamel paint and permanent marker. There was mold all of the way up to the second floor of the house.

We explored out of morbid curiosity. Despite the damage, you could tell that once upon a time this was a beautiful house. Nice fixtures, fireplace with stone hearth, all relatively new construction. All trashed.

I asked if there was any plan for the bank to remediate for the asking price (the asking price would have been a low average value for that property had the property been in undamaged condition). When they said no we shrugged our shoulders and walked away.

It is still on the market, 2 years later, for $10k less then they were originally asking. Somebody at the bank needs to get a clue.
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Old 10-07-2011, 06:39 PM   #79
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


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Originally Posted by gspina View Post
  • My 2 year old running across the floor would cause the lights and outlets in the dining room to turn on and off
If this had been my son I wouldn't have been allowed to fix it
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:37 PM   #80
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


ThunderChicken;

I had a similar experience when house hunting a few years ago.

I literely had to run out of the house as the mold was just about to trigger an asthma attack.

The realter wasn't too far behind me ....pricy house too ..

.previous owners should be held criminaly liable for deliberate destruction.
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Old 10-16-2011, 05:21 AM   #81
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I had to join these forums just so I could say thanks for making me feel so much better about our house!

My husband and I purchased a 1936 bungalow, bank owned foreclosure, last December. We knew mostly what we were getting into but of course surprises pop up when you start digging in and actually fixing things. What we knew before we bought the house.....

1. There was no heat source in the house, no appliances & no bathroom sink or vanity. If it was of value and the PO put it in... they took it out before the bank took it back.
2. The old knob & tube wiring had been updated but not professionally.
3. The kitchen and bathroom were in need of a lot of work.
4. The house had old single pane so not energy efficient windows.
5. The house was structurally sound.
6. The roof was only 5 years old.
7. The laundry room was unfinished, no drywall just bare insulation.
8. Two of three of the exterior doors were relatively new & all 3 were functional.

We never saw the interior of the house in person until after we paid for the house. Family members did all of our foot work for us, sending lots of pictures, before we made the 1400 mile move of a life time. So we arrived to find...

Vandals had broken several windows. When we warmed the house up all the slumbering wasps that had found their way in.. woke up!

The bank had gone ahead and had the water shut off as soon as they accepted our bid but they never emptied the pressure tank. Several pipes had burst, outside... in the shed... where the water heater & pressure tank are located as east TN saw one of the coldest winters in history which happened to arrive just days ahead of us. At least it wasn't in the house & the water heater was not damaged so we really lucked out on that one.

The drywall job was bad. You could (and in a few rooms can still) see where every seam was. Drywall tape was actually peeling up under the paint they slapped on top of it and said good enough. The ceilings in the house are no exception. Popcorn sprayed on loose tape which is bubbled up and or peeling in several spots.

The carpet strip on the stairs is glued on. The stairs, well lets just say they aren't right! When you turn on my closet light, located under the stairway, you can see the light beaming up through cracks as you go up the stairs.

Half of the dining room was carpeted, half of it was wood laminate which was not glued, nailed or secured in any fashion. It wasn't even properly installed as a floating floor.

Until we installed a new heatilator 3 sided gas fireplace w/a blower we had to depend on space heaters which led to the discovery that half my kitchen, half my bedroom and half of my daughters bedroom were all run on 1 breaker. The other half of the living room is on its own breaker. My boys room shares a breaker with the dining room. At least we discovered this the first day!

We knew the kitchen needed work and had seen photos but to give you an idea there is only one functional drawer, half the cabinet doors are missing and the wall cabinets are sagging from age. The base cabinets had been covered with a layer of sheetrock. We fully expected to find rotted wood under that but surprisingly we found wood in great shape with butt ugly contact paper on it. I will never understand the thinking behind that one.... I don't like the contact paper in the cabinets.. guess I'll just drywall over it... Thats not all. The counter tops if you could really call them that were plywood with wallboard glued on top of it. We have made some temporary fixes, brought in our appliances and so forth but we will need to gut it & bring in an electrician so its still on the list & who knows what is left to find in there.

On to the bathroom. As bad as the kitchen sounds this room was much worse and first on the list of renovations. The shower walls were, drum roll please, cheap carboard wall board glued to sheetrock. The tub was not caulked... it was trimmed with what else? Good ol' wood window trim! Needless to say it was all rotten and molded so we tackled that project as soon as heat was established & windows repaired. Down came the wall board, down came the drywall, then we found a layer of peel and stick laminate tiles, under that was another layer of peel & stick laminate tiles, under that was a material I'd never seen before,under that on one wall was a window! It hadn't been taken out or sealed off on the outside so suddenly my bathroom had twice as much light. We actually took out 7 layers of done wrong before we could start to put it back together, the right way. There were also 4 layers of laminate tile on the bathroom floor under the 4 patterns pieced together to create the top layer.

