Good morning to you, at least it is here as I write. I’m up very early. My allergies kicking in after the yard work yesterday. Since I couldn’t sleep anyway, a word kept popping in my head and that was Warranty. I know weird right?! Well I guess I had that come up because of all the things that are going on with our house right now to include ants. Yesterday afternoon I went out and followed some ants that were going from our garden, along a wooden garden fence and along the wall all the way to the front of the house! This has been a recurring thing for us. Sometimes it feels like a mistake to have bought this house.
When we first moved in here, back in November of 2009, we had inspections done to check for insects and other things going on. Everything came up fine. Then shortly after we got settled in we had a major termite infestation along the back of the house and had the company Terminix come and do a treatment along the entire perimeter of the house that cost us thousands of dollars. Neighbors told us that the original builders for the homes here had some pretty shady stuff going on and were run off. I guess they didn’t catch them in time so that Masonite siding wasn’t put on our house which we have had to recently spend thousands of dollars to replace with aluminum siding.
Then we were paying these folks to come out on a regular basis until I started to realize that if we were killing insects, we were probably doing something to ourselves and our pets too! I started to think about how when we would bag up our leaves and yard waste that we might be taking away the insects food etc., but after yesterday, I’m not sure that is what is going on with ants. After all I’m not an ant right?! They don’t think like humans do even though they are very intelligent it seems. I’m wondering if all the new construction near us, the rise in a bunch of folks to include the those the city contracts to maintain the grass by the side of our road and myself cutting the lawn and stuff may have stirred them up into emergency mode. They seemed to be gathering eggs and trying to hide. Most people don’t really consider this, but I have really started to these past few years, that what we do to nature will come back, in some cases, and literally bite us. When our homes are disrupted for whatever reason we move and I’ve noticed this also the way of insects. I try to use the least “nasty” way I can to deal with insect problems because I don’t want my husband, dogs or myself to be affected too!
A couple of years ago, we decided to put in a new shower. What happened is the old shower developed a leak in the floor and we couldn’t afford to fix it properly. When we finally could afford it, we contracted a company named Bathfitters to put in a built-in shower. What a mess that was and it had to be done more than once! When they initially pulled everything out and there was a lot of mold from the previous shower problem. Rather than stopping what they were doing, they just kept going and it ended up having to all be ripped out again. Turns out there was pre-existing termite damage to the walls and an incredible amount of mold that wasn’t caught by home inspectors before we bought the house. There were even cockroaches that seemed to have been asleep in the wall! Wow did that ever freak us out to find huge cockroaches in the wall. After the wall was opened up, a bunch of them came out and freaked us out so bad we taped off the bathroom for a couple of days! Then we vacuumed them up and couldn’t believe they survived! I felt so bad for them! We decided to put them outside. Any cockroach I’ve come across in the house since, which is extremely rare because we try to keep the house clean, I get back outside.
Anyhew, back to the shower. We had to pay for someone to come and inspect the mold and do lab work which cost us almost $1,000 out of pocket. it wasn’t covered by our Homeowners Insurance. Thankfully we didn’t get sick, which was a relief. If anything we probably got a boost to our immune systems! We had a Warranty with Terminix for termite damage but since it seemed to be a pre-existing condition, they didn’t honor the warranty and it felt like we had been paying for nothing. We discontinued services with them after we had them come out and do an exclusion service for mice and rats in the attic. Yeah…that problem too lol. If it hadn’t been for the USAA inspector, we would have had little to now help with what we went through. Not only did he do the inspection for the shower, this professional made sure we had an updated fire extinguisher and inspected our other water related appliances and gave us some advice on how to prevent problems. Sadly that didn’t stop our water heater from going and flooding out our garage later but we appreciated his help.
A couple of years ago, a neighbor had her entire front walk rise up and they had already had numerous foundation repairs. She told me she had a geologist come out and they told her that these houses with straight up slab to soil foundations shouldn’t have been built. The geologist told her this kind of soil was for growing cotton. I don’t know about growing cotton in this soil, but I do know it is expansive clay soil that expands when we have dry weather and contracts when it rains. I could probably make pots out of the soil when it’s wet if I wanted to, When it’s been really dry, I’ve been able to lower the entire handle of a garden hoe into it! After the first time I was able to do that and noticed the same thing in the field where new houses have been built, I started putting tree branches and stuff in the huge cracks, like giving the earth stitches I guess, to try and seal things up. This seemed to help some with what was going on in our backyard.
