Staying out from behind the "8-Ball"
|When you're considering the
purchase of an existing home, it's very easy to
become blinded by your desire to close the deal on your dream house. The
"drive-up appeal" is there, the layout is just what you wanted, and there is a
nice, big backyard for the kids. Because you want to make this work soooo
badly, you fail to notice (either consciously or unconsciously) the cracks on
the walls, the rotting floorboards in the living room, that musty (yechh) smell
lingering through the halls.
Even though Nevada law requires that a seller is to provide a buyer(s) with a
"Real Property Information
Statement", to protect yourself & your investment,
you'll want to make sure that you have a professional home
inspection of the
property before you even give a minute's consideration to buying any house.
Remember, the seller will only surrender a copy of the Real Property Information
Statement AFTER an offer is made!! - so you want to ask any/all these questions
beforehand to see if they match with what the seller has entered on the form! An
informal "chat" with the current owners can be even more valuable than a pro-
fessional inspection. Why? Nothing beats face-to-face conversation. THIS IS
WHY I PRESENT ALL OFFERS "IN PERSON" WHENEVER IT'S POSSIBLE!!
Granted, the current owners want to sell ... But if they want to sell badly enough,
they'll respond openly and honestly to all questions, and they should be willing to
resolve any issues or conduct any repairs that stand in the way of us closingl.
So what should you ask the current owners?
The following questions will provide
you with a good start. And just like any journalist conducting an interview, as you
proceed with your questions, you'll often think of other points you want to cover.
These questions are just a guideline; feel free to jump off the course occasionally.
When possible, ask your questions in "open-ended" style. "Yes" or
are too easy for the respondent, and they don't help you as a prospective owner.
And as you listen to the owner's responses, don't interrupt. Let silence creep in
occasionally. Your silence tends to lead to the owner volunteering more information.
| Start with the following questions ...
Does the home have any structural damage,
including rotting floor boards,
cracks in the foundation, walls or basement floor?
If the home has a basement (yes, some homes
in Las Vegas DO have
basements!), has the owner experienced any problems with moisture
creeping inside the basement? This is a pricey repair, so make sure you ask.
Has the owner experienced any problems,
either recently or in the past, with
a leaky roof? If the roof has leaked in the past, did the owner have the roof
repaired or completely replaced? How long ago was the roof replaced? (A
professional home inspector, of course, can help validate the owner's
answer.) Even if the roof hasn't leaked in the past, you'll want to ask the
owner how old the roof is. Most shingle rooftops (typically made of asphalt
or fiberglass) have an average lifespan of 18 years. If the roof is nearing
that birthday, you're looking at a tremendous expense to replace it.
Has the owner ever had problems with termites? The vast majority of existing
homes sold in the United States have been inspected for termites prior to the
sale, but knowing if the home has a history of termite infestation will be of
help to the professional inspector and you. Note: To obtain a FHA or VA loan,
a pest inspection is required by a FHA and VA
Was the home built before 1978? Before
1960? Homebuilders routinely used
paint in homes constructed prior to 1960, and although the
practice had decreased in frequency by 1978, lead-based paint was still used
to cover the walls of some homes constructed during the 1970s. Ask if the
home has been tested for the presence of lead paint.
If the owner has
resided there for many years, a test probably hasn't been performed, and the
owner may not have ever considered the answer to your question.
Lead-based paint should be a particular concern if you have young children.
If the paint begins to peel off the walls and children ingest it, you'll be
tempting fate needlessly.
And while we're on the subject of dangerous
substances, ask the owner if his
or her home has ever been tested for radon.
Consult both your professional
home inspector and the local chapter of the Environmental Protection Agency
about requirements for radon in your new hometown, and whether local
residents have experienced high radon levels on average.
Are the air conditioning and heating
systems in good condition? How recently
were they replaced? You don't want to move in to your new home during the
heat of the summer only to be greeted with a rattling air conditioner.
Has the owner ever conducted any home
improvements? Was it a
do-it-yourself job, or did a professional contractor perform the work? If a
professional did the job, find out the name of the company and then check its
credentials. Was the owner satisfied with the quality of the work provided by
the contractor? and finally, was a "Building Permit"
ęCopyright Bart Austin - REALTOR«. All rights reserved.