The exterior needs paint, the front & 2 sides of the house are one color, the back of the house is a totally different color. The yard (3 acres) was actually cut & free of debris.

We bought this house cash, no credit cards or loans to pay for it @ 1/2 the taxable property value & 15k lower than the asking price so technically we could pull a loan to fix it all fast but we do not trust the economy and would rather put aside what we would be paying monthly on a mortgage to save up and take care of one project at a time. That way if for any reason I can't set aside my monthly savings the only thing at risk is our hopeful time line to finish it up. This is my house and I'm not giving any bank even the most remote chance of taking it from me. I may be 40, 50 or even 60 before its exactly what I want but ya know.. I'm ok with that.
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:40 AM   #82
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


Major mold problem under the stairs in the basement cellar, covered up by poorly taped wallpaper.

Electrical outlets were mostly wired backwards.

Spring time - water would seep into the basement carpet in many areas.
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Old 07-23-2012, 10:52 AM   #83
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


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Originally Posted by Red Squirrel View Post
- 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.
Could be a multi-wire branch circuit, actually allowed by code in certain special circumstances (but chances are, yours was not code).

I realize this is an old thread but we just bought a forclosure and have had some adventures of our own:

In the crawlspace, some floor joists are shored up with stacks of wood placed directly on dirt.

Every exterior faucet (sillcock/hose bib) leaked. When we had someone replace them, they discovered they were plumbed with illegal PVC, which shattered during the removal of the leaky faucets.

The galvanized plumbing pipes are joined to copper and to PVC in places without dielectric unions or bonding wires, so there's some serious corrosion. The whole house needs replumbed.

Either the water heater or washer leaked at some point, saturating the subfloor under the linoleum. The lino is bubbled and squishy. That's gonna be fun to repair.

Leaky bathtub faucet leaked into wall behind the shower surround. Faint smell of mold just walking in the room, gonna need a respirator when we pull that surround out.

When we turned on the clothes washer faucets, they started dripping. When we shut them off, they continued to drip! Had to hammer out some drywall so I could remove the valves and replace them. Luckily this happened just before the local hardware store closed.

The lights in one room only worked when something was plugged into a certain outlet. Unplug it, and the lights went out. (Fortunately, this was fixed just by replacing that outlet.)

The gas furnace was red-tagged by the gas co, as there are bare wires added by the previous owner to bypass a failed component. There is also some charred paper inside the furnace control box. Scary!

Even professionals made mistakes. The circuit breaker panel was professionally replaced by the bank. The electricians fed a 240V outlet with a 30A breaker they labelled "old dryer". Only problem, that 240V outlet was only 20A! Chances are, they left the 20A outlet there because there are some more illegal PVC pipes running right smack dab in front of it, blocking access.

Reading the other posts in this thread, I guess we got off easy...
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Old 07-25-2012, 03:21 AM   #84
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


Hello everyone! I'm new to the site and thought this thread would be a fun place to start!

Our house was built in 1937. Believe it or not, it was originally the living room, one bedroom, and kitchen. There was a later addition of a bedroom and bathroom and an even later addition of a laundry room. The first addition was fine but the second is horrible!

Most of our problems stem from the fact that it was owned by an older couple that rented it out. All of the fixes / repairs have been done by a landlord that couldn't give a crap less or less than stellar tenants.
It would take forever to get into all of it, but here's one example:
Both bedrooms have FOUR different materials that make up the walls. !!!

But... we bought it at an auction for 18k. It's our first house and we really wanted a project house. :D
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Old 07-25-2012, 09:07 AM   #85
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It's our first house and we really wanted a project house. :D
That may change by the time you're done.

Seriously though, I hope you have fun with it!
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Old 07-25-2012, 09:57 AM   #86
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


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Originally Posted by BabsHoney
Hello everyone! I'm new to the site and thought this thread would be a fun place to start!

Our house was built in 1937. It's our first house and we really wanted a project house. :D
Hopefully everything in the walls is on the up in up.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:01 PM   #87
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Hopefully everything in the walls is on the up in up.
The electrical has been updated but I don't know how long ago. We are budgeting that it will all have to be redone. That way hopefully surprises will be pleasant.

