First-time homebuyer's dream turns into nightmare days after closing

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A first time homeowner in Blaine, Minnesota is at a loss of what to do next after a water pipe burst just days after she purchased the home.

“I worked so hard to get it," said Janet Martin. “It's like all my hard work is down the drain.”

Only once you go inside the home, does the magnitude of problem become apparent. Martin, her five children, aged two to 12 years old, plus their grandmother are living without a kitchen, and on pieces of plywood throughout the majority of their house.

“Sometimes when I'm walking, I step on something on the wood," said MJ Holloway, Martin's oldest son. "I have to stay on the carpet. I get splinters."

“It's a constant struggle to keep them off it,” said Martin “Go sit down, go play somewhere else, but they are kids. It's definitely a struggle every day.”

Before the family moved in, a pipe burst on December 13 -- just four days after closing on what Martin called her dream home.

“I pulled in and I just hear a waterfall before I even open the door,” said Martin.

The previous owner moved out in late November and told Fox 9 she called CenterPoint Energy to take the gas bill out of her name. Martin was later told CenterPoint turned off the gas on December 6, three days prior to the closing.

“I came to view the property the morning of the 9 and I just noticed it was kind of cold in house. At the closing, I mentioned it to the seller's agent. He said just maybe turn up the heat," said Martin. “I called CenterPoint Energy and they said they had to come do visual inspection of furnace and water heater. They came out on  December 13."
Martin has been dealing with the after effects of a frozen pipe ever since. She’s reached out to everyone from legal aid to the attorney general's office. For the work of removing carpet, cabinets, plus ceilings in the basement, a contractor has now put a lien on Martin's home. She estimates the total cost to repair all this is close to $60,000. 

“I have talked to so many people, I don't even remember all of them and I don't even know what else to do," she said.

CenterPoint Energy said late Thursday, they are taking full responsibly for the damage to the home, and are working the insurance companies for the current and previous owners to “make this right.” When asked how soon the family would see money to make necessary repairs, CenterPoint could not give an answer.

In the meantime, a social worker at school for the one of the kids is trying to collect money to help the family. After the first week, they could no longer afford to live in a hotel, plus the company Martin worked for closed, leaving her without a job.

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