Congratulations! You are under contract on your dream home. You are very excited! You selected your inspections and they are scheduled. Your mortgage loan is moving right along as you took all the necessary documents to your lender and they have sent your information to underwriting for review.
Today you had your home inspection and pest inspection and some issues were revealed that you did not expect. It’s an older home so you knew there would be needed repairs but you did not plan on termite damage or water in the crawl space. The roof is not leaking but it is close to the end of its life according to the home inspector. Now what? How do we handle this?
Step back for a moment and look at the home objectively. The home is 40 years old and is functioning for the current owners. The home inspector did find issues that need to be addressed but are they “deal killers”? Do you think you can find a much better home in your price range or will you likely find issues in most of the homes that fit your budget. These are all things to consider before making the decision to terminate the contract or start creating a repairs list for the sellers.
Look at what you are capable of correcting yourself and what you can afford to hire professionals to fix. Do these items along with the price you are paying seem reasonable in our current housing market?
Let’s make a list of what you absolutely can’t live with, can’t fix yourself and can’t afford to get repaired. The most important repairs go on a Due Diligence Repair Request and we present to the seller’s Realtor to begin negotiations. Be prepared for the seller to say no to the repairs. Hopefully they will be willing to correct some or all but it is not required of them. In this market with so few available homes the seller knows if you don’t purchase their home there is probably a line of buyers waiting for it to come back on the market. They may have accepted a Backup Offer also. If they did accept a Backup Offer they will likely go to that buyer and ask them if they will buy the home “As Is” and if that buyer agrees they will probably not agree to fix anything or offer financial compensation for the needed repairs. The Backup Offer gives the seller confidence in selling the home and that makes them less negotiable.
Let’s say they don’t agree to fix anything and you don’t know what to do. You love the home but can’t afford a new roof right now because you don’t have an extra $7,000 in savings. There are no active termites but due to the previous termite issue there is damage to some floor joists and you know that needs to be fixed eventually. Water is coming in the crawl space due to clogged gutters, downspouts not directed away from the home and the front yard is sloping slightly into the foundation of the home pushing water into the crawl space.
Here are some solutions that we can discuss that may help you decide how to proceed.
- Would you be willing to get the roof replaced by a company that will finance the work and you can pay for it monthly? Can you afford the monthly payment? We can get a quote and find out what that payment would be so you can make a good financial decision. (VERY IMPORTANT: DO NOT apply for credit of any kind before you close on your home. A credit pull will likely stop your mortgage loan from going through)
- If the floor joists do not have to be replaced today are you able to save the money to fix that later? We can find out if they need to be replaced or if they can be stabilized to ensure the foundation is in good shape. By getting quotes we can determine if this will work for you.
- Are you able to clean the gutters and get downspout extensions from the hardware store to extend the downspouts away from the home? This is a very easy fix to relieve some of the water issue in the basement and a very common problem. Also, since the yard slopes toward the home we can get quotes on correcting that and talk with professionals on the necessary actions needed to correct. Sometimes this is something a buyer can do themselves. If not, we can get quotes to see if you are able to work it in your budget.
- Finally, do you have friends or family with the knowledge, time and willingness to chip in and help you make repairs? If so, let’s ask them to meet us at the house to look at what needs to be done and come up with a plan with them.
I hope you found this helpful.
What questions do you have about the home buying process?