Buying our Charlottesville Home, Part 3 (The one where we are homeless)

**Warning: This post is text heavy and light on photos, but I promise it's an interesting story.**

There's a reason I've been mentioning dates through the story of our home search and purchase. There were two processes happening side-by-side. The sale of my condo was moving forward while we were trying to make our purchase.

The Condo Sale
The condo sale was quite smooth. We would close on the condo in late May and our hope was to close on the new house right around that period. We had heard of simultaneous closings, but everyone seemed doubtful about that. The closing of the condo would free up capital to put towards the house, so we eventually decided to close on the condo on a Thursday and then close on the house the next day or the Monday after that.

The House Purchase
Back at the house, we thought the next step was clear. There was a hole in the septic tank, which was original to the home, and a utility line laying over the tank. Clearly, that water line had to move and a new tank had to be put in. The man who did our septic inspection said his company was very busy at that point, but if the job got on their calendar, it could be done in six weeks. That's exactly how much time we had until we would close on our condo.

And then there was silence.

For days.


We heard that the seller threatened to sue the company that did the inspection. I guess he thought they put the hole in the tank. He was also upset that a stone paver was missing. I had to think about what those were. The backyard of the house was pretty uneven, but there were some stones that you could walk along. I knew where the paver was in the hole! The inspector covered the hole with it so dirt wouldn't get into the tank!


One more time. A month went by.

In that time, I went on a business trip, Marc almost made an offer on a different house while I was away, and there was a lot of us asking questions and not getting answers.

The closing of our condo was quickly approaching at the end of May and we didn't have a house! We suggested the seller just give us a credit for the cost of the septic so we could get the work done. Unfortunately, you need a functioning septic system to get insurance and you need insurance to get a home loan, so there was no way for us to close. At the same time, there was no way for the seller to unload the house without fixing the septic unless there was an all-cash buyer somewhere in the wings. There wasn't. Because people with that kind of money aren't crazy.

The Temporary Home
I couldn't believe we had to scramble to find a place to live. We had found this house in the middle of March and the problem with the septic system was found in late April. There was plenty of time to get the work done, but the seller's lack of action forced us to look for somewhere else to live.

We decided to sublet an apartment from some graduate students who had just finished their programs and had 10 weeks left on their lease. We figured 6 weeks would either give our seller time to fix the septic system or give us enough time to find a new home.

By this point, the market had taken off and the better homes in our range were getting snapped up very quickly.

I regretted selling the condo. I loved my home. I would have been happy to stay. Now we had to move twice. We were spending a few thousand dollars on a temporary place to live and that was obviously money we had hoped to put towards projects.

I felt totally defeated.

Next time, I'll show you our temporary digs and get to the conclusion of this mess.


  1. Nothing really compels the owner to fix a broken septic until someone reports it to the health department, from what I understand.

  2. I want to be done, too! I have things to share, but I just felt like I had to explain the journey to where we are today.

  3. I don't know you, but I check this blog from time to time, and I think I know the house you are/were trying to buy...and I can't wait for the conclusion of this story!

  4. this is insane!

    i have always rented, but can't there be a law about not fixing a septic system. it handles waste that can't just be dumped in the ground.

  5. This seller is something else!

  6. wow, one month. i've just been through a bad buying thing and it was a painful week or two without answers. i think understand the stress. and it was less than month. wow.

    temporary diggs do kindda suck. but we've been lucky to have a cool pool:)


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