Went to look at this house. On paper it was fantastic. Back from the road and only visible in winter. Kickass balconies off the master bedroom and living room/library. Central air. Double pane windows. Jacuzzi tub. Recessed lighting. Two garages with enough room combined for nine cars. In-law apartment on the lower level (aka space I can rent to help offset costs). Ten acres of mostly-forested land on a hillside (the property climbs 200 feet front to back), with a state forest behind it. Five miles from my favorite kayak spot. It seemed way too good. And, well, it was.
I knew going in it would need some work. It was a bank foreclosure being sold “as is.” Which, honestly, is the only way I could remotely afford it. I can do moderate repairs. Drywall is easy, I have enough electrical and plumbing knowledge that I could do repairs in those areas to code. Any kind of woodworking is no problem. All of which is to say I knew it would be a project, but I considered it potentially worth it considering what I’d have once it was all done.
Walking the property revealed some issues, but nothing too egregious. A few wasp nests, no gutters, some tires and trash in the woods that would need to be taken care of, as well as an old wire fence. The worst parts of the driveway had been patched since the realtor photos, but there were still some cracks that needed to be addressed. The worst of it was the stairs leading from the smaller garage to the lower level door and the wooden retaining wall along the edge of the driveway by said stairs.
Projects, but projects that I could handle. Then I went inside.
Unsurprisingly considering the home had been vacant for over two years, there was ample evidence of rodents right off the bat. Whatever. The kitchen appliances were stained and messy, desperately in need of a very thorough cleaning at the least. NBD. The ceilings though. Most rooms had evidence of water staining on the ceiling, both on the upper and lower level. In the lower level kitchen there was evidence that a pipe in the ceiling had burst. All the cabinetry and appliances had been pulled out and moved across the room and the ceiling had been removed to replace the pipes. While not too extensive, some of the floor joists around the burst pipe area had patches of black mold. Fuckety fuck. I gave up on taking photos. With the visible mold in the kitchen I could only imagine how much more there was over the other water spots.
The final nail in the coffin though was the foundation. In the basement on the front wall we found a large crack in the cement. Homes built in CT in the 80s are notorious for crumbling foundations due to bad cement from one of the main quarries used at the time. The house had been built in the early 70s, so I assumed it would be safe from this. Unfortunately the front section of the house was apparently an addition because it had the telltale cracks. Looking again from the outside showed they ran all the way through the cement wall.
Back to the drawing board. Definitely a shame, it’ll be hard to find this combination of unique and (for me at least) uniquely desirable features again.