Protect yourself from the hidden dangers of home buying

Protect Yourself from the Hidden Dangers of Home BuyingOver the years, I’ve heard of countless stories like this from other agents.

A young couple decides to buy a home and they set out to do everything the right way.  They have the home inspected, termite inspection and a survey.  Shortly after they move in, they receive a letter from the city telling them that their sewer line is non-conforming and will need to be replaced within 90 days. 

Because the city had been in contact with the previous owner, this will likely be an easy case for the buyers to win.  However, they do not always work out this way and it’s still a pain I can live without.

While it is impossible to discover everything that a seller may be hiding, there are some steps that you can take to help find more of the potential problems during the inspection period. 

First, give yourself enough time in the inspection contingency to get all of the work done that you expect plus build in some additional time for the unexpected.  Many times things are uncovered during the home inspection that requires a bid from a contractor or a second opinion.  It could take a few days or more to get an expert to review your situation.  Don’t cut yourself short by limiting your time.  And if you find yourself needing more time due to the unexpected, ask for an extension of your inspection period. 

Second, a standard home inspection is great, but it will not uncover every potential problem.  If you have areas of special concern like termites, radon, boundary lines or an old HVAC, then bring in experts who can answer the question.  Relying on the owner for these answers is a recipe for disaster. 

Third, make sure that you understand the disclosure laws in the area where you are purchasing.  They can vary widely from state to state.  For example in Tennessee, a seller does not have to disclose if the property was the site of a suicide, homicide or other felony which has no effect on the physical structure.  Also, the seller makes almost no disclosures if the home was a foreclosure or if the seller has not lived there in more than three years.

Fourth, if you have one of those feeling like something might be wrong.  Explore those until you are satisfied with the answers that you receive.  Typically, we have this insight for a reason so it is in your best interest to investigate while you are in the inspection period. 

Last, work with an agent that is familiar with the area and the type of property that you are buying.  The experience of a good agent is invaluable in discovering all of the potential problems.  Their insight can save you time and money in the search for your new home.

What is your single biggest concern with buying a home?

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