10/02/2017 by Deb Federico
Home Inspections, 6 Potential Deal Breakers
Selling your home is an exciting and challenging time. All the work that goes into preparing your home for the market, researching, painting, decluttering, then having to leave your home for the endless showing appointments. Finally you have an offer and a signed contract with buyers and you start to breathe normally, but wait, there’s still the inspection. The licensed inspector will come in to educate the buyers on your home systems and look to see what’s wrong with your house. Yikes! Will the hurdles ever end? Then the questions start to mount.
- What will they find?
- What will I have to fix?
- How much is it going to cost?
In my experience, most inspection items are really not a big deal and very easily remedied, but there are some potential deal breakers. When it comes to inspection items these are the more common reasons that home contracts fall apart and how to avoid it.
Water is beautiful isn’t it? Oceans, lakes, even a backyard water feature can be a serene backdrop after a hard day’s work. However, when it starts penetrating your foundation or dripping from your ceiling it’s anything but serene.
Even small amounts of water, over time, can produce mold and rot which can be unhealthy for you and your family as well as ruin your home. In this area of the country, ice dams can be a major problem. When it comes to preventing ice dams, I do recommend you hire a contractor to inspect your attic and roof and fix any problem that could contribute to their development.
Water is an enemy of your home and anything you can do to prevent it from sneaking in would be beneficial. For your basement watch the grade of land from your foundation. Any pooling of water near your foundation can spell trouble.
If you have or had water problems everything needs to be disclosed and taken care of.
Protect Your Home From Mold
Mold can go hand in hand with water, but you don’t need to see water damage to have a mold problem. Mold can develop on surfaces anywhere there is moisture, even behind walls. Molds have the potential to cause health problems which is why buyers will generally steer clear if mold is found on an inspection.
The solution is to take care of it as soon as you are aware of it. Have a mold remediation company come in and analyze what type of mold it is and clean it up, but determine the source of the moisture and fix the problem, or the mold will return. Whether you are going to remain in your home for an extended period of time before you sell or you are listing tomorrow, mold can be harmful to you and your family and send buyer’s running. Here’s an interactive tour of how to protect your home.
Septic System Failure
If you have ever been in a home when the septic system fails you know this can be one of the most costly systems to fix. Many homeowners don’t think about the septic system until there seems to be a problem. There are no set rules for how often you should have your tank pumped. It has to do with usage and tank size. My advise is to have this system inspected before you put your home up for sale. Provide the buyer with information on how big the tank is and where it’s located, which should be on the inspection report. A buyer may still have it inspected but for your own peace of mind this inspection is worth every penny.
When a buyer is informed of a problem with the system they have two or three options. The first is to walk away and find a home without a septic problem. The other is to allow you to fix it before the sale closes which could delay the sale (If there is a lender financing the sale, most likely you will need to complete the work before you close) or if they are paying cash they may ask to reduce the price of the home to make up the cost of the septic issue.
If you currently can’t afford to pay for this type of expense, call your local health department or environmental agency. They may be able to refer you to lenders that allow for low cost loans for these repairs. Check out this great resource on septic systems.
Check For Radon
Radon is an invisible, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that is produced by minerals like uranium and radium in the soil and poses an increased risk of cancer, primarily lung and stomach cancer when found in concentrated levels in homes. New Hampshire has state information regarding radon.
Testing for radon in the air of your home and in the water (usually if you have a well) is something that inspectors do regularly for buyers. This is another instance where you could test it ahead of time to be prepared. Test kits can usually be found in your local home improvement store, just follow the directions carefully. The radon mitigation systems are not inexpensive but buyers are not interested in purchasing a home with dangerous levels of radon.
Well Water Problems
On home inspections both the quality and quantity of your well water could be tested. If you don’t currently have a filtration system for your well water and the levels of certain contaminates are higher than the state or federal health standards, you may be in a position where a filtration system is needed to sell your home.
Even if you do have a water filtration system all systems require some maintenance and any testing you can complete prior to listing your home will assure buyers that it is fully operational and successfully doing its job.
Pests And Rodent Infestations
There is a wide range of bugs and animals that could move into your home. Maybe you think one little field mouse is not a big deal but just one can disrupt insulation, chew on wires and steal your food and if you let them stay, they could have a litter or two or three becoming a major nuisance very quickly. Just an FYI even if you hear one but can’t find it, trust me the inspector will find the evidence and it’s just wiser to take care of the problem while it’s small and manageable.
When it comes to pests termites and carpenter ants can threaten the structural integrity of your home. For this reason alone it is important to stay on top of preventing these buggers from entering. Keep water away from your foundation and take care of any exterior damage of your homes siding including window sills. Any untreated wood including chopped wood should not be stored near your home.
Saving The Sale
Everything mentioned in this article can have a positive resolution if handled promptly. Disclosing the problems you had to a buyer is necessary, but then showing them that you hired a professional to repair it goes a long way in reassuring them that you are on top of the maintenance of your home. You could even pay for a full inspection prior to listing your home for sale. Buyers will still be encouraged to hire their own inspector but at least if there are any major problems you will be aware of them and have the opportunity to fix them beforehand which will keep the sale of your home running smoothly.