Don’t freak over a bad home inspection SanTan Sun News

Don’t freak over a bad home inspection

January 25th, 2021 SanTan Sun News
Don’t freak over a bad home inspection
Community
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By Jennifer Billock
Guest Writer

When I was buying my first house, everything seemed too good to be true – at least at the start of the process.

But it turned out too good to be true. My smooth path to homeownership suddenly became rocky when the inspection report came back with a big fat failure.

I immediately panicked. What did it mean? Was I still able to buy the house? And if I did, was it going to fall apart?

After a few calls with my real estate agent – who, at that point, had become more of a home-buying therapist – I learned that a bad inspection isn’t that rare.

During the process, though, I learned a lot more than I ever expected about home inspections.

Houses don’t really pass or fail

Though my home inspection appeared a failure, homes aren’t actually graded on a pass/fail system.

“There is no such thing as a failed inspection,” said Karen Kostiw, an agent. “The inspection just points out small and potentially larger issues that you may not be aware of.”

Sure, some houses can sail through the process and others may fare poorly, but it’s not a “You can never buy this” situation if there are problems with the property.

For me, my mortgage hinged on a solid inspection, so the initial results meant I wouldn’t get the loan unless things were fixed.

If I had enough cash on hand or wanted to try a different mortgage lender, I could have continued with the purchase even with a negative inspection report.

So, if the house you’re set on buying ends up having issues, you still have options.

Most inspection issues are small

It’s important to remember every home inspection report will come back with something, according to Broker Kate Ziegler.

The inspector’s job is to call out any trouble spot. Also, all issues noted in the report aren’t equal: Some problems flagged by an inspector can wait.

“The inspector will find defects – sometimes many defects – but that does not mean buyers are not purchasing a good home,” Kostiw says.

Red flags do exist

Ziegler and Kostiw agree that though most repairs are easy fixes, some items should give you pause if you see them on your report.

Structural problems, antique electrical systems, old windows, unexplained water damage, evidence of termites or wood rot, a bad roof, asbestos, mold, radon, and lead paint are all red flags that can show up during a home inspection.

If fixing these problems is impossible or beyond the means in your budget, you may want to reconsider your purchase.

Don’t try to fix things yourself

Unless a repair is something truly minor like caulking a bathroom tub or putting a cabinet door back on its hinges, don’t try to fix anything on your own.

You could make things worse or even injure yourself. Hire licensed contractors that you’ve vetted to handle any problems. And try not to leave it all up to the seller. They’re not going to be living in the home. You will be.

Work the costs into the sale

At first, I worried I would have to pay to fix everything that was wrong with my house. But it’s important to know you can work the cost of repairs and how long it should take to make them into the sale.

Say you can’t afford to fix the busted water heater but the seller can. You can raise the offer price by that cost, or you can trade off: The seller fixes one thing, and you fix another.

Realtor.com provided this report.

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