Real Estate
September 21, 2018
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A house that needs work should not be overlooked

By: Scott Sheldon
June 22, 2018

If you’re purchasing a house, whether it’s a primary home, move up home, or secondary home and the house needs work, don’t shy away. Here’s what you might want to think about when buying a house that needs some TLC…

How bad are the repairs? Just because you are pre-approved to purchase a house does not automatically mean the seller writes a check to make the repairs. The following things may be prudent to consider when purchasing a property that needs work.

How long have the repairs been needed? If some of the work on the property is new and does not have a history of being there it might not need to be corrected right away. For example, let’s say a roof is starting to show signs of wear and tear, this is something that could be potentially fixed down the line as income and finances allow.

Are the repairs structural or cosmetic? If the repairs are structural have you received at least two to three bids to determine if the property really does need to be fixed right away? Not all the repairs that come back on a home inspection report need to be cured and fixed immediately.

Most real estate properties listed for sale are “as is.” The seller is required to provide to the best of their knowledge all known material facts. Hiring a pest inspector or a home inspector to find something wrong with the property, only to go back to renegotiate might work, however, the expectation should be if the house needs work and it visually supports it, then that’s the purchase price. Remember, if the house does not need any work you would be paying a higher price for the house. The seller is under no obligation to make the repairs to the property to appease a buyer looking to stretch their pocketbook as far as possible. Everyone wants to feel like they’re getting a fair piece of the pie as they should. It should be about a win-win for all.

Let’s say the house that you’re looking at does need some repairs going back to our roof example… many times a roof can be patched and it can be fixed down the line. If the property has other repairs such as cosmetics like new carpet, new paint, base boards etc., those can have a dramatic effect on the appearance of the property not to mention switching out and or the painting of the front door along with touching up the front yard. This standpoint can have a dramatic impact on the curb appeal which directly supports purchase price. Remember, a house that needs work is something that you can always change and customize and mold to how you see fit over time. Houses that need work are almost always considered gems in a high cost home market such as Sonoma County.

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Scott Sheldon is a local mortgage lender, with a decade of experience helping consumers purchase and refinance primary homes second homes and investment properties. Learn more at