SHAWNEE, Okla. (KFOR) – Pastor Bill Ladra’s wild ride to Oklahoma was long to say the least.
He, his wife Freedom and eight of their nine children packed into a van and made the long trek from Alaska to just outside Shawnee last year.
“It’s very isolated up in Alaska,” said Bill. “We just felt like this was the way to go.”
The family of 10 needed a home fast, finding an attractive listing just outside Shawnee. The home was reportedly built in 1989, priced at $150,000.
“Six acres, three-plus bedrooms with three baths,” Bill said. “How much more can you ask for?”
The family would forego a formal inspection. They would instead join in on a FaceTime with their realtor and a home expert.
“They walked through the property, walked through the house,” Bill said. “Looked like that was a no-brainer.”
The family moved in sight unseen.
Their first night in the home, temperatures dipped below freezing outside.
Inside though, the cold was unrelenting.
“I realized it was awfully cold, especially in the back part of the house,” Bill said. “I opened this [wall] up, and I didn’t see any [insulation].”
Bill says much of the home had insufficient or no insulation at all.
As he peeled back layers, the family would find an outdated fuse box and evidence of archaic knob and tube wiring, which has been obsolete since around the 1950s.
It seemed the Ladra’s 31-year-old home had a much longer story to tell.
According to tax records and the two most recent MLS listings, the home was built in either 1986 or 1989.
But we found the original owner, who informed us the home was in fact an old farmhouse and had been moved to that property in the 80s.
He tells News 4 he believes the home was actually built sometime in the 1920s, though he was unaware why tax records say different.
“Our hearts just fell apart,” said Bill when neighbors told them a similar story.
Because tax records indicate the home was built after 1978, lead paint testing wasn’t legally required.
But Bill has since had a portion of the home tested himself. The results came back positive, and the family slept in the living room for months while Bill worked to remove the paint.
The realtor for the home tells News 4 he goes solely off those tax records, saying there was no way for him to know the home’s actual age.
He also points out that the Ladras decided against doing a home inspection prior to the sale.
Dawn Mahyia, with A to Z Inspections, says those inspections are a must for any home-buyer.
“You want to make sure things are safe, you want to make sure they’re working as designed,” she said. “If there’s anything that needs to be prepared, you want it documented.”
But the realtor points out, previous inspections of the home hadn’t uncovered these issues either.
The Ladra’s are now left paying for repairs out of pocket.
“I was not in the business to rehab houses,” Bill said. “I don’t know what to do. How do we live in something like this?”
“I can’t tell you the teary nights, sitting in the front room on our mattresses,” Freedom said. “Snuggled together, keeping warm.”
The family tells News 4 they have looked into legal options in this situation, but can not get a lawyer to take their case.