Emergency Fund FTW
My wife wanted to upgrade our light fixtures the other day, lo and behold she pulls the fixture off and the box that holds the wiring fell back behind the vinyl siding. She starts pulling back more of the siding and sure enough finds that the entire front corner of the load bearing wall and header above the garage door is completely wet rotted on the outside right behind the vinyl. Our living room is located right above the rotting header. We were in panic mode.
We bought the house in 2017 but the inspector did not pick up on this when he did the inspection, since the house showed no visible signs of structural damage (in or outside of the garage).
Called insurance right away. They began the process of a claim.
Hired a contractor on a cost-plus contract knowing that until they started digging deeper we wouldn’t know the full extent of the damage. I mainly didn’t want our living room to fall, so we built a temporary wall down there ourselves until the contractor was selected. We got three wildly different quotes and ended up going with the guy we felt the most comfortable with.
The project is currently almost done, but keeps going, after a week and a half of construction. There are issues on the front (gable) side of the house as well, right under the deck. The biggest issue turns out to be incorrectly installed flashing on the deck.
Insurance comes back and (surprisingly) writes us a check. We fought them a bit on some of the details in their policy that state that they don’t cover wet rot except in cases that it is hidden from view (i.e., behind vinyl siding). It won’t cover the whole project, but it is a big chunk. We will have to pay out of pocket for the rest.
This whole process started three weeks ago. We have a 2.5 year old and a 2 month old. We had just finished paying for the birth.
I’m incredibly happy to have had the buffer of my emergency fund to carry us through this stressful time. To me, no % interest is worth this level of stress, especially if a chunk of money could be in a down cycle.
Lesson learned: water is a silent, long term house killer.