It feels like every single thing that has gone wrong with our house, the HVAC going, the water heater, the fence rotting out, the existing windows being crap, the foundation of the house being cracked, the repairs we’ve had to do to the inside of the house because the foundation is bad, basically anything water related, insect issues, electrical issues….all this and more is not covered by any sort of warranty and when it is, the people who did the work are less than pleased to honor their warranty. These are all things that go with home ownership they don’t seem to figure in when banks and mortgage companies determine whether or not you can afford to own a home! I want so much to be able to just live in my home and be grateful for the blessing, but it’s hard when it feels like all your doing is having to do crisis management. Very stressful and not helpful to someone like myself going through personal issues already.
Most companies do not make money doing warranty work. As I mentioned, the Masonite rotted out on our house so we hired Home Depot to come out and put up aluminum siding. They contracted an independent contractor to do the work. What are the chances that if something ends up failing on this work will I be able to have the same people who originally did the work come back and do repairs? Not very likely. We talked to these folks a bit, even fed them. They mentioned being put in the position of having to get rid of materials from the job in their personal garbage! I suggested they talk with Home Depot about this and I also included this in my feedback to the company after the job was done.
We’ve had storms since we moved here. We’ve had roof was inspected by USAA. They only found one panel out of place and didn’t want to replace the roof like has been done for other neighbors. So now if we want to get a new roof, it’s basically hoping there is enough damage to call for repair or having to spend thousands of dollars out of pocket when we can afford it. We don’t have flood insurance so if anything happens as far as water damage, I doubt we’ll be covered.
What are the chances, that my new fence is already failing because we chose not to put toxic chemicals on it to seal it, that they would honor their warranty? The two men, both Hispanic, who I talked to didn’t seem sure they were even going to get paid for their work! So now I’m stuck with another bad fence I have to figure out how to repair myself or take the chance at hiring someone to come out to fix. We tried to hire our neighbor first, a veteran, but he didn’t want the job.
I can remember talking the man who did our foundation repair and we talked about a reason I suspect our foundation is having problems is fracking by the natural gas and oil industry. I feel like the house and the soil around it gets shaken like a flour sifter. He didn’t disagree with me. He told me that most of what his company ends up doing is warranty work. After the second time I called him to come out and he “didn’t find anything wrong” I just stopped calling him. We had foundation repairs done on only half the house and probably needed it all the way around….we couldn’t afford it.
We paid over $1,000 to a person who owns his own business to come out and repair the ceilings that were a problem even before we bought the house, and all the problems that they were supposed to fix came undone almost right after they did them. We had them come out more than once to fix their work and it got to a point why bother! We could have taken them to small claims court but decided it was more trouble than it was worth.
Since we started this whole home adventure, one person, the person who installed our HVAC unit, has truly honored his work. It was the owner of Cool Climate who installed the system and when there was a problem, he was the one who came out and did the repairs free of charge.
This morning I decided to “number out” the numerical values of the words Warranty, Guarantee and Word. It was interesting to see that the values of Warranty and Word both ended up with an odd value, 3. How I interpret this is both are subject to interpretation of more than one person. The numerical value of Guarantee came back to the value of 1. I interpret this to mean if you guarantee your work, it all comes back to you. If there is something wrong with what you’ve made or something you’ve done and you made a guarantee…then if you don’t honor it, it ultimately reflects back on you and your reputation. So to me, and from my personal experience warranties and words can be just about worthless depending on their motive for existing. If you make a warranty on a product with no intention of ever honoring it or making it extremely difficult to be honored, why bother at all? Why not just make good and services of such a quality you can guarantee they will be worthwhile?
What I have come to understand is home ownership is kind of a financial trap. There is the illusion of ownership, but in truth, who is the master of the castle so to speak? When I was in the military, we always had housing and when we could buy a house, I always chose to rent. Renting had it’s own set of pitfalls but at least someone else was being help accountable for getting repairs done etc. When I lived in base housing, there were standards to be met and if you didn’t meet them, you could face consequences through your chain of command. Adapting to a world without consistent standards has been very difficult for me. At least in the military, if I didn’t have a lawn mower or something there was a place I could go to borrow one so I could meet standards!
When we lived in Delaware it wasn’t easy living in a section 8 apartment but it was what we could afford and the only way we could keep my cats. We got screwed many ways living there too, but at least it was easier to walk away. I can’t just do that with this house without a high personal financial, mental, spiritual and physical toll to be taken on my husband, my dogs and myself.
The reason I’m sharing all this is because I know there must be many folks out there going through similar circumstances. When you are going through stuff like we are, it can feel exasperating and overwhelming. At times, this house seems almost like a person with health problems. You fix one thing and then there are three other things wrong. Sadly, we can only afford to fix one problem at a time and hope all the others don’t surface too quickly and make it impossible to fix anything!