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Jack McSweeney – REMAX Estate Properties – DRE#01027223
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A home inspection can make or break a transaction. Without it, you wouldn’t know if you’re buying a money pit or a home that will last a lifetime.
Homebuyers are responsible for hiring a professional home inspector, who should uncover possible problems before they buy the home. An offer on a home is often conditional upon a successful inspection.
The inspector should evaluate the physical structure and its critical internal systems. These include:
- Heating and cooling systems
- Walls, ceiling and flooring
Windows and doors
There are some things a home inspector may not uncover. These can include hidden problems like pests, mold, asbestos and flaws in areas below ground or that are inaccessible, such as wells and septic tanks. Additional inspections, such as for termites, may be needed for those areas. Some states require a pest inspector before a home loan can close. Even if it’s optional, a pest inspection is a good thing to add as a buyer.
Try to be at the home during the inspection. Follow the inspector around the house and ask questions. You should be able to ask about potential issues and how to make repairs or take care of certain areas of the home.
Don’t chat the inspector up too much. It could distract them from their work and they could miss something. If you can’t be there, meet with them later to go over the report.
Remember that an inspection is only a snapshot of the time and day of the inspection. A home might perform differently in the winter than the summer.
Home inspections are very detailed, so expect to see dozens of issues—many of them small—in the list of deficiencies. The severity of each problem should be listed, and some may even include cost estimates to fix each issue.
If there are too many problems than you’re willing to handle that are found in a home inspection, you can back out of the sale or negotiate with the seller to make the repairs or lower the price.
But not all infractions are equal. If you’re going to negotiate some repairs, focus on the red flag items such as the roof, foundation, HVAC systems or other expensive problems. Don’t worry about small details like a cracked electrical cover or small things that can be easily fixed with a trip to the hardware store.
Buying a fixer-upper home isn’t for everyone. An older house with a lot of character may look great, but a professional inspector may find issues that make it a more expensive home than you think.
Here are some things to check in that fixer-upper “dream home” you really want to buy:
Plumbing, electricity, the roof and structural issues in the foundation are some things a home inspector should prioritize. They’ll advise you on what you need to replace immediately, what you can wait on or what you don’t need to fix at all.
Walk through the house with the inspector and check on the expected lifespan of the various home systems. If an air conditioner, furnace or other major item needs to be fixed, get a cost estimate before proceeding with the home purchase.
Buying a fixer-upper can mean more than repainting the walls or remodeling the kitchen. If it doesn’t have enough room, you may want to add on to the house. Or, you may just want to knock down a wall to expand the kitchen. Is that a load-bearing wall? Can it safely come down?
Check with your city’s building department to see if you can expand. If the home is in a historic district that could limit modifications.
Ask a Contractor
Before buying a fixer-upper home, hire an architect or contractor to look at the house with you so they can give you estimates on repairs or additions.
Many contractors will give you bids for free, so you should get a few opinions before deciding who to work with. Architects may charge an upfront fee.
Some cities offer tax credits for improving their property value. If the home is in a historic district, there might be tax benefits to restoring it to its original condition.
The local power company may offer rebates for installing solar panels, dual-pane windows or other energy-saving features. State and federal governments may also offer tax rebates for energy improvements.
The bottom line is to not let the low price of a fixer-upper house entice you too much. There could be problems under the surface that may put it well beyond your budget.
This property is available now if you want the best view property on the esplanade in Redondo Beach. $3,150,000
Call me for a private showing if you can’t make it to the open house. Jack McSweeney – REMAX Estate Properties – 310 346-0391 – DRE#01027223