This Cold House

As we looked at other houses and waited to see if the short sale would work out, the previous owners had moved out. There’s lots of details that I’m purposely avoiding in order to respect their privacy.

The terms of our contract required the sellers to keep the utilities turned on until the time we closed and took possession of the home.  However, the financial situation of the previous owners made this impossible.  Ultimately, the gas and water utilities were both shut off. The electricity remained on.

Without natural gas, the house was simply not heated, and in the coldness of winter weather the copper water pipes had all frozen.  Each time we renewed our contract (approximately monthly), I asked to view the inside of the house again with our realtor.  Many of those times I could see frozen water sitting in the toilets.  It was very discouraging.

With the electricity on, the sump pump could at least keep the basement dry, so that was a tremendous blessing.

In the Spring, when the sale seemed likely, we required that the utilities all be turned back on in order to perform an inspection.  When they turned the water back on, streams of water poured from the ceilings in the kitchen, the garage, and the living room.  The copper pipes had obviously burst in many places.  It was heart-breaking.

This set off a chain reaction of gathering many estimates and renegotiating with the sellers, their bank, and all of the other lenders involved in the short sale.

Eventually, we renegotiated a new short-sale offer to accept the house as-is.  I was willing to put in some sweat equity, and it was obvious that the seller did not have the means to do any proper repairs to the home.   We lined up our financing and eagerly awaited the closing date.

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