Who knew "predatory remodeling" was a thing to worry about?
July 9, 2014 3:49 PM Subscribe
I bought my first home, only to become a victim of predatory remodeling.
This is the story of how I got tricked by malicious criminals into buying a house that had been illegally remodeled to cover up multiple building code violations. 50% of the house is unusable, and will require as much as $100,000 in repairs to undo the faulty work.
Yes, the home was inspected before it was purchased, and the inspector did find some problems as expected. But most of the problems described below were cleverly hidden behind finished drywall, carpeting, and concrete where the inspector couldn't see them. All of this was done intentionally by the house "flipper" and remodeler to turn a profit on a house that is riddled with code violations.
After 8 years diligently rebuilding my credit and saving up a sizeable down payment for my very first house, I purchased a beautiful four-bedroom home in Columbia Heights, MN (a suburb of the Minneapolis / St. Paul area) in May of 2013. With a surplus of houses in the market, prices were low, and the timing couldn't have been better.
However, I never suspected that the beautiful walls and finishing work were secretly hiding building code violations and hazardous living conditions. Days later when my plumbing began leaking inside the walls it became clear that I had become a victim of "predatory remodeling". The problems have left me without a working kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room for months, and half of my house is completely unusable. With no immediate legal options or recourse, I am now responsible for completing structural, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC repairs estimated at more than $65,000 before the city building inspector declares the dwelling uninhabitable.
The experience has left me with a crippling amount of debt and despair. Under these circumstances, my investment will never appreciate enough value to cover the cost of repairs. Thanks to a few individuals who knew exactly how to manipulate the system, it is the first and last house I will ever own in my lifetime.
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