Home Inspection Deal Breakers


Good morning once again from sunny Gloucester, MA :-)

With more new listings hitting the Real Estate Market every day and pretty quick sales, a good subject for today's Daily Tidbits Blog is Home Inspections. The rule is that once an offer has been submitted and accepted, the prospective buyer has 10 days to conduct a home inspection. It is best to make arrangements right away and not wait until day 10, since you want to allow time not only for the inspector to send you the report, but also for making decisions on the results.

Now, absolutely no home inspection will turn up flawless. It's like going to a new hairdresser where the fine work of the former one is critiqued for every hair out of place. Sometimes it involves trickery like when my wonderful home inspector discovered that the gas cooking stove we loved (and which was prominently featured in all ads) was not connected to any kind of gas source. There was no gas.... There also was no electrical outlet to plug in a stove.... Needless to say the seller had to take care of installing a propane tank and getting the oven connected. Many times issues are negotiable and, depending on the circumstances, will either get corrected by the seller or by a reduction of the purchase price so the buyer can fix them.

So there are minor issues which can be fixed quickly and reasonably (i.e. outdated power outlets, old pipes) and then there are findings which should make the buyer run the other way unless the purchase price is super low and the buyer likes a challenge involving plenty of available funds.

The following list points out five Red Flags:

1. Water intrusion and grading problems Water in the basement, condensation or mold on the walls and ceilings, and dampness in the air indicate moisture and drainage problems that could cost you a lot of money to fix. Trust your nose if you detect a musty odor. These issues are often a sign of improper grading which means water will continue to flow in. And mold is not only unsightly but dangerous to your health.

2. Structural damage Cracked walls, as well as poorly fitting windows and doors are signs of structural damage. Your cost to fix these problems can run anywhere from $20,000 to $200,000. Ouch!

3. Roof repairs Old shingles, water stains on ceilings or rotting rafters are all indicators that the roof may need to be replaced. This is another really expensive repair, and usually one which cannot wait long. After a down payment and closing costs, who has $$$ left over for a new roof?

4. Window replacement Windows that don't open or close easily (or at all!), fit the frame poorly or display condensation between the panes may need to be replaced. Depending on the number nd quality of windows, this could run between $5,000 and $15,000. Sometimes there may only be one or two windows affected. In that case it is not such a major problem but it should be a heads-up to really examine all the windows very closely.

5. Insect infestation A general inspection should show you whether the home has a pest problem, which may require a more in-depth examination by an expert (aren't you glad you didn't have the home inspection on day 9?). This is a serious issue because some pests (termites, carpenter ants, carpenter bees) can cause structural damage.

We as your agents can recommend fair and knowledgeable home inspectors who we work with frequently, and who like us so much <bigsmile> that they want to really watch out for our clients! This is why I now have a functioning gas stove and can cook all those recipes I'm posting here ;-)

I leave you with a photo of a gorgeous VERY old farm house in my VERY small home village of Giech, Germany. Don't even pretend you've heard of the place! A classmate of mine grew up in this house which is built in the "Fachwerk" style, and I'm very excited to go back to Giech in May for...wait for it...my 40th First Communion Reunion!!!

Enjoy the sunshine ;-)