What To Do After A Bad Home Inspection
A bad home inspection can be discouraging and even a little scary for a home buyer. For many people thinking about purchasing a home, the thought of buying a property with maintenance and repair problems may sound overwhelming. If you’ve made an offer on a home and have just gotten a bad home inspection report, it’s important to know what steps to take first and how to proceed with the home purchase.
Put the Inspection In Perspective
Even the best-maintained properties will have malfunctions, corrosion and wear and tear. Many homeowners live for years with these maintenance problems, sometimes without any knowledge that the problems exist.
For many homes, the most serious and expensive to fix problems will be structural. Issues with the roof and foundation can be very expensive to repair and are not problems that should be deferred till later. If the report turns up problems with either of these systems, look into getting repairs done right away. Other serious problems include:
- Plumbing: Leaks in the walls can cause water damage and wood rot.
- Sewers: Sewer problems can cost thousands of dollars to repair, depending on the severity of the problem.
- Electrical Service: Older homes sometimes have faulty or insufficient electrical service. Getting a new breaker box installed can be expensive but necessary.
Contact the Home Inspector with Questions
Read through the home inspection thoroughly. Some parts of the report may be confusing. Seeking clarification can help you determine how severe a problem really is. If you have questions about the report, contact your home inspector with your questions.
Meet With Contractors
Once you’ve identified parts of the house that may need extensive repairs, time is of the essence. In most cases, home buyers have only a short while to look into a home’s problems and renegotiate the contract before the repair contingencies need to be lifted.
Contact contractors to inspect and recommend repairs for each problem area. If possible, meet with the contractors at the house to get the bids for each job. Tell the contractors that you’ll need the bid as soon as possible, as some contractors will take days or weeks to return a bid to a potential customer.
Make a Decision
Home buyers facing problems that are severe and expensive to repair will be faced with a decision.
- Renegotiate: Home buyers can request repairs to be made to the house or a warranty to cover old appliances before the close of escrow, or may negotiate a lower price for the property. Your real estate agent can help you determine what is the best choice in your situation.
- Walk Away: If the seller will not fix the property or renegotiate the price of the house, the buyer has the option to walk away. If the problems with the house are severe, like a foundation problem or a catastrophic sewer problem, this may be a better option than continuing with the purchase of the property.
- Continue With the Sale: The buyer can choose to lift the contingencies and continue with the purchase of the house without renegotiating the price or seeking repairs. If the damage to the house is not serious, and the house is already priced competitively, this may be a reasonable course of action. In some cases, home sellers will list the house "as is," meaning that repairs will not be made to the property by the seller. If the house being purchased was listed "as is," there is little room in the contract to negotiate.
Consult With Your Real Estate Agent
Your real estate agent can help you decide what is the best way to proceed after a bad home inspection. To find out more about how to get the best deal for your upcoming real estate purchase, contact your real estate agent for advice and assistance.