Here are a few potential deal breakers when buying a home:
When looking at houses, always take a moment to check on the condition of the roof. Look for indicators such as how many layers of shingles are present, missing shingles or sagging roof lines. Once you’re under contract, your home inspector will give you thoughts on the condition of the roof and give you a professional opinion on whether or not it needs replacing. If the home you are looking at needs a new roof it could cost $10,000-$30,000.
Before You Walk Away: Work with your agent to negotiate with the sellers. Would they be willing to split the cost or put in a claim on their insurance if they have hail damage? An older, damaged roof is a concern, but it doesn't have to be a deal breaker with creative negotiation and budgeting.
Older homes don’t always have updated electrical systems and knob and tube or aluminum wiring can be a fire hazard and expensive to replace. Outdated wiring isn’t always easy to find and often isn’t discovered until new owners open a wall for a remodel. But rewiring a house can be pricy, and it’s best to try to find it before you close.
Before You Walk Away: Use your findings as a negotiating tool to get the price reduced or closing costs covered. Work with your agent to determine the best way to move forward without losing the deal. Consult with a certified electrician to determine the most pressing repairs and those that can wait.
During your inspection, your inspector will look at the indoor plumbing and functionality, but don't usually look at sewer pipes. Ask your agent to arrange for the pipes leading from the house to the street to be scoped to check for cracks or tree roots growing through the pipe. If you find major plumbing issues, asses the costs of repair before walking away.
Before You Walk Away: Just like many of the deal breakers on our list, plumbing issues can be an excellent tool for negotiation to get the price reduced, closing costs covered, etc. If plumbing issues are found, work with a plumber to assess the cost and time of repairs. Sewer line repairs can be the most costly, but they can sometimes be corrected with regular cleanouts.
Sometimes sellers make quick upgrades without a professional to help their home sell. When walking through homes with your agent, look past the gloss and shine to the real details of recent remodels. If the workmanship looks shoddy but correctable and you love the home, talk to your agent about your options before you walk.
Before You Walk Away: Ask your agent to help you pull permit records for the home to see if any of the remodels are on file with the city. Bring in a trusted contractor to look at the work and give you a bid to correct it and use the information you gather as a tool to negotiate with the sellers. If the work is just too costly or the sellers won’t budge, it may be time to walk away and find a different house.
Homes near a river or stream aren’t always in a flood zone and homes a ways from a river or stream aren’t always out of a flood zone. Enter the home’s address in the FEMA Map Database to see if it lies in a flood zone, so you don’t end up surprised later.
Before You Walk Away: Check with your insurance company about the cost of flood insurance for the home you want. Talk to neighbors to see how often the area truly floods and if your home is one usually affected. Your agent will advise you on how to proceed with the purchase if you decide to move forward.
Some buyers see deal breakers as a reason to walk while others look for creative ways to keep the deal together and get the home of their dreams. Before walking from any agreement, talk to your team to determine what is right for you. Sometimes the deal may be genuinely broken and other times you may have found an opportunity others would have passed by.