When we bought our first home in Central PA, we were in a hurry. After moving across country and living in my in-law's basement for a few months with two toddlers, we were ready to get rolling.
If it hadn’t been for a wise neighbor, we might have made a serious mistake as we approached the settlement date.
Turns out we closed on our house in the middle of March and the snow was thick on the ground, as it is right now throughout the midstate. We had had a home inspection, but, given the snow, he had refused to check the roof or much of the outside, including a large in-ground pool and concrete deck that we were getting with the home.
What I didn’t know about pools at that time could have filled a book, by the way. I was blissfully assuming that the thing would start right up once the snow melted off the cover and I flicked a switch.
Thankfully, my father-in-law mentioned that pool to one of his neighbors, who happens to have a big one. He offered to check it out and they stopped over one afternoon and dug around in the snow. Turns out that the sellers had cut off all the water pipes at the ground level and moved the pump over 10 feet to accommodate a neighbor boundary issue that no one had documented in the sellers disclosure – the pool was completely inoperable!
I had seen nothing amiss in the all the white stuff, and the home inspector had not ventured out to the edge of my property to check for oddities.
Several negotiations later, I had compensation at the settlement table to help me correct the cut pipe situation. Happily, the roof ended up passing muster as well. The moral of the story is never to assume (great motto for real estate) that everything is just fine under the snow. Do your diligence.