I’ve lived in my house for thirty-two years. Back when I bought it, I was a home-buying newbie and didn’t know anything about buying a house. I don’t know if home inspections were a thing back then, but I do know I didn’t get one. I relied on my real estate agent who also happened to work for the listing agency (which I now know is pretty much a big no-no.) I can’t remember when the first time we had water in the basement, but it couldn’t have been that long after we moved in. Being the lowest house in the area, we get all the run-off from the houses in the higher elevation behind us. The sellers had lived here since the house was built, so I know they had to have had some water issues too but it wasn’t disclosed. Additionally, when my house was born in 1969, I guess the developer didn’t think it would be a problem to plant a tree ten feet away from the sewer line. I can’t imagine what problem that could pose, can you? And hey, if you’re going to plant a tree, why not plant a sweet gum, they are such awesome trees—not.
In the time I’ve lived here, I’ve had to have a floor to ceiling vertical crack in the basement wall repaired by having anchors but in the wall and run out into the yard.
I’ve had to have horizontal cracks repaired with epoxy injections. I’ve had to have a broken pipe below the basement floor replaced by digging up a portion of the concrete floor. I’ve had the sewer lines augered out countless times and I had to have a sewer cleanout put in the front yard (which is now adorned with a birdbath). Last year, we had a sump pump and drain tiles put in the basement. And, since the basement casement windows are level with the yard, water has come through those too. All in all, I’ve probably spent more than $20,000 trying to keep the basement dry. My basement is finished, well, finished circa 1970, with drop ceilings, knotty pine paneling and peel and stick tiles on the floor. I’ve always wanted to update it, but never have. Too busy cleaning up water, I guess.
After the sewer backed up twice last month (and what a shitty experience (literally) that is), we are forced to have exterior sewer work done to fix this problem. Luckily, the city I live in sponsors a lateral sewer repair program that pays 90% of the cost of repairing the lateral sewer. According to the City, I needed to get four to five bids and submit three bids to the City. From those three bids, I can choose the contractor I wish to do business with; however, the City will only pay 90% of the lowest bid. The bids ranged from $20,000 (an absolutely ridiculous bid that even the City laughed at) to the lowest bid of $3,300. Lucky for me, that low bid was put in by the man who put in my sump pump last summer.
Now all I have to do is accept the bid and the contractor will work with the city to repair the line and even reseed the front yard. Hopefully, fingers crossed, this will finally solve this problem and since we took care of the water problem in the basement last year, we can finally fix up the basement and bring it into the 21st century.