Thankfully it's a rather small house.
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:55 AM   #88
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Last year I bought a cottage that was built in the 1930s, had it shifted onto my property. Some of the things I've found:
- The original house is well built, straight & square but has issues due to age & poor maintenance; the laundry & office added in the 1970s are terrible!
- Rafters in laundry roof were 2x4s cut to create the fall on the low slope metal roof, should have been 6x2s. There's not enough fall for a metal roof, either. Should be a membrane type roof.
- Laundry & toilet windows had no sill or head flashings. Every time they leaked, more caulk was added. Someone made a half a$$ attempt at a head flashing on the laundry one using a piece of drip edge left over from the roof, trouble was, the water just ran down behind.
- Someone added a office on one end, attached it to the existing house with caulk and the flashing where the roof joined the original wall. the old siding is sandwiched between 2 walls. That one was a BIG headache for the moving company!
- Original, unsafe, fuse box.
- Doorway between laundry & original house little more than half as wide as a standard door
- Some windows so low you have to crouch down to see out of them
- Rotten floor patched with drip edge offcuts beaten out flat
- Large area of rotten weatherboards filled with automotive body filler, that fell out during the move
- 3x2 bearers under front porch, replaced while house up on jacks
- 2 different makes of shingles on roof (Pabco on front, Certainteed on back)
- Wiring to outside sensor light run part of the way on outside of siding, no conduit or anything.
- No attempt whatsoever to waterproof around replacement meter box.
- Galvanised pipe connected to copper
- Office has thin chipboard instead of drywall, all the joints are cracked badly.
- HVAC installer drilled a nice, neat 60mm diameter hole for the pipes. Trouble is, it goes right through the bracing in the wall!
- P.O. did a really rough job of finishing the barges when he replaced the original concrete tiles with shingles. The cut outs in the original barge boards are visible below the drip edge, creating a weather tightness issue during severe wind & rain.
- Ugly round marks where holes filled in siding after foam insulation pumped into walls, the wood moves with humidity changes, the filler doesn't, creating cracks.
- And I am yet to figure out why the metal roof on the office has a 300mm square piece of butyl rubber roofing glued to it, its just flat on top, not shaped to the profile of the steel so its not covering a hole or anything like that. The roof is installed as badly as the rest of the office is built!
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:24 PM   #89
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


We knew all this before we bought the property in 1998 (1964 ranch), so I'm really not complaining, we paid what it was worth, location was great. Also, we knew the history of the house since 1972 (family member to family member sale), so we knew it had potential and also knew it's issues. For the most part, our problem wasn't DIY disasters, but a lack of maintenance. We've lived here 14 years now, so these things have all been fixed (some just this summer).

--70's Paneling installed in basement directly to exterior wall studs with no insulation.
--Old fuse box, blowing fuses often
--Trash pile in back yard (including furniture), basement was a big trash can.
--Mice remnants & nests in walls removed, lots
--We found studs placed parallel to the top and bottom plate of a load bearing wall upon removing some drywall.
--evidence of termite damage in garage, rotted to no sill plate, one wall hanging essentially hanging from the rafters
--clogged underground downspout clay drain running under house with corresponding basement mold at that corner.
--antiquated septic system that failed (former owner replaced)
--well pump failure (former owner replaced)
--detached garage attached to house with insufficient roof support
--concrete poured along garage siding, assume they thought it would help water drainage, but it just rotted the siding & sill plate.
--6' retaining wall failure next to foundation of house, dirt washed out next to walkout basement onto siding, water collected at house foundation, siding rotted.
--yard graded towards house instead of away on walkout basement side.
--original single pane windows with lack of glazing
--dog pee in all carpets (luckily I knew there was hardwood under them)
--contractor-built 2nd story deck (9' off ground) with ledger board nailed to the house, 24" on center with 4x4 posts with no diagonal bracing, set directly in concrete. Footings were only 22-30" deep when we dug them out, should have been 42".
--3 layers of roofing on spongy sheathing, holes in garage sheathing.
--garage built on slab, only 2-3" thick in some places, no footings, cracked slab left gaps between sill plate and slab.

But, they hired a contractor to fix up the kitchen and update the built-in units in the living room. This was a job well done....except the custom built cabinet around their current refrigerator at the time, which is smaller than a modern day refrigerator. Replacing the refrigerator will be difficult, or we'll have to alter the cabinetry.

Last edited by Pianolady; 07-29-2012 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:54 PM   #90
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Sounds like Grey Gardens to me ...

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