Take a Second Look!
If you’re seriously considering making an offer, you can ask to take a second look yourself for potential problems and questions. Allow enough time. Make notes about things you may want to replace, and your concerns. Additionally, you can ask to accompany your Home Inspector, and compare your notes to his report.
Spend time in the Basement. Look for cracks and damaged walls. Signs of water problems include damp floors, sump pumps, black mold. Look up to see if pipes and heat ducts are wrapped which could be asbestos in older homes. See if the electric box has fuses or breakers. Is the heating system working? Will the basement need to be cleaned out as a condition of the contract?
Plumbing. Run water in several places at once to check the water pressure and drainage. Has the water been tested?
Bathroom. Is there a working fan vent? Look for evidence of mold in the ceiling and around tub.
Kitchen. Are the appliances in good working order? Look under the sink for water damage. Look under items on the countertop for possible damage.
Windows. Are windows operable and double-paned with storms/screens?
Flooring. Lift up area rugs. Look for water damage, stains.
Electrical. Your Inspector should check.
Energy Efficiency. Ask what’s been done. Insulation? EE appliances? You can request utility costs.
Exterior and Yard. Does the land slope toward the house? Is the siding damaged? What’s the roofing material? Is the roofline straight?
Understanding It All!
In the sales contract and financing documents you may learn some new words. Ask for clarification about anything you don’t understand.
Sales Contract “Contingencies” or “Subject to” conditions protect you the buyer. If things go south you want to be able to walk away. Your contract contingencies may include “subject to financing”, “subject to home inspection”, “subject to appraisal”, “subject to pre-closing walk through”.
Market Value is what comparable properties recently sold for. The bank’s appraisal is their evaluation of the market value of your property. Your sales contract price may be higher or lower.