Who’s Gonna Fix This!
You had your home inspection and your inspector has provided you with a laundry list of things that need repair. What do I do with this report? Who’s gonna pay for the leaky roof? The electrical problems? The Air Conditioning Servicing? My GFwhat isn’t working either? Take a breath……When most inspectors complete their reports they usually contain several pages of items that you never even knew were in a home. Some of it because building codes change constantly and older homes may not have been built to the same standards.
That’s okay, we simply point that out in our reports. The fact that your kitchen may not have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI’s) or your outside faucets don’t have Anti Siphon devices installed is nothing to become alarmed about. These are simply code changes that have occurred over the years and your home was built before they came into effect and the Texas Real Estate Commission requires that home inspectors point these items out. Learn about what’s in your report and decide for yourself if you should have it fixed. If you had followed me around during your inspection, I would have pointed all these items out to you and explained their purpose. \
Most buyers have figured out that if you’re going to pay six figures for a house, a couple hundred dollars for a home inspection is money well spent. But what isn’t obvious, though, is how buyers, or sellers, should react to the pages of information the inspector hands over. After all, the house isn’t perfect….no house is. So, now what? Remember the line from the movie “Seabiscuit”? “You don’t throw a life away just because it’s been banged up a little”.
Objectively, there is nothing on a home that cannot be fixed. It just comes down to a matter of cost. An inspection report is first and foremost an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from roof to foundation. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s an “objective summary”. Next to marriage, death, or taxes…..home buying may well be one of the most emotionally charged events you will have to deal with. Try to deal with it as “objectively” as possible.
Your home inspection report summarizes the condition of a homes systems, points out the need for major repairs and identifies areas that may need attention in the near future. Your report is intended to maximize your knowledge of the property in order to make intelligent decisions before executing an agreement for sale or purchase.
It’s now a matter of negotiations. Should you demand repairs? Well ask yourself these questions; What are the sellers willing to fix? Can you live the problems? Are they important enough to have fixed? Should you walk away from the deal? It is your money, your future home, and your decision. Homes do not “fail” or “pass” an inspection. It just doesn’t work that way. No matter what some Real Estate Companies may advertise.
You have to decide for yourself whether or not it’s worth it TO YOU.
When I go to buy a used car I automatically assume that it will have some problems that I just don’t know about and won’t know until I’ve driven it awhile. So I base my offer on that assumption. If the car is obviously banged up or hasn’t been cared for, I base my price on what I know about it. I know going in that it will need some work so I base my decision on what it’s going to cost me to fix it up and what I can sell it for later down the road.
Same holds true for your home. Significant problems, such as with the roof, heat, electric or plumbing warrant a second look. Get estimates from licensed technicians on what a new roof will cost if the roof is worn out, or it may need a new A/C unit, or needs some electrical or plumbing work. Maybe the foundation has some problems that need to be addressed, get an estimate and outline of repairs from a structural engineer or foundation repair company and base your decisions on how much all those repairs are going to cost you.
Also consider this, if your home has significant foundation problems and repairs are required……what effect will these repairs have on the resale value of the home when it comes time for YOU to sell it. Ask several Realtors about the resale potential of homes with foundation repairs. It’s typically been my experience that sometimes these homes may be more difficult to sell. Again….ask lots of questions.
Even if the contract says “as is” you may still usually ask for repairs or back out of the deal. Whether sellers will agree to those repairs is another matter. Some sellers may agree, some may not, and some may be happy to split the difference. Check with your Realtor or Attorney for the exact details of your specific contract.
Don’t Be Surprised……BE SMART!