Whether you are buying or selling a home, you need to be made aware of any potential issues that could affect the overall deal. A home inspection report can uncover minor issues like a blown-out light or perhaps a major one such as a leaky roof or bad foundation. Both buyers and sellers need to focus on the “deal breaker” issues that are uncovered during an inspection to keep the home sale moving forward. Both parties should be knowledgeable about what to do if something serious is revealed in the inspection and how best to proceed. Read on to find out which home inspection report issues can hold back a home sale, and when it’s okay to sign on the dotted line.
Most people are aware of the cancer-causing substance, Asbestos, and how it can lead to serious health issues. Unfortunately, homes built pre-1975 could have Asbestos in the roofing felt or in roof penetration sealant. Other possibilities includes the tape used to seal ducts, cement board siding, and older tiling (9-by-9 tiles). Unless disturbed, Asbestos isn’t usually problematic. Some areas such as Asbestos in siding or 9-by-9 floor tiles can be remediated by covering them with other materials to protect them from damage. However, Asbestos insulation around pipes that is crumbling is a serious health issue and should be remediated by a qualified Asbestos abatement contractor prior to closing.
Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive, carcinogenic gas that can sometimes be found in homes, most commonly in basements or crawl spaces. If the home tests positive for Radon, it should be addressed sooner than later as it can filter through the entire home. Radon levels above 4.0 picocuries per liter call for the installation of an active remediation system. The cost could range between $1,500 and $2,500. If you can’t afford to solve a radon problem before you sell, you might want to adjust your asking price to allow the buyer to complete the remediation.
Buried Oil Tanks
Homes built between the 1930s and the 1990s carry a good chance that something large is buried on the property. Unfortunately, it’s not treasure — it’s an oil tank. If the tank was buried properly or professionally decommissioned, and the seller can provide suitable paperwork to confirm it was done right, you could chose to leave it there. If you decide you’d rather it be removed, this really falls under the responsibility of the seller. The cost to remove a tank that is intact with no leakage can run upwards of $5,000. If an inspection shows that the tank is leaking, removal could cost tens of thousands of dollars to correct not to mention the affect this may have on the groundwater/water table.
If you’re buying a house and find exposed wiring, what should you do? Though it poses a safety hazard, this is generally not a huge issue. More concerning is if a home is wired with “knob-and-tube” – an old-style wiring that is common in homes built prior to 1930. The outdated system rarely holds up for more than 80 years. Any outdated or exposed wiring should be updated, though it may be preferable to have your own contractor do the work so you can have control over the quality and to insure that the proper permits are obtained. The buyer can negotiate so that the work is reflected in the home’s final price.
When an inspection report lists that Black mold has been found in your potential new home, you may need to step back and re-assess. Not only is this a health concern, but just having the word ‘mold’ on an inspection report can affect the financing. If you really want the home, have the seller hire a professional to rid the home of mold. Be sure to have mold testing performed after the removal process to insure all is clear before you purchase the home.
If the inspection report reveals termite damage, think long and hard before moving forward with the purchase. Fixing the damage will prove expensive as this entails removal and replacement of the damaged elements, as well as, treatment of the entire house. A house with termite damage will also require an inspection by a structural engineer to confirm the integrity of the framing and whether any additional support is needed. Before buying a house with termite damage, be sure to procure paperwork from the termite company stating that the house now has a termite warranty. This is extremely important as you may need to show your lender the paperwork.
The Bottom Line About Home Inspection Reports
If you’re selling a house, any big issues uncovered during an inspection will most likely scare off some buyers. However, addressing these issues and repairing prior to closing, will instill confidence in the buyer that the home is worth the price you’re asking. If you prefer, you can try to cut a deal with the buyer allowing them to choose their own people to do the work after the sale. Either way – the inspection report provides valuable information for all parties involved.
Tom Reese has 20+ years experience in helping his clients sell their homes for a price that sells and makes them a profit. Tom has helped his clients buy and sell property in every neighborhood in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati.
About Tom Reese
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