You found your dream home, or so you think. The offer you made to the homeowner was accepted and now you have to hire an inspector to make sure it checks out A-OK.
Hopefully there won’t be any major flaws to make you think twice about your offer. A satisfactory inspection is a contingency to the contract and if there is something major, you can ask for it to be fixed, decided to fix it yourself or walk away from the house completely.
Here are 8 possible deal breakers you should be aware of:
- Water Damage. With every water mark and rusty pipe, ask for an explanation. A water ring on the ceiling the size of the toilet pipe on the floor above it could mean a constant dripping problem. OR, it could simply mean there was an overflow a few years ago and the water mark is just now showing up as a stain. Rusty pipes, dampness by the A/C unit in the attic or hallway closet could be a bigger issue.
- Asbestos. This hazardous material was used in many homes that were built before July 1989. Removal must be done by a professional and could be costly.
- Lead paint. Lead paint was used in older homes and could be a hazard. Removal may be expensive so have a professional give you a quote on removal.
- Pests. Termites, roaches, rats, mice and more can cause extensive and expensive damage to a home. Sometimes the repair can be expensive but not all of the time. Have a termite or pest control professional quote you a price to take care of the problem.
- Mold. Some molds can be easily remedied, but long-term invasive damage from a pipe, roof leak or irrigation can cause a bigger problem.
- Electrical or plumbing problems. Always have these taken care of by a professional.
- Foundation issues. Foundations tend to crack from settling. Some cracks are minor, some can be a major problem. Why are the cracks there? What caused them? If you really don’t feel good about the cracks, seek the advice of a foundation specialist. It will cost more than the initial inspection but the peace of mind will be worth it
- Old roof. A homes inspector can assess roofing issues from missing shingles, wood or structural issues. An old roof will need to be replaced and can be expensive. In addition to the inspector’s report, a roofer can assess the remaining life of the roof.
While there are a few other issues that can make you walk away, these eight are the most common, so be prepared to consider any of them.
Each of these things can be worked out if you really want the house and not all houses have more than one or two of these issues to consider. Meet with your real estate agent. Together, construct a list of things you have to have repaired and what you can live with or fix on your own. If the cost of items to fix yourself is high, renegotiate a credit at closing. Until you sign off stating the inspection contingency is clear of issues so you can move toward closing, you, the buyer, are still in the decision-making seat.
Know that the seller may think your request is too extensive. The listing and the property condition disclosure may state the issues that need repair but the owner will not be responsible for. If that is the case, you and your agent should have known this from the time you started considering the house. The seller could also state that he will only pay a particular amount on repairs. Be prepared for negotiating, but also be prepared that the seller could walk away, too, if you ask for too much.
So, do you want the house or not?
Thanks to Kaye Ladd, Broker at Tommy Morgan Realtors branch office for contributing to this article.
Eileen Saunders, REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655 662-404-0816/662-234-5344 Equal Housing