Before any home inspection takes place, remember that all homes will have some problems. Even new construction homes receive write-ups on an inspection report. The purpose of the report is to inform you of the condition of your home. Knowing the existence of condition concerns, you can now evaluate the costs and determine what options are best for you.
Opinions vary greatly as to which conditions noted are acceptable “As Is”, or could cost you a lot of money now, or in the future. Review the pros and cons of each situation, and get a second opinion on any area you have concerns.
Your Options Are:
- Accept certain conditions “As Is.”
Evaluate the condition of the home and accept the fact that no house is perfect and proceed with the sale with knowledge of the present conditions. Houses are sold as-is for a reason. Consequently, there’s all the more need for the buyer to obtain a professional property inspection.
- Ask the seller to fix selected conditions.
When armed with the cost estimates, you could ask that certain items be repaired before closing. You must also understand that the seller is not obligated to accept terms that you dictate. Repairs must be detailed as to standards of workmanship and materials. These can add to the complexity of the sales agreement and very often result in arguments and litigation about terms. Repairs and negotiations can drag out the sale indefinitely, costing all parties time and money. If you’re firm about having the seller do the repairs, specify in the purchase agreement that work must be done by licensed contractors. Require that permits be pulled and inspections completed by the authority with jurisdiction. State that written proof must be given to the buyer with work guaranteed for 1 year from date completed. Specify a date for the follow-up inspection if one is planned, preferably a week before the closing so there is time to resolve outstanding items.
- Renegotiate the sales price.
A seller may adjust the purchase price or contract terms if major problems are found. If the problems are costly you will be able to make your decision about purchasing the home with the proper knowledge about the future cost of that home. Neither party is required to enter into price negotiations. Chances are they have priced the home with most conditions in mind.
- Reject the sale.
It’s your money. Don’t let sales pressure saddle you with years of buyer remorse. Unless you have experience fixing up homes, you may find yourself in a situation where there are too many problems, or they’re too large, complicated and/or expensive. This can happen when the home inspector finds serious problems with the foundation, structural problems or multiple whole house systems needing to be replaced immediately. If you don’t have the time or skill to deal with these repairs, and the seller won’t correct the problems, then you likely will have to walk away from the deal.