I drive around town a lot to see what’s going on. I check out the neighborhoods for new construction, what’s for sale by owner, for rent, what is being remodeled.
Here’s what else I notice:
- shutters that have fallen off their hinges,
- roof shingles that have slipped or broken off from the latest storm; perhaps a branch scraped the roof on its way to the ground,
- gutters hanging along the side of a house
- fences that need repair, and more.
While broken shutters are a curb appeal issue, a missing or damaged roof shingle can cause harm to the house itself and needs attention.
Oxford seems to get a lot of rain and the last thing a homeowner wants is water dripping into the attic. Even a little once-in-a-while drip can cause damage in the long run. If it gets in, it is sure to affect the rest of the house and that requires more repairing. A damp spot on the ceiling may not get noticed until it forms a stain. If you sell your house, you’ll have to put the leak and any damage that was repaired (or not) that you know of, in a disclosure for the new owners. And if you don’t know about it, the inspector will be sure to find the stain to alert you.
It is best to check your roof on a regular basis. A walk around the house to take note of shingles, flashing, gutters and trim can help you stay on top of maintenance issues. Put a scheduled walk-around on your phone calendar for reminders. Every few years ask a roofer to give your roof an inspection. He can tell you the life expectancy of your roof, whether he sees any issues, and an on-the-spot estimate for maintenance. If you’ve noticed some black stain lines on their roof, ask him what it would take to clean it up.
Homeowners should care for their homes to get the maximum life out of it. Caring for your home and the roof on a regular basis will maximize your selling potential if you decide to move.
Eileen Saunders, REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford MS 38655, 662-404-0816 or 662-234-5344 Equal Housing
photo source: openclipart.org; “maison fuite-leaky house by enolynn
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
When buying a house you want to be sure to get an inspection. This is important because the home inspector can find all of the little and big issues that you’ll need to know regarding the the building’s structure, plumbing, heating and air, roof, and more. Be sure to place the home inspection as a contingency item on your buying contract. Include a time frame for having an requested repairs to be completed. Include whether the seller should pay all repair costs or if you, the buyer, would consider paying for some. This contingency gives you an “out” if the inspection finds a flaw that is too big or expensive for you and the seller to want to deal with.
If you suspect mold in the house, you may need to hire a mold specialist. Most home inspectors do not include mold tests in their line of work.
Your home inspector should provide a written report with photographs of the problem areas for clarity.
Once you receive the report, go through it and decide what is considered annual maintenance and what is a hazard. Decide what you would like the seller to repair, and what you will repair. Be careful in this step. Some requests to the seller could be a deal breaker and you’ll find yourself house hunting again. Put a time frame on your repair requests and once these are done to your satisfaction, you can release the home inspection contingency from your contract.
Realtors are professionals and have the training to guide you, the home buyer, through the buying process. They are not inspectors, however, and cannot tell you what to repair and what not to repair. That is a decision you will have to make. Your Realtor is your advocate and has all of the proper knowledge and the paperwork available to handle the contract, contingencies and other concerns that home buyers have. Consider hiring a Realtor when you look for your next home.
Eileen P. Saunders, Realtor
Tommy Morgan, Inc., Realtors
2092 Old Taylor Rd., Suite 101
Oxford, MS 38655