welmoed52 karma2015-01-17 18:26:42 UTC
It's hard for home buyers to keep a dispassionate view; they're busy imagining where Grandma's china hutch will go, or which kid will get which bedroom. You need to do a personal "risk analysis" before starting to look at houses. By this I mean you need to decide how much money you are prepared to spend to fix problems in the house after you've purchased it. Never assume the seller will fix things or give you money back, especially for bank-owned properties. Share this information with your realtor, so he/she doesn't show you houses that will require more work than you're prepared to take on.
The real biggies in terms of repairs include:
New roof (can be $8K or more, depending upon size & material)
New HVAC ($8K and up)
Foundation issues (Can be VERY expensive, like $15K)
Polybutylene plumbing ($10K and up)
Aluminum wiring ($50 per outlet/switch to remediate)
Chimney damage (chimney repairs can be VERY expensive)
Dangerous decks (life of a deck is less than 20 years)
Work done without a permit (can mean an insurance claim being denied in the future)
This is just a partial list, of course. The main thing is to be fully aware that any house you will look at will have issues. Choose your own home inspector; interview them and make sure you like how they communicate with you. Don't just blindly hire the one the realtor recommends; they may be great, but you want to have the final say.
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welmoed45 karma2015-01-17 18:44:51 UTC
Great question! One of the best things you can do is to make sure the inspector can access everything they need to. This includes the attic access, furnace and water heater, and electrical panel. Want the inspector to really love you? Leave a note in the kitchen that tells us the age of the roof, the HVAC, and the water heater.
Have the HVAC serviced if you haven't had that done in more than a year, and have the service report available.
Don't leave a car parked in the garage during the inspection; it prevents us from testing the garage door opener.
Since we'll be running the dishwasher, go ahead and fill it up with dirty dishes and put soap in the dispenser.
Make sure there are no burned-out light bulbs anywhere; since we can't know if it's the bulb or the fixture that's not working, we have to write it up as a defect.
Allow enough time for the inspector to do their job. I've had sellers of 5,000-square-foot homes who are indignant that we need more than two hours to perform the inspection. Figure on the inspector needing an hour per 1,000 square feet, including the basement space.
Take your dogs with you when you leave, and let us know if there are any cats that either are allowed to go out or not, or must be confined to a certain space.
Doing these things will make the inspection go smoother for everyone!
welmoed34 karma2015-01-17 19:02:31 UTC
Golly, we see so many weird things! But for me, I think the weirdest was finding an Emmy award in a garden shed. I thought it might be a fake, but I noted the name and looked it up when I got back to the office. It was real.
welmoed34 karma2015-01-17 23:03:54 UTC
LOL! No, I'm certainly not. He does things we home inspectors cannot, like ripping out drywall. Then he states that the inspector should have found stuff behind that wall.
welmoed25 karma2015-01-17 18:15:06 UTC
Sellers try lots of things. That's why I'm always suspicious of fresh paint and carpeting. Also, lots of air fresheners make me wonder what's being covered up.
Most of the time, we spot things because we follow a trail of clues. Bubbling paint on a ceiling can point to a leak in the roof, so we'll look at the underside of the roof very carefully while we're in the attic. We also get suspicious when there are stacks of boxes or other belongings in just one spot in the basement; we generally can't move an owner's things. But when we see water stains on the bottom edge of those boxes, we start to look more carefully!
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