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Waterlogged Crawlspace

Posted by Single Mom in Michigan on October 13th, 2000 11:30 AM

I just purchased my first home on a village lot and moved in 3 weeks ago. Everything about the experience was horrible and now I have to live with the consequences of my stupidity.

During the negotiations, the sellers realtor assured me I would not need a buyers agent or an attorney present, she'll do me right, as she had been a single mother herself and would like to resell the home for me in the future.

We arrived at an agreed price, however I could not use a favorable home inspection as a contingency of the sale. They welcomed me to have an inspection done, but the owners would only pay up to $200.00 in repairs. Knowing the house was only 9 yrs old, I opted to forego an inspection as this would probably cost more than the $200 they alloted for repairs and I wouldn't be able to get out of the deal anyway if the inspection revealed a major problem. My antennae should have went up at this point.

During a minor rain last week the sump pump kept going off about every 15 seconds and I entered crawlspace to inspect. What I found was a stream of water flowing to the sump pump as if water from a hose was flowing into my house full blast. Several days later, in addition to lots of standing water I found the entire crawlspace was completely mud when I pulled up the plastic covering.

Prior to my accepted offer on the house there had been another accepted offer. However, that potential buyer did not waive his right to a home inspection contingency clause, and opted out of the deal. The realtor told me, he had found a little bit of dampness in the crawlspace but she suspected he just had "buyers jitters" and just wanted out of the deal. To ease my fears she said she would have her father (a contractor) take a look to assure the foundation was sound and there wasn't any unusual dampness. Of course the crawlspace passed his inspection with flying colors.

To make a long story not much longer, Last night I had a professional waterproofing company over to inspect and provide me an estimate. He found the main beam of the house has some dry rot and the house has no drainage system (tiling, etc.). He told me if the problem is not corrected my wood foundation would not last more than 6 years and provided me with an $8500 estimate. He also added that because the prior owners disclosed that the crawlspace had "minor wetness during heavy rains", I probably didn't have any legal recourse as "minor" can be interpreted differently from one person to the next.

I cannot afford the $8500 to correct the problem as I live on a limited income and sunk every bit of my savings into the downpayment. Before this house forces me into bankruptcy I would like to try to correct the problem myself. Would any of you know of a website or a book on how to install a drain tile? I do have the aid of my father. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

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