‘Don’t Buy This House Until You Talk To Me’ reads Virginia

NORFOLK, Virginia (CORRUGATED) – There is a large white sign on Chesapeake Boulevard in Norfolk pointing to the house next door that reads, “Do not buy this house until you talk to me.”

WAVY contacted owner Conner Jewell, who installed the banner-like sign. The neighboring house is under construction.

This home, like Jewell’s home, is owned and rehabilitated by Mozart Investment LLC. Jewell said he was warning people about the problems he had with his house since he and his wife bought it.

“Flush the toilet, get out of the shower,” Jewell said.

Jewell said he had serious plumbing problems almost from the start of his move. In fact, he and his wife had to move a few days after the house closed. The problems in the house ended up costing them thousands of dollars.

“Well I was sitting down and I had already taken my loss and said if I don’t get my money back then what can I do to help the buyer of this house,” he said. he says pointing to the house next door.

When you enter the Jewell house now, you see a blanket with pictures of the Jewells on the couch.

They both grew up in Kentucky. Jewell and his wife, Michael (who is named after his father), were childhood sweethearts. They were married on July 14, 2018. He is on active duty in US Navy helicopter repair and she is a special education teacher. On October 7, 2021, they purchased their first home at 2934 Chesapeake Boulevard, and it quickly became a house of horrors.

“I would flush the toilet. I would turn on the water in either sink, and it would all come out in my tub… toilet waste would come back up in the tub,” he said.

After spending $289,000 on the remodeled home — it only cost the seller about half that amount before the rehab process — Jewell’s plumbing issues demanded immediate attention. Thus, he obtained the opinions of five prime contractors.

“One came out, went under the house. The first thing he saw was raw sewage and water coming out of the pipe and right off the bat he found there were improper fittings… Everything downgraded in my house. There was no way it would get out into the city sewers.

Some of the issues were there in Jewell’s C&C home inspections report. A photo showed a pipe rising sharply, not falling, to drain water from the house to the city pipe.

“Some of the pipes were at 90 degree angles. The sewage was backing up into the house,” Jewell said.

Jewell confronted the building inspector about the pipe. “They told me they weren’t code inspectors, so it’s not their job,” he said.

WAVY spoke with C&C Home Inspections owner Curt Lind, who has since renamed the business and operates from his home.

“I refunded his money,” Lind said of Jewell. The amount was $325, but Jewell said he refused to cash the check, unhappy with the home inspector’s services.

Lind said, “I apologized to him, and that’s why I sent him to my insurance company,” to let them settle the dispute.

The insurance company backed its client, Lind, finding the home inspector “did his job on the day of the inspection.”

Lind added: “On the day of the inspection the water ran very well and didn’t back up on the day of the inspection…and we got the water running from the sinks and tubs.”

But when Lind returned home for a follow-up visit, there were problems.

“The day I went back there, I met his wife and the crawl space was flooded. I don’t disagree… I couldn’t go there,” he said.

Jewell’s attorney sent a demand letter threatening to sue Mozart Investment LLC, which renovated the house and sold it to Jewell.

“The entire drain system was improperly installed, including the plumbing pipes with improper 90 degree elbows…the drain lines are not properly vented and are downgraded…and the main sewer in the crawl space was improperly installed,” Jewell’s attorney Bryan Peeples said in a letter stating what plumbers found.

Mozart Investment recently closed its doors. A solicitor representing Mozart’s registered agent, Shiller Menard, answered questions about why the water and electricity permits had not been withdrawn in accordance with the City of Norfolk for the renovation of the house.

Kevin Brunick replied, “I don’t think they have to.”

However, a city spokesperson said: ‘No plumbing or electrical upgrades have been offered or requested. …Adding new water lines and electrical wiring will require permits.

WAVY obtained a Notice of Violation which Jewell received after asking the city to inspect, and the violation states: “Work done without a permit…work not installed to code.

Jewell speculated on how it all happened.

“[They are probably thinking] “Oh, he’s on active duty. He’s just a stupid military kid,” he said. “He won’t know someone pushed something under the rug. He will never know.