Time to blog - sounds like I'm putting on cold cream :) The Fire - first house story

Real Estate Agent with Long Realty Partners

 Let me tell you a little story. When my ex husband and I bought our first home, we were in our early twenties. We got an FHA loan for a "fix up" house and were all excited to finally stop renting & have some room to grow. We had one child at the time, our son. He was about 2 yrs old.
We were like alot of young buyers, trying to put as little down as possible. We were gifted our down payment from my father in law. There were no zero down programs then.  The realtor we had, although very nice, didn't explain to us the difference between an FHA "lenders inspection/appraisal" and a "home buyers inspection". She told us that the FHA "inspector" would check basics to let us know is anything was seriously wrong with the house. So we didn't do a buyers inspection, to save money. About 6 weeks later (still only partially unpacked due to the holidays as we had moved in over Christmas) the house burnt down. We escaped out a bedroom window, in pajamas, into frigid cold snow and temps about -20 degrees. We would have died in that fire had our son not woke us up. It was his bedroom (in the wall) where the fire had started & smoldered in the early morning hours to "sneak up on us" and suddenly find our walls in full flames. I'll never forget how I couldn't breath, couldn't see (too much heavy thick smoke) and how deafening the silence was. I realise that statement doesn't make sense, but it was sooooo quiet, yet you could "hear" this low growl almost...... that's the best way I can describe it. We found out later the furnace flue/vent had "tipped" a bit over the years and created a silt build up in an elbow. All it took was small spark from the furnace igniting to start the fire. We had no recourse of any kind. We couldn't sue FHA, we couldn't sue the realtor, we were stuck. So we rented and rebuilt (thank goodness we had insurance) I remember being pregnant with our 2nd child and helping my husband do demolition work in the burned house before the contractors came back to finish work. We were trying to save money. Had I known the difference between the buyers inspection and the banks appraisal, I would have had a buyers inspection. MAYBE this would have been brought to our attention and MIGHT have prevented the whole thing. We found out after the fact that simply cleaning that "pipe/flue" from the furnace would have taken care of it.

I mention we had insurance, however it didn't replace the baby photo's, the family heirlooms,my high school scrapbook, etc. Those things that no one can give you back. When I became a Realtor, I vowed to make sure my clients understood every issue and choice they had and what every choice meant to them. All because of my experience with our first house. 

Comments (2)

Suzanne McLaughlin
Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael) - Saint Michael, MN
Sabinske & Associates, Realtor

I know you are a great Realtor.  I had no idea this was the reason.  You are a caring and wonderful person.  With a great personality...anyone who has ever met you knows this.  I am thrilled that you are sharing, and you will be more than successul.  This made me sad to hear, but I am more educated as to why you are so good at what you do!  Thanks, Jackie!

Feb 18, 2009 12:59 PM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

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Feb 25, 2016 12:14 PM