Monday, June 24, 2013

gaps in the doorframe

gaps in the doorframe by misspico
gaps in the doorframe, a photo by misspico on Flickr.

Gaps in the doorframe show how far off square the house was. I was used to how it was so there is a sense of off-kilter like you'd feel in a fun house now that it is square.

House Up!

House Up! by misspico
House Up!, a photo by misspico on Flickr.

You can see JingMen in his temporary fence through the lifted house.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Inspections - Meth Testing

Part of the process of buying a house is making as sure as possible that you know what you are getting. Inspections are one of the key ways of doing this. This is particularly important when buying a foreclosure, since the seller has no idea what has been going on with the house.

One of the things I did was test the house for meth residue. Apparently this is unusual as neither the Realtor's representative nor the house inspector, both of whom were there at the time I tested, were familiar with the idea. I ruled out the option of having a test done because it requires state certification and the local company that used to do it just lost their certified employee. I did a little bit of research into test kits and picked a product called MethAlert, which is a quick screening test than you can run yourself in a few minutes. The main drawback of the test is that it only registers to 15 µg and Oregon will require homeowners to decontaminate if there is contamination present at a level of µg. However,  most properties I've heard of are far more contaminated than that (plus the instructions tell you how to find the most-likely-to-be-contaminated areas.) Also I felt I could carry out the test accurately and didn't feel so comfortable with some of the more accurate ones given that I'd be in a messy ad-hoc test area, not a lab.  Plus it was inexpensive and simple enough to do multiple tests for confirmation.

Needless to say, my house tested clean or I wouldn't have bought it. However my friend sent me a link today to an article about a family a bit south of here who didn't test in advance and weren't so lucky - Oregon Meth House Owners Settle with Freddie Mac

Friday, June 7, 2013

Dehumidifier = Magic

Given how damp and musty the whole house is, I bought a dehumidifier. After reading a bunch of reviews, I picked the SoleusAir Energy Star 45 Pint Dehumidifier, #DP1-45-03 I'm trying to buy efficient appliances and fixtures for the house when ever I can - although I'm sure that at some point I'll come up against a place where I can't get the function I want at a price I can afford. It actually had pretty-mixed reviews, but that seems to be par for the course for dehumidifiers at this point. Which is rather disappointing, because I'm pretty sure the dehumidifier I bought 20 years ago is still drying out my neighbor's basement. It did lose a wheel from our rolling it back and forth across the street depending on whose basement was flooded (until I got the problem taken care of - her basement was hopeless, it had literally been built with a small creek running through it so people would have somewhere to keep their milk cool.)

Anyway, after a couple weeks of dehumidifying, my house smells significantly less musty and is staying drier. Living there actually seems like a reasonable idea (which is a good thing, since I need to move out of my apartment in a week.) I still need to get a hose so it won't stop when the pan fills (and the drain pan is really small), but it's been such an improvement just running to full once a day. Of course, once the house isn't sitting on the ground and I get the sump pump fixed, things will be even better!

(Disclaimer: If you actually follow the links and buy something, I get affiliate commission from Amazon - I'm not holding my breath.)