05 June 2012

DIY: inspection repairs roundup

As of yesterday, Mr. P and I have internet at the apartment... and we are officially no longer homeowners. We’re renters, baby! It’s all creative decorating, no demolition here nowadays!

If you caught the “yesterday” part, then you’ll realize that our closing was actually pushed back from Friday, due to troubles with the buyer’s mortgage underwriting. In practice it wasn’t a big deal, as we could sign what we needed to on Friday before leaving town. But we were delayed in getting our LARGE SUM OF MONEY, which was a little annoying. But hey. SOLD!

Getting to that finish line, though, was rather challenging. As you might expect! But mostly because of the huge sprint at the very end known as the inspection contingency. Those who have purchased a home know what I’m talking about: for most homes (excluding foreclosures and other non-traditional scenarios), an offer from the buyer to seller is contingent upon completing repairs suggested by that the buyer’s home inspector. And for the most part, finger-chewing aside, our inspection went well! It’s just that we only had about two weeks to complete their suggested repairs:

1) Repair a crack in the front porch steps
2) Replace the water heater emergency discharge pipe with a larger gauge
3) Caulk an outside door frame to the exterior brick
4) Replace our flexible clothes dryer ventilation duct with a fixed rigid metal duct
5) Repair the foot traffic damage on the roof
6) Replace a fogged window (indicative of a broken vapor seal on the window)
7) Reroute the master bathroom ventilation from the attic to the exterior
8) Repair some damaged siding on our home

Nothing too bad, eh? Although here’s the thing: you agree to do those things before you actually do them. I mean, maybe that sounds obvious, but once you agree to do them, the clock starts ticking. As we were signing the offer agreeing to complete those repairs, I asked my realtor what would happen if we couldn’t get them done.

“But we’re saying that those things will be done,” she said.

“Yes, I know, but what if something happens and we can’t complete them by the May 31 walkthrough before the June 1 closing date?”

Our realtor paused. Then she said, “But we’re saying that this will be done.”

Well okay then! NO PRESSURE.

So, in order to save money and time, I completed as many of the items myself as I could. The window and roof were obviously out of my expertise, as was trying to patch some siding and installing ductwork in the attic. But the rest, those first four items on the list, I could do!

To fix the deck step, I used this stuff:


It cost the same as a ginormous bag of traditional concrete (which would have been waaaaay more than we’d need to repair a small crack) and seemed as though it would be easier to use, as it fit into a traditional caulking gun. And you know how I love caulking!

Well, maybe it was easier, but it wasn’t easy. There are itty-bitty rocks in the Quikrete that would majorly clog the tip, making it impossible to create a reasonable “bead” of Quikrete as you would caulk. I had to keep sticking a straightened wire into the tip to break up the rock clumps, and then Quikrete would splbbbbbbt out everywhere.

But in the end I got it done:


No before photos, unfortunately, because things were a bit too crazy to stop and think about taking pictures. Total cost: $4 for the Quikrete, as I already owned the caulking gun.

Speaking of caulking, here’s the door that needed it. The left side of the door had caulk that had pulled away from the brick, which could allow moisture to get in to the unpainted wood door frame along the side.


So, I used plain white caulk I already had on hand to fill in the gap:


Easy peasy! Total cost: FREE.

Next up: replacing the water heater discharge pipe. Sounds complicated, but it’s not! It’s just a pipe that screws on to a relief valve on the water heater exterior (see here).

My stepfather replaced my water heater for me a few years ago, when the old one decided to break and FLOOD MY GARAGE a few years ago. To install a discharge pipe on the new water heater, my stepdad used some PVC he had on hand, which was 1/2" in diameter. However, the discharge valve was 3/4" in diameter, so the pipe needed to be the same.

After a long time spent in the PVC connecter section, I managed to find the right connecter, a piece of 3/4" PVC, and some PVC cement to install a discharge pipe of the proper diameter:


Total cost: $2 for the pipe, $1 for the connector, and $5 for the cement. Yes, the most expensive part was glue, which I barely used. The nice man at the big-box hardware store even lamented, “I’m wondering whether you really need to glue it, so you don’t have to spend $5 on that....” But in the end, I did it properly.

Finally, we had to deal with the clothes dryer ventilation duct because we were leaving our washer and dryer as part of the sale of the house. Because of the proximity of the ventilation opening on the dryer and the opening on the house, the inspector suggested replacing our big floppy traditional duct with a rigid metal one.

After a ridiculous amount of contoritions behind the washer in our tiny laundry closet, Mr. P and I had the new duct attached (blurry photo courtesy of the fact that even my camera barely fits in that space, let alone me):


I found this rigid metal duct at Home Depot (Lowe’s did not carry anything similar) for $12. Not too pricey! Though I did, personally, think the old duct was better. But whatever. Not my house anymore!

So, that’s what I did to fulfill our inspection contingency which didn’t involve making phone calls or writing large checks! For a grand total of $24, we knocked out half of our inspection contingency list. Hooray! Just as the realtor said we would.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you how we finished the rest of the list – and in the meantime, I’ll continue to be grateful that our inspection went relatively well! No wait. I’ll be grateful that the deal is done!

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