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New homeowners uncover an unexpected surprise.

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams NY Realty
I've been in real estate for almost 30 years and I've seen a lot, but I've never seen anything like this before. 

I recently sold a lovely young couple their "forever" family home. He's a local fireman and she's a teacher. The house dates back to the 1920's, and my buyers knew that it needed quite a bit of updating. Money was tight and they were about to have their first baby, so the buyers wanted to get the place livable but they had to keep expenses within their budget.

The home inspector had pointed out a number of issues common to an older home, but nothing too drastic. On closing day during the walk through, the husband happened to knock on the front wall of the master bedroom and it rang back like it was hollow. That just didn't seem right because this is an old house with solid plaster walls.

We didn't think too much of it, but wondered why someone would panel over plaster. We went to the closing and after signing three million documents the house was theirs.


The following weekend I was at the house with the new owners and they called me upstairs to show me what they had found when they pulled a section of the paneling off that wall in the master bedroom.

The plaster was completely rotted and crumbling. And this was not a new "patch" job; it had been done many, many years before. The homeowners were devastated thinking of all the repair work that would be coming.  I was trying to think of some way to help out these young buyers with this unexpected disaster.
Meanwhile, the homeowner and the painter continued to pull off the paneling and clear the loose plaster until they were amazed to find ...
... a fireplace that had been boarded up. Obviously, a past owner did not like the fireplace and had it plastered over, but the work wasn't done correctly and the flue enabled moisture to degrade the plaster. Years later, someone put paneling over the damaged plaster and wallpapered it. 

As it turned out, the fireplace was beautiful and fully functional. The new homeowners love the idea of a fireplace in the master bedroom and it has even increased the value of their house.

So it was a happy ending, but what did we learn? One thing is to keep an eye out for small inconsistencies in a home. As the painter pointed out, there was no other molding in that room, except for the area around the replaced wall. In this case, we can't blame the inspector because when he went in that room the house was still occupied and that wall was blocked with a lot of furniture. 

Do you have any stories of home nightmares that have turned into fairy tales? Drop me a line at gary@leogrande.com and tell me about it. And if we can help you with any real estate questions, don't hesitate to call the Leogrande Team at (914) 761-7878.
Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA
Future Home Realty - Seminole, FL
Providing the integrity and service you deserve.

Kind of like Property Brothers: don't know what you're going to find until you start ripping out walls. But this was a neat find. Finding a surprise fireplace would make me happy! 

Sep 03, 2017 11:43 AM