Home turns into death trap

The use of the word “death trap” is probably overly dramatic but I see the same drama play out over and over again. People live in a home for decades. Children are raised in the home and maybe grandchildren visit.

The home goes on the market and the owner accepts an inspection contingent offer. The buyers have the inspection and many defects and safety hazards are found. The buyers have a list of repairs.

Don’t take it personally. Safety standards and local building codes are constantly changing. What may have been safe a decade ago isn’t considered safe today.

Your home might not meet today’s more rigorous safety standards. Some of the rules were made after someone died. The reason carbon monoxide detectors are required is that people in Minnesota have died from carbon monoxide poisoning in their home as they slept.

Home buyers should not panic if the inspector finds some issues and don’t be afraid to ask for reasonable repairs. Consider the differences between upgrades, repairs and maintenance items.  It is appropriate to ask for a repair if something is broken or if it leaks. It is appropriate to ask for maintenance items like a boiler tune-up or a chimney cleaning.

Houses need roofs and working heating plants and water heaters too and sometimes it is appropriate to have them repaired or replaced at the owner’s expense.

Home buyers should take care with how they word their repair requests.  Keep them polite and specific. Keep judgments and opinions to yourself. Do not assume that the homeowner was aware of the deficiencies or that they were trying to hide something.

Sometimes after inspection, the right decision is to walk away. There are houses that need too much work for the average home buyer and are a better fit for someone who wants to rehab a house.

Boardman Realty recommends that all home buyers get a complete home inspection.

Also, see How to find Truth in housing reports

Getting a home inspection

Dear house flipper

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