• Ron Wynn

Red Flags In Your Physical Home Inspection

Whether it’s a $300,000 condo in Palm Springs or a $4,000,000 home in Santa Monica, “stuff happens.” If you’re buying a piece of real estate, our Santa Monica Real Estate Agents suggest that you reserve a ten to twenty-day contingency period to compute your due diligence which include conducting a thorough physical inspection, termite inspection, sewer line inspection, chimney inspection, and mold inspection.

Even though the fees you will pay to complete all these inspections can come to $1,000 or more, our Santa Monica Realtors say it is well worth it in the long run!

If the news you receive is really bad, you may decide to abandon your purchase completely and receive your full deposit back because you are within your contingency period.

If you choose to move forward with your purchase, most Santa Monica Realtors will tell you that you can attempt to negotiate repairs with the seller, although the seller is not obligated to say, “ok” to all or even any of your requests.

If the deal falls apart however, the seller is now obligated from the laws of disclosure to advise subsequent buyers to the content of your inspection and upon request to forward the actual reports in their possession.

From the seller’s point of view, you’ll usually hear them say, particularly in today’s robust market, “It’s an old house and it’s being sold as-is.” From the buyer’s perspective, we often hear, “we’re paying top dollar and we should not have to pay for deferred maintenance and urgently needed repairs.”

The question then becomes, “What is a code violation, health, and safety hazard and urgently needed repair versus a cosmetic need, a typically aging system in current operative condition or a complete upgrade of no urgency.”

Our Santa Monica Listing Agents say that for this you need a trained eye to read and understand your inspection reports. A good Santa Monica Realtor will walk you through the process and help identify the most significant severe issues, prioritizing issue from urgent to not so significant or urgent.

If you are without the assistance of a trained Santa Monica Realtor or advisor, look first at mold, water intrusion, and drainage issues, as these are the most difficult to remedy and most expensive to fix. Water intrusion can affect foundations, walls, and structure leading to health issues and impacting resale ability and future property value.

Next our Santa Monica Listing Agents suggest that you be sensitive to dry root which will be noted in your termite inspection in areas including roof, roof eaves, windows, subfloor, and door jams. Also take serious note to your sewer inspection and chimney inspections. Depending on where your sewer ties into the city lines a sewer replacement will cost from $10,000 to $25,000, most often closer to $12,000.

A cracked chimney that is deemed a fire hazard will need to be replaced from the break, usually at costs averaging $10,000 and in a 2-story home more likely $15,000. Correcting poor drainage involves diverting water away from the foundation which might necessitate the need for French drains and additional rain gutters.

Most Santa Monica Listing Agents will tell you that these costs totally depend on how many drains are needed and where they would tie into the city disposal. Costs might range from $8,000 to $25,000.

Hillside properties are another animal completely which would require the opinion and guidance of a qualified geologist and perhaps even a structural engineer and maybe even a civil engineer. This is serious stuff, so do not cut corners by going to someone inexperienced.

Also, be savvy about an overloaded antiquated old style electrical system, knowing that we live a life style today that requires a lot more on the electrical system than toaster oven and a few floor lamps.

The roof is also an expensive item to be conscious of and earthquake retrofitting is something to look at too, if it has not been handled previously. After that, most items are less of financial consequence but still all being worth considered.

In conclusion, our Santa Monica Realtors highly recommend that you don’t skimp on getting inspections, getting qualified advice and getting estimates for repair. Pick your battles based on the significance and urgency of the repairs needed and the costs associated with each repair.

Be sure your request for repairs is well written and supported with realistic cost estimates, and finally be sure you are in the hands of a competent, qualified, and caring real estate broker who will guide you through the process.

For comments, questions, or information, call Ron Wynn at (310) 963-9944 or email: Ron@RonWynn.com

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