Welcome to the joys of home ownership.
Given that the amount of repairs is going to be quite high, you might well consider consulting a real estate attorney. In CA, all defects must be disclosed to the buyer, and if they weren't disclosed to you, you might have an actionable case against both the seller/builder and the selling agent. It's a complicated area, and only a good attorney would know for sure.
Keep in mind that the agent you bought from is actually working for the seller unless you specifically hired them as a buyer's agent, so I wouldn't talk to them prior to consulting an attorney.
Also, this the stuff that a House Inspector is supposed to find. He should have noticed the bad pitch on the decks.
Oh God. Hope everything will be OK soon. House problems are always a disaster, hate them all. Be strong.
Without having seen the problems on the house, I'll tell you up front: you most likely need a different contractor. You should never commit to home repair without at least two and ideally three or four estimates from contractors who don't know each other and have no contact with each other.
Fixing the deck shouldn't cost that much; repairing slope and adding in a membrane shouldn't destroy the slate tile, and the only way it'd cost that much would be if they were replacing the slate tiles. Which, if they do, they will take your old tiles away, and use them in a different project, and charge those people full price for new tiles. (And the "new" tiles they use on yours will probably be the tiles they took from someone else.) It shouldn't take more than about a week's work to actually complete the repairs. Unless there's something really funky going on (which I doubt there is), that estimate's way over what it should cost.
The water damage ... eh. I can't give you solid advice there, not having seen it. Water damage is either really easy to fix, or really hard to fix. If it's just the sheetrock, all you have to do is pull that out and replace it -- some sheetrock, some spackle, a can of paint, and boom, fixed. If it's spread down into the walls, or if the rafters/framing is warped or deteriorating, it can get more ugly. The reason you can't get a firm estimate on that is that you can't tell until you open it up to see how bad it is. The house hasn't been leaking for too long, though, right? It's probably just cosmetic, easily fixed. (Hell, if I lived out there I'd do it for you for pizza and cost of materials. Ditto on the deck.)
I'm useless on plumbing, so I can't give you advice there. The at-least-two-estimates thing applies to plumbers, too, though.
(My dad's a general contractor who doesn't pull this kind of bullshit, and I started doing home repair at age 14 or so. He'd start something around the house and then get pulled off on a Paying Job, and Mom would freak out because stuff wasn't done, so I picked up a lot of it to complete various projects.)
From what you're describing here, unless there's some really nonstandard stuff going on (and I doubt there is), you should be looking at about $10k-$12k. Still not cheap, but not anal rape.
2006-12-14 11:46 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Dina's finding multiple contractors of each type for different quotes. Can't say they don't know each other, though.
Big red flag for this most recent guy was "so, uh, you're not paying for this right? You have some insurance?". Or something to that effect.
But finding people on such short notice is a pain.
2006-12-14 11:40 pm (UTC)
When did you find out about the problems?
If you had the insurance and the problems started BEFORE the six days ago happened, it should still be covered. This did not just happen. This is an ongoing problem that you did not catch until (today? yesterday?) and you've been gone which means that you couldn't do anything, anyway.
So lawyer time. They should get both the seller and the insurance company scared enough that it gets handled and fast.
2006-12-15 01:05 am (UTC)
Re: When did you find out about the problems?
IIRC this story correctly, this is a continuation of an ongoing problem. The fact that you (Brad) only just found out how bad it is doesn't automatically exclude it from being covered by the insurance. It might take some fighting with the insurance company, but it seems likely to be me that you'll be able to convince them that they should cover at least some of the cost given that the problem was caused by something which happened during the time covered.
But you should probably get onto arguing with them soon. They'll be much more dubious about it if you only report it months/years after the term expired, rather than a few days.
2006-12-14 11:56 pm (UTC)
put up a paypal link
2006-12-15 06:42 am (UTC)
Yes, because Brad's poor. ;-)
2006-12-15 12:19 am (UTC)
I sent out a couple emails
Hopefully I'll have a couple contractor names for you shortly.
2006-12-15 12:26 am (UTC)
Re: I sent out a couple emails
it almost sound cheaper to put a roof over the deck and enclose it than weatherproof it.
"time to sell some more paid accounts!"
2006-12-15 03:05 am (UTC)
Two Words ...
Two words, dude ... Mike Holmes
broken deck + fixing ceilings + tile deck + septic/sump = time to start another internet company
2006-12-15 04:58 am (UTC)
Look @ paying for your insurance premiums now. At least with auto it will go into affect from the time it expired, not from the time you paid!
2006-12-15 06:43 am (UTC)
So you think that this was just poor design on the part of the architect guy who designed/built it, or subsequent problems that just went unresolved?
Seems like if the guy was an architect he should've known better. Then again, if it was his "dream house" then maybe he was thinking more in fantasy land and not in the real world.
2006-12-15 07:34 am (UTC)
Russian trouble know-how
aahh.. why don't ya fix everything yourself? Free of charge. ;)