Here are 5 real estate deal breakers and how to keep a deal alive in spite of them:
A good and well maintained roof can last for up to 30 years and is an important part of a home. Pay close attention to the condition of the roof when looking for homes. Look for indicators such as multiple layers of shingles, missing shingles or sagging roof lines. After you are under contract you can ask for the seller to disclose the date of the last roof replacement. Inspectors will look at the roof and let you know their findings.
A new roof can cost between $10,000 and $30,000 but you don’t have to walk away from the home just yet. Talk to your agent and work negotiate with the sellers. See if they will be willing to give you a concession to help cover the cost of the roof. If the roof was damaged by hail, ask the if the sellers are willing to file an insurance claim to cover the cost of replacement.
Old walls hide a lot of things including outdated electrical. Knob and tube or aluminum wiring are old forms of wiring now considered dangerous as they can be fire hazards. These problems are expensive to replace and hard to find before purchasing a home.
Rewiring a house can be pricey, but you may be able to make a deal. Talk to your real estate agent to see if you can use the findings as a negotiating tool to get a reduced price or have the seller's cover closing costs. Before signing on the dotted line, arrange a time to bring in a certified electrician to determine the scope of the repairs.
The inspector will look at the indoor plumbing, but sewer pipes aren’t usually inspected. Talk to your agent and arrange a filmed sewer scope to see if there are any major concerns lurking under yard. Sewer scopes will look for cracks or trees roots growing through the pipe.
If you find a major issue, use it as a bargaining tool. Talk to your agent and a licensed plumber about the scope of the issue and bring it to the attention of the seller. You may be able to get a repair, reduced price or your closing costs covered.
Fix and flips can get you a great deal on an updated home but can also lead to problems down the road. In an effort to keep costs low many flippers use sub par materials and skip professional help and permitting. Generally speaking, shoddy workmanship is only a major hazard if it involves electrical, plumbing or structural work. An unlevel kitchen counter or low quality tile job won’t cause you or the structure harm.
If you see shoddy workmanship, talk to your agent about options. Surface level problems can be great bargaining chips to get a concession, but major problems are something you may want to walk away from.
What is and isn’t a flood zone may surprise you. Homes near a river or stream may not be in a flood zone but homes far away from a body of water may be in a flood zone. Before going to see a house, and definitely before buying a house, visit the FEMA Map Database to see if the home is in a flood zone.
While being in a flood zone may sound like a deal breaker, but as with all the other items we’ve discussed, it doesn’t have to be. Check with your insurance company, or several insurance companies, to get a quote on the cost of flood insurance for the home you’re interested in. Talk to the neighbors and see if they’ve experienced flooding and how often. Finally, talk to your agent to see what they believe are the best next steps.
If your dream house comes with a major issue or two, you don’t have to say goodbye just yet. It’s always best to talk with your agent about options and how best to proceed. What seems major today may end up being minor and get you a better deal.