Written by: Natalie Jones / homeownerbliss.info
Buying a house is a complicated decision, and once you’ve settled on “the one” and are wrapping things up, sometimes there is a hiccup. If there are repairs to be made or maintenance concerns, how do you determine what you should plan on handling yourself, and what falls to the seller? And what about the costs involved?
Start with a Professional Inspection
Right off the bat, one home repair-related expense that falls to the home buyer is an inspection. The cost of a home inspection is based on the size of the home and how long it takes, but it generally will fall in the $278 – $390 range. A small, new house will likely be less than an older, larger house. Typically, the inspection is arranged during contract negotiations.
Along with the many other expenses involved with buying a house, it can be tempting to skip a home inspection. However, there are plenty of good reasons to invest in a professional inspection when you’re buying a house. It’s a chance to ensure the home is up to par, examining the structure and functional elements so you don’t have any unpleasant surprises when you move in. It’s also a chance to back out of the deal if there is something beyond your expectations, and an opportunity to reopen negotiations with the seller.
What if Problems Are Found?
No house is perfect, and it’s not unusual for a home inspection to reveal issues. What then? The home inspection report will indicate what items need immediate repair, and what is less critical. It also might recommend contacting a licensed contractor to examine something specific.
Regarding negotiations, consider what issues are safety concerns and what constitutes cosmetic issues. For instance, you’ll probably need to replace broken doorknobs yourself (you can find new knobs at Home Depot for less than $10), while a termite problem is more serious.
If there is a problem, you should carefully weigh what you would be comfortable asking the seller to fix on your behalf. Think in terms of what is normal wear and tear, and keep in mind you aren’t likely to get those fixed. Instead, focus on repair requests for things like safety issues and structural defects. Sometimes a seller will insist on selling the home “as is.” This means that if you purchase the home, you’ll be responsible for all necessary repairs, including for major fixes such as infestations, roof issues, and mold problems.
In a seller’s market, you shouldn’t be surprised to see all requests rejected, but they might be more readily received if you frame the repairs as an investment opportunity on the seller’s part. You can also ask to get repairs credited off the purchase price. You also might be able to get a home warranty with the purchase.
In anticipation of putting a home on the market, professional home sellers and real estate agents often recommend an inspection to help set sellers up for success. It’s a chance for homeowners to avoid deals being delayed, unanticipated expenses, or closings falling through at the last minute.
As Forbes explains, a pre-inspection is essentially a good-will gesture on the part of the seller, suggesting transparency and peace of mind to the buyer. What’s more, it provides the opportunity to make repairs ahead of listing the home, and can also spotlight recent upgrades.
Another key method for showcasing a property’s features is home staging, and professional home sellers and real estate agents are turning to pros for staging more than ever. It’s a chance to give sellers a leg up in a competitive housing marketplace, and often can result in quicker, smoother sales.
A professional home stager knows how to use art, furniture, window treatments, lighting, area rugs, and greenery to bring out the best in a house. They can create a look that appeals to a wide variety of palates, enhance traffic flow, and show a house’s best features while downplaying its faults.
Navigating a home purchase is challenging, and home repairs can derail things quickly. A professional inspection can help you decide how to proceed. Ensure you find a dream home to keep you safe and happy, rather than a money pit.