Back at the end of March, our insurance company arranged for an inspection of the house to make sure that we were sufficiently covered. Apparently when you call and ask for insurance on an 1840’s manor house, they feel the need to come out and see exactly what they are getting into. The inspector cited 4 major concerns in his report and the insurance company followed up with a list of “fixes” that we had to do by November or they would drop our policy, or as their letter states, “we’ll non-renew your policy” in italics and all.
Now, I am a big fan USAA, and I’ve had car insurance with them since 1996! We’ve also insured all three of our houses with them over the years. Our current policy with them for this house is HUGE. I’d hate to think they would drop us over some maintenance issues in a 160+ year-old house that has essentially been abandoned for 10 years. I’d like to think it’s obvious that we are working hard to fix and maintain the house, but apparently we have to prove ourselves to them nonetheless.
With that being said, it’s is already the end of August and we only have a little over two more months to get our act together (not that we haven’t been making progress)! Here are their major concerns and the issues that must be addressed by November.
- Missing Downspout on the right of the house. (It’s not actually “missing”, it just fell down at some point and hasn’t been put back!)
- Wood rot on floor of porches, paint peeling and wood rot on porch supports and missing sections of railing.
- Front porch steps are greater than 3 feet with no handrail.
- Water damage to ceiling on second/third floor.
Strangely, the “fixes” they are requiring do not necessarily go hand-in-hand with the major concerns.
Conditions Requiring Attention:
- There is wood rot and missing sections on the porch (see 2 above).
- The front steps are missing handrails. Please install a railing (#3).
- There is water damage and plaster damage on the ceiling on the upper floor that needs to be repaired (#4).
- The basement shutter is damaged and in need of repair.
- There are tree and vines against the siding that need to be removed.
I would have thought that missing downspouts would have sent up a big flag for them! Not only is it obviously causing our porches to rot, but the water is not being carried away from the foundation of the house. Wet basement and water damage, anyone?
Ok, I will give them numbers 1 and 2. The porch obviously needs to be repaired and it is rotting away along the edges where there is no gutter above it. Also, after watching my daughter on the stairs, I agree that there needs to be some sort of handrail to hold on to.
Number 5 was also pretty obvious. If you’ve seen any pictures of the house, you’ve mostly likely seen the wisteria all along the front. We’ve even cut it back and it’s growing even better now! To be fair though, we don’t have siding, it’s a brick house!
Number 3 is funny because at the time, it appeared there was no current leak which we discussed with the inspector (I think). The water damage that was there looked ancient and the plaster damage on the third floor was where the keys had broken away and sections of plaster were loose or missing. The funny part is that the pictures included in the report that are marked water damage are actually pictures from the basement. I know because there is red carpet on the floor and the only place where there is carpeting on the floor is in the basement!
Number 4 is just ridiculous! It’s a wooden shutter that hasn’t had anyone pay any attention to it for a very long time. The frame of the shutter has started to separate and the wood slats slipped out of their grooves. We picked them up and put them back in place… Unfortunately, we didn’t take a picture immediately, or even in the following month, and now one has fallen out again, so we will have to put it back in and take a picture to prove we are “maintaining” the home.
That’s what the agent said when we called and asked why we were given this list. She told us it is to show that we are maintaining the home. She also told us we could submit invoices to show that the work has been completed. I’ll be writing up an invoice to give to Rich for my repair of the shutter not once, but twice. 🙂
Looks like we need to get to work!
** I apologize for the awful pictures. I pulled them right from the inspectors report and they really looked this awful in the report too!