Homeownership Horrors: What Can Go Wrong

Dated: March 26 2024

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Homeownership can be scary.

Real estate agents have seen the unintended difficulties their clients can face after buying a home. Let us help you put some worries aside.

Lesson: Get a Home Inspection

A broken HVAC system or a water leak could result in thousands of dollars in damage. A home inspection may help uncover potential problems before a purchase, but more than a quarter of buyers are waiving the inspection contingency, according to the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index. An inspection can help reveal any defects with the property that may not be visible.

Lesson: Get Insurance Lined Up Immediately

When purchasing a home with a lender, the financial institution will require homeowner’s insurance, and sometime flood and other insurances, to be in place before closing. Cash buyers should follow suit. Whether purchasing in southern states with extreme weather or norther states with freezing temperatures, anything can happen to the property at any time, even the day of closing.

Lesson: Don’t Shrug Off Red Flags

While a home inspection can help, buyers also should be on the lookout for signs that might indicate costly problems, such as a sagging roof, watermarks on the wall, poor ventilation or windows and doors that don’t shut properly. Even tiny cracks in the wall can indicate a foundation problem. Also, read all disclosures carefully. Do not let the excitement of being a new-home owner cause you to make an ill-advised home purchase.

Lesson: Consider Extra Inspections

Not every component of a home is included in the inspection. Depending on the property, buyers should consider a sewer scope, lead-based paint test, radon test or termite inspection in addition to the standard home inspection. Also, ask your insurance agent to explain the insurance policy to you and what it does and does not cover. For examples, sewer backups are not always covered in standard policies and would need add-on coverage.

Lesson: Perseverance Can Pay Off

Even if something happens to the property before the closing date, buyers may want to continue with the purchase. For example, if the house has a small fire, ask to renegotiate the price to reduce the purchase price by the amount of damages and get a construction loan for the repairs. Having a knowledgeable real estate agent, great attorney, and stellar mortgage broker on your team will have you buy the home of your dreams.

-taken from Melissa Dittmann Tracey, contributing editor for REALTOR© Magazine, 10/30/23

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Monica Luzarraga

For more than two decades, I've been working as a real estate agent and co-owned a real estate development company. Throughout this time, I have had the pleasure of working with a diverse range of cli....

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