It’s easy to forget when you are spending a lot of money on a house that you are buying a USED home (unless you happen to be building a new one). And often it is at least several years old, if not a few decades or more. When we first talk to buyers we find out how comfortable they are with home maintenance which can dictate how old of a home they might be comfortable with. But truth is a lot of older homes are better built than some of the newer styles. But that’s another whole blog post so we won’t go over that here. But the real key is that when you’ve successfully worked out the Purchase Agreement (PA) with the seller, you’ll want to pay and professional inspector to carefully go over the home to point out any flaws or defects the home has that aren’t readily apparent.
As you are looking at homes with your real estate agent you can usually note the basic conditions that tell you what might be needed. Because we’ve talked to our clients before showing them homes we’ll point out things and ask if they are comfortable taking care of that after the sale. For example, many homes will need some painting of some sort, and most our clients will be OK with that since they might want to change the colors anyway. But for holes in the walls or cracks in the ceiling it might depend on how handy our client is as to if that makes them move on to the next home. The reason we point this out is these are the items in the homes condition that are readily apparent and are “known issues” at the time you write the purchase agreement. So you factor those items into what you are willing to pay for the home. We help guide our clients on what their costs may be in addressing these issues.
The inspection after the PA is accepted by both parties is to look for the “unknown issues”. A good inspector will help educate you about the home you are about to purchase going over items like the furnace operation, water shut offs, etc. That’s why it’s important to be there why the inspector is doing the inspection. Unlike many agents we try to be there for all our buyer’s inspections. (sellers should leave during inspections). Inspectors will ALWAYS find something wrong, it’s their job. And remember these are USED homes. The age of the home will also determine how to look at issues as building codes have changed over the years so what’s OK in a 50-year-old home may not be for a home only 10 years old. What I like to point out is there will be a list of items the inspector finds on every home as no home is perfect. So as either a buyer or seller, don’t freak out when you see the list. That’s why we like to be there so we can mention this or that is a common problem found in most homes. Having attended many inspections, we’ve listed below many of the common items found at inspections, even in homes less than 10 years old. For a buyer don’t be surprised at the list and as a seller look this list over to see if you can address some of these items before you put your home on the market.
- Loose outlets and switches (very common)
- Open /uncovered junction boxes
- Non-working GFCI outlets (important in newer homes)
- Non-grounded outlets (important in newer homes)
Furnace / cooling systems:
- Dirty filters (very common)
- Dirty furnace (showing lack of servicing)
- Improper ventilation for combustion systems (gas, propane, oil)
- Indoor circuit breaker not matching outside AC unit
Windows / doors:
- Broken seals on double-pane windows (very common)
- Doors that won’t latch
- Broken / cracked glass
- Missing / damaged screens (very common)
Roof / exterior:
- Roofing nail pops (very common)
- Loose or missing shingles
- Loose vinyl siding
- Roof damaged (hail damage or worn out)
- Rotten / damaged soffits or window trim
- Unlevel or cracked concrete patio / sidewalk / driveway (very common)
- Gutters full of leaves
- Improper downspouts
- Dishwasher drain without proper loop (very common)
- Leaky pipes / drains under sinks
- Low water pressure (common in older homes)
- Improper water heater pressure relief valve drain pipe (very common)
- Sump pump inoperative in crawl spaces
These are just some of the more common items that are found in just about every home. If you inspected your current home today many of these items would probably show up. The main thing to keep in mind is you are not buying a perfect home (inspectors will also find problems with brand new builds). Use the inspection report to address items that relate to safety, security, and structural conditions. That’s what we are there to help you with as you go through what some might call the ‘scary’ home inspection. It’s usually something that all parties can negotiate items to be addressed and it’s very rare that a buyer has to move on to another home. Having a good REALTOR will help you make your deal work out, as either a buyer or seller.
Contact The Derrick Team today at 317-563-1110 with any questions on buying or selling real estate. We work 7 days a week, evenings too!