My townhome is just a money pit

I bought an older (37 yo) fixer upper townhome last September and thought I got a good discount on it. Well I have replaced the whole heating and air system, had to run new duct work, had to replace windows to be able to see out. I had radiation treatments in Jan & Feb and was sick the whole time. Finally went to pulmonologist and found out I have mold in my lungs. So I’m in the process of having mold testing being done. They found a couple of places that were black and hairy and did a mycotoxin test which is $500 by itself to confirm it is indeed black mold. I have $700 left in my savings account and $8,000 left to pay on the heating & air unit plus a $3,000 on a credit card and a mo car payment which isn’t too bad. Also neighbors told me last night that 2 of the units’ pipes busted and flooded their whole houses. Found out that the pipes put in all these townhomes were ones used in mobile homes around early 80s and those pipes have since been banned or stopped being produced. So with all my great luck lately I just feel like that’s the next thing to happen is come home to water everywhere. Do I try to get an equity loan or personal loan or refinance to roll the HVAC loan and costs of mold remediation and cabinetry that will have to be replaced in the bathroom. Between doctor, bills, hospital bills and house issues I am about at the end of my rope with everything. I keep going in the hole every month trying to keep making payments.

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@cclewter A few questions in order to try to assist:

  1. Did you have a home inspection before title was transferred? Some of the issues that showed up later should have been discovered by the inspector and you may have recourse.

  2. Did you finance the purchase? An appraiser might have made notations about any obvious problems and most of the time, lenders will balk at completing the loan with major repairs like bad roofs, plumbing (esp polybutylene pipes) and mold (you would have had to have ordered and paid for a mold inspection to know there was mold in the home unless it was obvious to see or smell) If you financed the purchase, check your appraisal and ask why the lender proceeded with the financing if the appraiser noted problems.

  3. If you have no recourse thru inspectors or lenders, I would consult with an attorney. Seller’s have an obligation of disclosure in most states in the USA, but it becomes a question of what was obvious to the sellers.

How much equity do you have in this property?


So sorry to hear a very familiar challenge to living a happy life. Stop, relax it will get better.

The t house association a/be in on everything that’s going on. A lot of whats happening sounds community related. Read your R & R docs again, attend meetings & show them everything that’s taken place since you bought your place. Payments s/start w/the community association.

Don’t do any loans, there will come a time you wont be able to make all payments. If you have equity in the t house, try doing a re-mortgage.

Good luck, it will get better, hang in

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Did they report the flooding and/or mold issues to you when you bought? If they didn’t disclose that i would go after them


The house was empty before I bought it. The owner moved out when he bought a new house but I don’t know how long. My inspector did not report any mold and he was very thorough but I will have to check my home inspection report. He included pictures with issues but I don’t recall anything about mold or pipes being an issue except for lines going to and from water heater and the old HVAC system being installed wrong and were corrected. I will contact our management company of the HOA to see if they are aware of any other mold/pipes bursting. I would have to get an appraisal to see if how much equity is in the house. I think it has to be 90/10 and not sure I will have enough money to do an appraisal without putting it on a credit card. Yes I financed most of the house trying to keep as much money as I could to do upgrades/cosmetic stuff but everything seems to be on its last leg.

One other question, it had a home warranty on it and I was having problems with the HVAC system and when they sent a person to check out the furnace he said the wiring was done wrong and the insurance co would not cover it until the wiring was corrected which was on me. I knew the air conditioning system needed replaced when I bought it which was knocked off the price when I purchased it. But I ended up just having to replace it all and have duct work re-ran because it was wrong. All that had to be done before I could put extra insulation in. The system and duct work cost me $8,200 which was about $5k more than I was thinking I would have to spend. I have receipts of where the owner paid heating/plumbing people to come in and do work but apparently they didn’t do a good job, they were just putting bandaids on stuff it seems.

I’m going to need therapy.

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I don’t have any experience with purchasing a home but I can imagine this must be a huge headache. Hang in there though, things will start looking up!

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Real estate laws are very specific to the different states in the USA so I can only share what is expected in my state, Florida. Unless mold is visible or suspected because of something like odor or obvious and continued dampness in a home, etc. the home inspectors in FL typically do not test for mold. There are certified mold testing companies and licensed mold removal companies that are hired to determine if there is mold present and to get rid of it.

However, the inspectors here always note deficient plumbing and electrical wiring they encounter. Those items, among others, are major red flags for buyers, lenders and home owners insurance companies.

I would check with your bank before you order an appraisal. The bank will order an appraisal for you if you apply for an equity loan. My thoughts are that you sit and talk with your bank before spending any funds to secure a loan. You’ll want to make sure the bank understands the problems you are encountering with the townhouse. If you can’t obtain a loan, they will not order an appraisal; a good local loan officer will have an idea of what townhouses in that area are worth to at least have a discussion about any financing options.

Do you know how long the home was vacant before you purchased?

Another consideration as to how to proceed is to try to determine if you purchased significantly under the market value of comparable townhomes. If you truly got a great deal, making the necessary improvements might be a good move and you could flip the home. You have to add closing costs into the math to see where you stand as far as profit, loss or break even.

The previous owner was likely not required to replace your A/C, ductwork, etc but only prove it to be in working order. Did your home inspector make any reference to any life expectancy remaining? In our area, most will remark that an A/C is in good working condition but will also make remarks if its typical life span is nearing end stages.

Was your home inspector a licensed contractor, or a certified or licensed inspector who belongs to a “standards of quality and workmanship” group such a ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors? Again, some recourse might be available to you if your home inspector missed some very serious and easy detected problems.

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