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When to Walk Away After a Home Inspection
Dated: February 18 2021
You've picked out the perfect home, you put in an offer, you're the winning buyer. You send out the home inspector, you have his report or her report. Wait a minute. There are some issues with this home that you weren't aware of when you looked at it and made your offer. There are some reasonable requests you can make, but there are things on this report that you might just not be comfortable with.
Today I want to talk about five times that you may consider walking away from a home purchase after the home inspection.
Termites are those little bugs that crawl in and eat the cellulose in the wood. Sometimes you can see termite damage to the exterior of a home, on the side of a home that's been treated and it's been taken care of. I know our home that we live in currently; it looked like it had some termite damage before we purchased it 14 years ago. Each year we annually have a service come out and test for termites. However, if termites have been found to eat into the structure of the home or the framing that hold up from the foundation up to the roof, then it's a time you may want to consider backing away from the home because it can be very expensive to go in and fix the home to where it's a solid structure.
You walk in everything looks perfect, nothing's been disclosed in the seller's disclosure, only to find out that things have been covered up. A home inspector will go in and thoroughly inspect every aspect of the home from the roof all the way to the ground and look for things that you may not be trained to look for or know to look for. But sometimes you have homeowners that will try to cover up things with say a coat of paint or they didn't disclose something and you find out later that they knew about it. That is the point in time when you should walk away and maybe even consider running away.
3. Shoddy Workmanship
Or what I like to call the do-it-yourselfer that called Uncle Larry and offered him a 12-pack of beer to help. Then find out later Uncle Larry drank the 12-pack before he started work. Yeah, we've all done it. I know I've done it. I've jumped in, gonna do repairs at my house. I see the videos on TV. Chip and Joanna make it look so easy. However, they have crews that come in and do this on a daily basis. Just because you've watched a YouTube video and you think you understand how to make a repair to your home, not having the skillset sometimes can run you into issues. By that I mean, shoddy electrical work. Yes, I can probably put in a light switch, but if I don't know exactly what I'm doing, it can cause issues and cause a hotspot. Or say my painting, I somehow get into the ceiling a lot. You have to consider a lot of the improvements and a lot of the workmanship what's it going to cost for you to repair it, to make it look like something that you want to live in. Say you spent what the house is worth on the market but then you have to go back in and spend another $10,000 to rework a lot of the craftsmanship that weekend Larry had done and it's just not worth it. So shoddy workmanship or the weekend do-it-yourselfer may not always be the best person to follow into your new home.
2. Electrical Work
If the house was wired back in the 1930s, such as a lot of my house was, you still have cloth wiring and cloth insulation that can be a fire hazard, especially if you have spaces that rodents have gotten into and started chewing on the wiring. Wiring can be very expensive to replace throughout the whole house. Or most of your outlets are two prong and everything that you have coming in is three-pronged; it needs to be grounded. Something else to consider. How much is it going to cost to rewire the home? Think about it. Everything we own is plugged into a wall today. From our tablets to our phones, our television, everything is wired. So making sure that the wiring inside of a home is up to today's standards or at least up to the standards to be safe for you and your family and it's not too much to come in to repair. But electrical, the second, most common reason to walk away from a home after inspection.
1. Foundation, Groundwater and Mold
A foundation on a home is its base. It is what causes everything above it to stand and be level, to be cracked, to be moving, to be shifting or to be solid. If you find foundation issues in a home first thing you need to understand is, what is the cost? Most homes here in Texas, foundation issues are caused by the extreme heat and the drying of the ground. The ground shrinks up. Then we get extreme rains, an inch or two at a time. They soften the ground. The ground moves back, causes a lot of foundation issues. If the home is on a slab, the slab will crack. And part of it will move down, part of it may shove up or you're on a pier and beam and one of the corners where the pier and beams are being held starts to sink will cause issues on that end of the house. The other thing is, once there's a crack it will draw moisture in, moisture leads to certain things such as mold, mildew, they can move in and cause a lot of health issues for you and your family that you may not be aware of until they start happening and then you discover that, "Hey, my house has mold in it" because of a foundation issue and it could run into tens of thousands of dollars to repair. So the number one reason to walk away after a home inspection would be foundation issues, mold, mildew, and water problems.
Growing up in a family business in rural southern Illinois, I learned the value of making relationships with my clients. Farmers from five neighboring counties knew me by name, and not only did I kno....