Finding the perfect home is a long, emotional process. So much so that those searching for a new home often speak of the search in terms similar to finding a mate, with phrases such as “love at first sight” and feeling “chemistry” with a house coming up often. Much like finding a partner, many potential homeowners can become so enthralled with a house that they will often minimize problems with the property, often overlooking issues that should call for extra caution because they just feel the homes “vibe”.
Purchasing a home based on emotion is a bad idea, no matter how nice a home looks, how it makes you feel or how close it matches your idealized perfect home, if you don’t do your due diligence and take action if your dream home doesn’t make the grade, your dream home can quickly become a nightmare.
So now it looks like you’ve found your dream home and you’re excited. It’s in your price range and, at least outwardly, looks great! You want to buy it right now but you also don’t want to make a mistake. What do you do?
Check The Sellers Disclosure Notice
Before you even think about beginning negotiations, ask your Realtor to provide you with the sellers’s disclosure notice, a statement where the seller lists all the material facts about the property including any known problems or defects, past damage from fires, flooding, etc and any previous offers for the property that fell through because of a failed inspection. You should examine this closely.
Subject Any Offer You Make To Inspection
The home you find may match you visualized dream home almost perfectly, even so, be sure to add the phrase “subject to inspection” to your offer to purchase. This will give you the time to have the property properly inspected by a professional home inspector and any other inspectors (such as a roof contractor or professional roof inspector) if the home inspector finds issues that may require further examination. Always choose an inspector independent of the sellers recommendation from someone preferably without an interest in the outcome. The cost to hire a home and roof inspector can cost several hundred dollars but will be money well spent!
Be Present For The Home Inspection
You want to understand what the home inspector is looking at and what they recommend. Depending on the house this will likely take a few hours or longer but you’ll have a better idea of any issue or improvements that are needed and how to do it. The home inspector will inspect the roof to a degree but if there are any signs of potential problems it is recommended that a roof contractor or professional roof inspector examine the roof in depth.
Examine The Inspector’s Report Thoroughly
When the inspection is completed the inspector will provide a detailed report for you to review. While homes cannot technically “fail” an inspection (as it isn’t a pass/fail inspection), there can be enough problems where the purchase may not be worth it. A negative inspection also isn’t a numbers thing, having a long list of items that need to be fixed isn’t always a deal breaker. All homes, even brand new ones have their issues. Take a good look at the list, taking note of the size and complexity of the repairs, if it’s just a bunch of easy small repairs that it may be worth the time and effort to fix it up, especially if it’s your dream home!
What If The Inspector’s Report Is Bad But I Still Want The House?
If the inspectors report is bad, but you really like the home (and it isn’t being sold “as-is where is” (in which case, the asking price should be considerably less than comparable homes in good repair)) and you want to be sure it really is a bad deal before you walk away, talk to your real estate broker about having the contingency period extended. Then you can take the time you need to do your homework and make a fully informed decision.
Take this time and break down the inspectors report in detail, find out exactly how much repairs for every item would cost by getting at least 3 estimates from specialized contractors specifically for each problem, roof contractors for roof problems, plumbers for plumbing, remodeling contractors, etc. Figure out which problems are cosmetic, what can be put off or taken care of with maintenance, and what is serious, even life threatening and must be taken care of immediately.
Once you have all this information on hand you can use the report as a bargaining chip. Don’t be shy, ask the seller to take care of the problems in the report or adjust the price according to the estimates you received. If the seller doesn’t budge, but you really, really like the home, you need to decide on how much you are willing invest in the property over and above the purchase price.
By this point, you should have all the information you need include if the seller is going to work with you or not. If you’ve decided that the home is still worth the price even with the added expenses with no help from the seller, you can consider taking a FHA 203k loan which covers the cost of repairs and upgrade but comes at a cost in the form of a higher rate of interest than a standard mortgage.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, you need to be able to just walk away, a bad investment is a bad investment, as the saying goes, “you can put lipstick on a pig but it will still be a pig”, you may be in love with the way a home looks but if it’s a money-pit and needs more than just a little “TLC”, you need to be able to walk away.
Atlanta Roofing Specialists has been performing roof inspections for new home-buyers since 1993, if your home inspector recommends a professional roof inspection on a home you are considering buying call us today at 770-419-2222!