Okay, long story short, our home needs some serious help. Our family needs help.
I'm not sure where to start so I'm winging it...I hope it makes sense. We bought our home from a builder and shortly afterward, things started falling apart. I don't mean little things, I mean the foundation cracked, the tile flooring began to come up, the staircase rails came off and the tiles in every bathroom started lifting and coming apart. We aren't sure if the slanted floors upstairs are due to foundation issues or framing. We do know that the foundation is the cause of exterior doors & windows not closing properly and several cracks in the walls inside and out.
We fought tooth and nail to get the builder to keep his end of the agreement. He even asked us to get a contractor estimate but we ended up in court. We did win but then found out we were at the end of a very long list of others trying to get their money. Besides, the guy filed personal and professional bankruptcy so we'll never see any of the money. We've come to terms with that.
Later on (because we are gluttons for punishment), we decided to begin fixing up the house and trusted a friend to help us landscape our backyard. We invested in his company. His company went under and he went to jail, taking with him, all of the money we had invested. Since then, the work that was done has begun to crumble. The patio is sinking and the stones are cracking.
Shortly after that fiasco, my husband suffered a job loss. I went to work temporarily and I was making a decent wage but alot of my money went into childcare. My being away put stress on Jacob, our middle son and subsequently, the family so I quit my job to stay home and take care of him. My husbands new job has been great but we lost half of the income we used to have. We live paycheque to paycheque now.
We have three boys in all; Andrew, Jacob and Cayden. They are all adults living at home. Our youngest, Cayden, is working as a Butcher's Apprentice and saving to get his own car and home. Our two oldest are on the Autism Spectrum and both have Bi-Polar Disorder. Jacob is the more severe of the two and is basically a 9 year old mentally.
Over the years, we have dealt with some major challenges with Jacob and his meltdowns. Our homes always took a beating. Moving into this home was supposed to be easier on us since it was newly built. Things were supposed to be perfect but they weren't.
It wasn't supposed to be so easy for Jacob to tear down a stair rail but it was. The builder took shortcuts that he shouldn't have and the stair rails fell off. The iron posts were not installed correctly so when the rail was compromised, they fell out with ease. Slamming a solid wood drawer one time shouldn't cause it to come off its frame and fall. Slamming a door shouldn't move the entire door frame out of place and break the trim.
My husband is the Bubble Gum Mechanic King, as you can see from one of the stair case pictures. He's awesome at temporary repairs which allows us to stash some cash away until we can afford to fix it permanently. Unfortunately, that takes time and then something else needs to be fixed.
The money that we put away for the major repairs inevitably goes towards the things that cannot wait. We live in Oklahoma so not having a/c isn't an option. The boys get sick, we have to pay doctor bills and medication. We have insurance but it only covers so much. We can make ends meet though something always gets left behind. In our case, it's major house repairs and we are in over our heads now.
We looked into one of those businesses that buy your house as is but this house is out of their price range, according to the agents we talked to. We got into a program that reduced our mortgage so that gave us some breathing room. We are doing everything humanly possible to get ahead and have exhausted pretty much all avenues.
The one thing I don't want to be is a Negative Nancy or Debbie Downer. We are an otherwise happy family. My husband and I have a very strong marriage of 26 years and counting. Our kids are otherwise healthy and strong. My family is my life and I can see everyone suffering because we all feel stuck and fearful of what might go wrong next. This house has potential to be beautiful; as pretty as it was the day we bought it. We can make it pretty again but stronger and made to last. However, that takes time and money. The time we have. We also have some handyman skills. The money (or lack thereof) is the reason for this campaign.
We're asking for a hand up, not a hand out. Fixing the house will lower our utility bills and lessen the stress in our lives. The money that the house won't be sucking us out of will give us freedom to put our oldest through school and take a long past due trip home to Canada.
Our long term goal is to sell this house and buy a smaller one on a big piece of land where our dogs can run and Jacob can play.
Thanks so much for viewing and please feel free to ask any me anything!
One of the builders contractors kicked out a water pipe as he was repairing the upstairs a/c unit. It was repaired but not entirely. It later broke and flooded the upstairs bathroom and our kitchen. This is the kitchen ceiling. A few months ago, we had a toilet overflow which only added to the problem.
Back door. The door is level, the frame is not. The idea of a fix for the builder was to fill in the cracks with cement that has since begun to crumble.
The underside of the roof is peeling and cracking, allowing wildlife and moisture to get in. As a result, it's literally falling off in chunks.
It's a little hard to see in the picture but just left of center, is a long crack in the brick.
Here, the door frame was never screwed in so it has come away from the wall. We have to add support posts so we can actually have something to screw the frame into. This door leads to our garage so safety is an issue.
Same door. We stuffed insulation in there to stop the draft. The adjoining wall was also built crooked so the mudroom door doesn't close properly.
Here's a close up of the crack that goes from the roof to the ground.
Missing piece of stair rail. The posts are iron but were not installed correctly. It took one meltdown from my son (who is special needs) to shake them all loose. We screwed in most of them temporarily.
Our temporary fix was indeed, temporary lol
- Christina Zottoli
- Trevor Kaplan
- Art Kaplan
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