The Lead Update: Definitely Hate This House

So here’s where we are with the house…the fuller rundown. The house seems to be taking a long time, there’s a lot of work to do. Perhaps we were a bit overconfident with this project. A lot of our friends told us to just check out what’s new at Essex Homes, get a new house, and give up on this property. However, that’s not an easy decision. This is the list of what’s happening in this current situation:

  • New flooring at about 75%. (we knew we should have looked at floor plans elsewhere)
  • Stopped when, as another part of this summer’s projects, JoAnn was prepping some of the trimwork for repainting and tested positive for lead
  • Subsequent testing of the kiddos found that Maddie has elevated levels, somewhat dangerously. (Current limit is 10 µg/dL–micrograms per deciliter, but programs are beginning to look at lowering it to 5…Maddie’s was 3.3)
  • Then began the myriad of calls into different federal, state, county, and local agencies that deal with or might deal with lead programs. JoAnn finally found the right person at the state level.
  • That person then contact the local contact–in this program, Tacoma has already used up their funding, but the state person apparently revised their contract to be able to help us.
  • Sounds great, but there is a catch…the program is in conjunction with Federal HUD, which stipulates that when they do the testing that they will be doing, they also have to check plumbing, electrical, etc…an if they find deficiencies in those areas, they too must be corrected.
  • That also sounds good, but there’s a catch there too. The funds of the grant are limited to $11k, so if those other areas need fixing, the overage is usually done as a low-interest loan based on the equity of the home.
  • That too sounds good, but unfortunately over the past 2 years, our value has declined to the point that rather than having $80k in equity, we are upside-down on our mortgage. So we might not be able to continue or even begin repairs without perhaps looking around for other providers such as SoFi at another mortgage or refinancing our current one.
  • The application for this program will go in first part of the week, but the process could be a couple months.
  • And we’d have to be out of the house during the work. That’d be some major expense there.
  • In the meantime, the plan is still on for the family to be gone next weekend while I finish the flooring wearing a respirator, sectioning off the rooms with plastic, and then thoroughly cleaning so they can come home.
  • Then I’ll be tested. Have no idea what that will show, but could potentially be really elevated with the reflooring…especially the carpet which traps in the dust from the lead.
  • We’ll probably also have Maddie re-tested before the suggested 6 months so we can know what direction her levels are heading. If increasing, it may not matter at all what happens with the lead program…we are not going to put the house before Maddie’s health. We would have to leave.
  • But doing so will ruin our good credit for 6-10 years. So if things keep declining like this, I may start looking into companies like Amerinote Xchange that purchase different mortgage notes.
Good times, no? Ugh. Anyone got a line to Extreme Makeover? Or know of other help…or maybe even want to help?

PS we’re talking about seeing if I can get into a lab for lead test and get results back before Friday to see if doing the rest of the flooring is even worth it. If my levels are high, the remainder of the flooring will only raise it more…