A reader emailed me an interesting observation/question in response to yesterday’s discussion of Seattle’s cheap, ugly townhomes.
There’s a trio of townhouses very near where I live. They’re interesting because they lay partially framed for (if I’m recalling correctly) more than a year and a half — at least through one Winter/Spring.
They actually have an entry on Zillow still. It appears to be out of date, however, since someone has purchased them and finished them up.
I drive/bike by these houses almost every day. I’m almost certain that the work just proceeded right from where it left off over a year ago. Now they look like perfectly respectable (ugly) townhomes, but I can’t see how they won’t start spouting mold and mildew almost immediately.
Do sellers have to disclose this sort of thing? Is my worry unfounded?
I’m not a construction expert, so I can’t say for sure whether leaving framing exposed to the weather through the winter is the kind of thing that can just dry out without causing problems down the road. It certainly seems like the kind of thing that might lead to trouble. Certainly if I were a potential buyer I’d want to know about it.
Is there a rule that sellers must disclose construction delays? Probably not. This seems likely to be a problem with a lot of construction that was started right as the bubble burst, and contributes to the concerns I have about how long these eyesores will really last.
It will be really interesting to watch the price trends of these kinds of homes over the coming years compared to similarly-sized single-family homes built in the same neighborhoods around the same time. I suspect that time will be considerably unkind to the value of these sorts of townhomes.