Buying and Selling a home in the Greater Boston Area

Buying a Home? Avoid a Home Inspection Horror!

Posted by Avenue 3 Real Estate on Wed, Jun 13, 2012

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inspection reportCongratulations!  You have found your new home among current Somerville Condos available, at Open Houses Cambridge MA or among the Lexington MA homes for sale.  You have fearlessly negotiated your offer and are moving on to home inspection. 

To be sure you are hiring Sherlock Homes and not Inspector Clouseau, seek referrals from friends, check the ASHI website (American society for home inspectors), Angie's List or the Better Business Bureau.

Once you find your inspector, you will spend more time than you ever imagined, looking at every crack and crevice in the basement, climbing under stairs and into attics.  You will receive a thoughtful written report that outlines all the horrors and dangers of your newly acquired abode.  Now what?

A couple of suggestions: 

First, get to the truth.  For any significant items, ie. roof replacement, chimney work, termite infestation etc.  it is worthwhile to have a contractor i.e. a roofer, pest company etc, look at the problem to validate or contradict the inspectors opinion - they can be wrong you know.  You will also obtain estimate for treatments or repairs to use in negotiations. And remember that it behooves you and the seller to have this portion of the process over as quickly as possible.

Second, negotiate to your advantage.  Ever seller is different and some will not negotiate to repair the kitchen ceiling that is now serving as the kitchen floor, but here are some guidelines that may help with more reasonable folks.  Don't shoot for the moon.

Divide the issues into these categories:  maintenance, repairs, and improvements.

Maintenance items include mortar in stone walls, chipped paint, deck staining etc. These items are typically not negotiated unless the number of them is overwhelming. 

Repair items include things that are not functioning as they should...leaking roofs, broken dishwashers, rotted garage doors etc.  These items are negotiable to some extent with most everyone - you may not get 100% because you get to enjoy the fix, but you should get something.

Improvement items include adding to the property as it exists.  This may include upgrading electric to add central air, enlarging windows for the garden view, paving the driveway to remove the asphalt etc.  These items are not negotiable for most sellers, and including them in the negotiation list may just undermine your credibility and cause the seller to say no to all reasonable requests.

Be fair, put yourself in the sellers shoes, and embrace home ownership and the "list of things to do" that will occupy your Saturday afternoon.

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Topics: home inspection, buying a home, home sales, MA Real Estate, buying a condo

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