How to Pick Your Battles After a Home Inspection
Congratulations! You found a wonderful home, and the sellers have accepted your offer. One of the next important steps in your home buying process will be scheduling a home inspection. Home inspectors go into great detail about every flaw and potential issue they find in the home so that you know what you're getting into and can negotiate repairs with the seller.
As the best title company at the Lake of the Ozarks, Arrowhead Title has a team of real estate transaction experts that know inspection reports can seem intimidating. Your perfect home can suddenly seem like a dump as you look through descriptions and sometimes even pictures of stains, damage, and potential safety risks in the home. Read on to learn how to navigate your inspection report so you know which repairs to fight for, and which are better to do on your own once the sale is final.
Structural Issues vs. Aesthetics
Some loan agencies require that all structural concerns be addressed before they will release the mortgage funds to you. Check with your loan officer to see if they have any requirements about the structural integrity of the home before deciding which repairs to request.
Cracks are one of the most common observations listed on an inspection report. Some cracks are merely cosmetic, while others could indicate a much bigger issue with the home's foundation. For instance, cracks in the drywall naturally occur over time as a result of minor settling in the foundation. However, cracks in the foundation itself can spell disaster for your home's future. Read the inspector's report carefully to determine how serious the concern may be with any cracks they discover.
After reviewing the foundation of the home, the next important area to investigate is the roof. Your inspector should carefully look at the home's roof to see if there is any apparent damage or leaks. The seller may also have records of how old the roof is to help determine the its overall condition. If there were issues with roof leaks in the past, there could be brown water stains on the ceiling. You will likely want to make sure this is just a cosmetic issue left over from previous damage, and not an ongoing leak that will cause problems for you in the future.
Termites. Just saying the word can strike fear into any home owner. Because these little pests eat away at the wooden components of your home, they can seriously threaten its structural integrity. A home inspection can help reveal current, and previous, termite activity. If there is any evidence of termite tracks in the home, it is recommended that you have a termite treatment implemented right away to help avoid further damage.
Another element loan agencies may look at is the overall safety of the home. If there are too many unaddressed safety concerns, you may lose your loan and the house you love so much. Some of the biggest safety concerns in a home are electrical issues, fire hazards, and problems in the foundation.
Electrical issues in the home can cause a lot of serious problems. Your inspection report should indicate whether or not each outlet in your bathrooms and kitchen have a GFCI, meaning Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. These circuit breakers turn off electrical power if there is a ground fault, thereby helping prevent electrocution. This is especially important in kitchens and bathrooms where several high-powered appliances are often used simultaneously, and around water.
While the foundation can be considered a structural issue, it could also be a safety issue if it is not well supported. If the home's supports are weak or rotting, they could collapse and cause the floor itself to give way.
Fire hazards are another big concern that should be addressed. Check the inspection report to make sure there are smoke detectors in every room and major area of the home. Also make sure that every bedroom has a window large enough to escape through in case of a fire. If a room does not have a window, then it could legally not qualify as a bedroom, which in turn affects the value of the home.
While some discovered issues won't threaten your loan status, they could prevent you from living comfortably in your new home. Pay special attention to the reports on your air conditioning, heating system, and plumbing. These home essentials can be costly to fix, so having them up to code and running well when you move in can help give you peace of mind.
There will likely be cosmetic issues with the home that you want to fix. These can be better to take care of during your own remodeling projects after you buy the home, instead of during the home inspection negotiations. Nail holes, faded paint, any stylistic choices... those can typically all be easily fixed later. If you try to ask for too many minor repairs and updates, the seller could get offended and reject your offer entirely.
Your Lake of the Ozarks Home
No house is perfect. There are likely going to be several issues that come up during your home inspection. While it can be overwhelming, having a thorough home inspection report can show you what you are up against in your new house. If you come across issues that you can't live with, there are a few options you can pursue. You can request that the seller fix the issue before closing, you can ask that additional funds be made available in escrow to cover repairs you will have to make on your own, or you can see if the seller would be willing to provide a home warranty to help cover issues that may arise from reported concerns.
Once you are ready for closing, know that Arrowhead Title is the best title company at Lake of the Ozarks. We can help smoothly guide you through your real estate transaction, including the handling of escrow services and title insurance. Call us today to schedule your closing! We look forward to working with you.
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