Paige Carmichael and her partner’s dream home turns into a nightmare amid shock discovery days before moving in


Paige Carmichael and her partner Steve purchased their dream home in Noosa.

But just three days before they were due to move in, a burst toilet pipe destroyed their property — leaving severe water damage and black mould all over the walls, ceilings and floors.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Aussie’s dream home turns into nightmare.

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“We’re in a bit of a sticky situation as our home is still in the process of being repaired,” Paige, 30, tells 7Life.

“At the end of the day, I really just don’t want what happened to us to happen to anyone else.”

The pair was set to move from a rental apartment in Sydney’s Coogee to a two-storey house in the chic Queensland coastal town before Christmas.

Paige Carmichael and her partner Steve purchased their dream home in Noosa.  Credit: Paige Carmichael

Just days out from picking up the keys, the couple received an unexpected phone call from their agent alerting them their forever home was no longer liveable.

“We did not buy it like this, it’s a wild story. First home buyers especially, this is a cautionary tale for you,” she said.

Sharing the ordeal, Paige said they were in “pure shock”, with no plan B, after they were unable to move into the home.

“We didn’t have anywhere else to live, this wasn’t meant to happen,” she said in her YouTube video.

The couple purchased the home late in 2023 after they “fell in love” with everything.

A burst toilet pipe had savagely destroyed their new home. Credit: Paige Carmichael

“The moment we walked into the house, we looked at each other and… I just remember being a kid and growing up in this exact area,” Paige said.

“I never in a million years thought we would be able to (afford to) get into this area.

“We didn’t want to look back in 10 years time, and think we missed out on this dream property in a dream location — giving our children the childhood I had.

“It’s a sign. The house is meant for us. We put in an offer, it was such a nerve-racking time.”

After the building and pest inspection was completed and the contract was signed, the couple started the moving process.

However things didn’t go to plan after they discovered their “move-in ready” home unexpectedly flooded during the settlement period.

“A gardener had gone around to do some maintenance, make sure everything was all perfect, ready for us to move in, and he noticed water coming out of the garage,” Paige said.

“Upon entering the house, there’s water coming through the roof. It’s a mess.”

The couple was distraught after discovering their forever home was no longer liveable due to black mould and water damage.  Credit: Paige Carmichael

Panicked, Paige called her dad, who lived on the Sunshine Coast, to ask him to check the severity of the damage.

“I’m like, ‘Dad, you need to go to this house and just check this is all just a bad dream and that we’ll be moving into our dream home’,” she explained.

“He jumps in his ute, bless him and goes over to the property.”

An hour later, her dad confirmed the couple’s worst nightmare.

“He’s like, ‘I’ve got bad news. This is at least six months worth of damage because a pipe burst upstairs and it’s been running for days in this house and nobody’s been there’,” Paige recalled.

“Because it’s during settlement period, no one was living in the property, the water just rose and rose and then it went through the floors upstairs and down the ceilings.

“Basically dad was like, ‘You’re going to need all new floors, all new walls, all new ceilings and bathroom… Your house is destroyed’.”

They discovered their home unexpectedly flooded during the settlement period after a toilet pipe burst. Credit: Paige Carmichael/Supplied

Although the couple’s offer had been accepted, Paige said they quickly learned they didn’t “technically own the house yet”.

However, they were nonetheless liable for the repairs.

In Queensland, buyers are required to get home insurance because they are responsible for the property from 5pm the next business day after the contract is signed.

“Luckily Steve, my partner who is smart, a switched-on guy, took out a great insurance policy. He basically ticked a box that said you must cover us (before settlement) for whatever the damage,” Paige said.

“So we were liable for the repairs but technically we didn’t own the house yet — it was a very grey area.”

If the couple pulled out of the sale, which they could, then the vendor would have had to cover the repairs.

The couple’s forever home was no longer liveable.  Credit: Paige Carmichael

However, Paige and Steve knew deep down they still wanted the same home.

“I know what you’re thinking, your house is destroyed, the house you viewed and fell in love with is destroyed so why would you want to go through with the sale of this property? If you can back out, just back out of the sale,” she said.

“(But) we were in love. We were in love with the location, we were in love with this house.”

Conveyancer

Adding another degree of difficulty to the situation, the pair had opted for a conveyancer, who’s tasked with the process of transferring ownership of a legal title of land to the new owner.

It’s a decision they now regret.

“We wish we went with a solicitor,” Paige said.

“Pay a little bit extra, get a solicitor, because if something goes wrong, they have the legal understanding to help you.

“There’s nothing wrong with hiring a conveyancer. A conveyancer is great for a very straightforward deal which you always hope it is.

“My brother bought a property at the exact same time, he got a conveyancer and it was all fine and dandy.

“However in our case it was not.”

The couple will need to replace their floorboards, ceilings and walls. Credit: Paige Carmichael/Supplied

The couple then sought advice from their conveyancer during a “scary time for first home buyers”.

“They didn’t know what to do. They were like, ‘This has never happened, we’ve never heard of this happening, especially in the settlement period. We’re going to try and find some legal advice’,” Paige said.

“So we were left hanging for a little bit. It was very confronting and scary.”

Moving out

The hardest part of the process was the day the couple had to move everything out of their Sydney apartment.

“Packing up everything, not knowing where our boxes, our belongings and everything would go, it was just hard,” Paige said.

“I know there’s people in so much harder situations, ours is nothing.

“Especially now, when I look back at it, I’m like, it wasn’t actually the end of the world.

“But when you’re in that situation, you don’t have anywhere to live, it’s just scary.”

The pair was tossing up whether to proceed with the property purchase or pull out.

“But then we were left with no apartment, no house and we would have to start from square one,” she said.

Paige looking at the burst pipe in question. Credit: Paige Carmichael/Supplied

Things started to look up when their insurance company agreed it would cover the damages.

But the couple had to settle before they could understand the totality of the problems.

“Tricky thing about this is our insurance said they wouldn’t know the full extent of the damages until they pull apart the walls of the house,” Paige said.

“To do that, we had to settle, we had to buy this house, even though it was a complete wreck.

“There was a massive level of risk there for us because if they pulled apart the walls and found another issue, then we may have to pay out of pocket for that if it’s not related to the leak.”

Taking the plunge

The couple decided to go through with the sale — without any negotiations.

“We took the plunge, we took the risk and we settled on a house that was covered in black mould and can’t be lived in basically,” she said.

“We were really scared but we love this house.”

Fortunately, the couple quickly found a short-term property in Noosa, with their insurance company covering living arrangements while their home is being fixed.

As no one was home during the settlement, the water just ‘rose and rose’, leaving the floorboards wrecked. Credit: Paige Carmichael/Supplied

“We’re so grateful. It’s just been a lot of Googling, a lot of stressing and a lot of just learning on-the-go and we’ve kind of come out of the other end,” Paige said.

“A few days time from now, they will start tearing down the inside of the house. We sort of begin a process that we never thought we were going to begin and start a renovation.

“Hopefully we will be having Christmas in July at our home.”

Life lessons

For first home buyers, Paige said she wants everyone to remember her three lessons.

“Get yourself a solicitor, get a great insurance policy and check your pipes,” she said.

“Bonus fourth lesson: Turn your water off when you go on holidays.

“It doesn’t happen a lot to first home buyers during a settlement process — this was very rare — but it happens a lot to people when they go away and they don’t turn their water off.”

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