When you find a home you wish to buy, one of your next steps will be to have it inspected. If all goes well, the inspector won't find any major issues, and you'll move forward with the purchase as previously agreed upon. But what if that's not what happens? What if, instead, the home inspector reports back to you and brings up several issues with the home you want to buy? Here are a few ways you could proceed.
Option #1: Retract Your Offer
Usually, when you make an offer on the home, the contract to buy is written such that if there is a problem with the home that comes up during the inspection, you can back out of the sale. If the problem is a major one that will require thousands of dollars in repairs, this might be your best approach. Common reasons for buyers to back out of a sale post-inspection include:
- Badly damaged or poorly functioning septic systems
- A roof that requires replacement
- Unstable foundations or a foundation in need of repair
- Paint or other home building materials that contain lead
- Termite damage
- Substantial mold growth
Most of these problems are fixable, but fixing them takes a lot of time and effort. Unless you're looking for a fixer-upper, you are best off cutting your losses and finding a different home.
Option #2: Ask the homeowner to fix it.
If you really like the house and the problem is fixable, you could simply ask that the homeowner fix the issue before you go through with the sale. You can keep the sale price the same, but amend the contract to make the sale contingent on certain changes being made. This works well when the home inspection report turns up worrisome, but fixable issues such as:
- A lack of insulation in certain areas
- A few windows that are leaking
- A struggling water heater
It would be a shame to pass up on a home you love just because the water heater hasn't been replaced in 15 years or someone didn't put a second layer of insulation in the attic. This option works well in these cases.
Option #3: Reduce your offer.
The third route you could take would be to reduce the amount you offer to pay for the home. For instance, if you offered $140,000 but found out that the home needs a new hot water tank, you could reduce the offer to $138,000 for the home as-is, and then replace the water tank yourself once you move in. This option works well for minor issues when you really want to get into the home quickly, or when you don't necessarily trust the homeowner to do the work to your standards.
Talk to your real estate agent and home inspection services like Shield Home Inspection to learn more about these options and which might be best for you.