Home inspectors are hired to perform an objective evaluation of a home's condition, but at times, their discoveries can prompt the buyer to terminate a sale contract.
The following three issues kill the most deals:
1. Cover-ups. The house may look great, but a deeper inspection may reveal short-cuts on repairs or renovations made by a prior home owner. These commonly occur in homes that were purchased to be flipped. "I sometimes find flips in need of structural repairs or discover chronic moisture problems that were covered up in an effort to sell the house," Chalk writes. "On the outside, everything looks new and shiny, but there may actually be deep dysfunction lurking in the bones of the house." He also finds problems with vacation homes that have been remodeled multiple times over the years. "There can be a hodgepodge of foundations, additions, and rooflines that make them fundamentally different than they appear," Chalk notes. "These are not 'bad houses,' but they are often quirky and may present risks that buyers weren't anticipating. One tip that often gives these homes away is a quirky roofline that shows obvious additions."
2. More repairs than anticipated. This is a common scenario with younger homes, Chalk says. The clients may say, "It's only 20 years old!" But while most 20-year-old houses are in good shape, they often require expensive replacements for systems that last only 15 to 20 years. Systems that usually need to be replaced after 20 years are a deck, furnace, roof, and appliances. Carpets, the home's siding, and even hardwood finishes may need special attention at that point, too. The maintenance list may come as a surprise to some buyers.
3. The home has bad bones. Buyers go into fixer-uppers knowing they intend to do a host of repairs, such as the furnace, kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, paint, and appliances. But buyers may not have taken into account the foundation, frame, roofline, floorplan, and drainage. A home inspection that turns up structural problems or drainage issues will add a significant amount to the buyer's budget — even pushing them out of their price range.
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