Home Improvement

Offer accepted. Inspector presented 90 pages of issues.

By September 7, 2019 48 Comments

From plumbing, to boiler not working, to most likely lead needing to be removed, back porch needs demo … its seemingly the more I read the inspection report, the more I’m beginning to worry this may be a pit I’ll regret.

How do you all handle the inspection reports. I have 8 days to back out.

*** UPDATE *** I WALKED. The seller wasnt willing to negotiate after the report, even considering going down 1 dollar. There was too much in the report and sadly, after discussing with family and thanks to this board for the help, I am going to make the choice to back out. This post blew my mind and I thank you all.


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48 Comments

  • midrangestrange says:

    Find the major issues and have your realtor go back to them with everything that needs to be fixed in order for the sale to proceed. Alternative is to get estimates for how much it will be to fix those major issues and just ask the seller for that amount.

  • thetruthteller says:

    Do you know the inspector? He might be a lowball buyers friend and trying to get you to walk away so his buddy can use you as leverage to get the place even cheaper. Everyone is real estate is lying to you. Remember that.

  • leonpinneaple says:

    90 pages sounds like a lot!

    For me, some things are a deal breaker on a real state deal. Lead and asbestos are expensive to abate, I would stay away from that. A boiler that doesn’t work isn’t complicated per but expensive. What “back of the house demo” means?

    As the other comment said, if you have the cash to fix it, then offer the sellers less money. Otherwise, have them fix the main things.

    Good luck!

  • dmcc155 says:

    Yikes, I’d run. My folks bought a 100+ year old house. It just needed some light remodeling. Touch up here and there to make it their dream home.

    Within three years, they scraped 2/3 of the second story, almost every component in the home needed work or it was subpar.

    10 years later and they still haven’t finished. My dad can’t wait to leave cause he hates seeing what a money and time pit it has been and wants to cut his losses, and my mom doesn’t want to leave because of how much money and time they’ve put in.

    They’re going to make it the distance we’ve all concluded.

    If you went into this house and missed seeing all of these issues, either your inspector is lying to you or you’re in way over your head. My rule for estimating a job is to double my budget and triple my time frame to complete.

  • EvidentlyEmpirical says:

    BAIL OUT!

  • skirtacus says:

    I had an inspector when I was looking to buy my home. I got about 10 pages back on the homes that had too many issues for me to consider, and 6 pages on the home I ended up purchasing. Unless you’re seriously handy and have cash to blow on repairs; I would back out of the deal. Your realtor should be able to get you out based on the inspection clause.

    90 pages does sound suspiciously high. Did the inspector take the time to explain everything to you? My inspector had me be at the house with him for 3 hours (small house) when he did the inspection and physically showed me the issues he spoke to in his report, perhaps you can go back to the home and look for things described in the report. I offered on 2 different houses which didn’t pass inspection before finding the one I ended up buying. At each home he summed things up by saying if the home was above average, average, or below average in quality compared to other homes in the area of similar age. For the 2 dud houses, he was able to point out physical characteristics of the home that indicated issues (horizontal foundation cracks, poorly done tile work, etc) which I was able to see for myself.

    I suppose if you’re handy and monied then just start making a list of all the inspection points in order of priority and see if it’s stuff you actually want to tackle. Otherwise I would back out of the deal.

  • kctrem says:

    Just a tip, don’t ask seller to fix stuff. Get the money for it, they’re gonna try to do it as cheap as possible.

  • Saucy6 says:

    I got a 50-some page report on our last house, but a lot of it was little things.

    Your 2 options:

    1) assign a dollar value to each item, total it up. Add x% for unknowns. Ask for a credit. They likely won’t give you the full amount, but you can negotiate on that. Then be ready to renovate for the next (insert number here) years.

    Keep in mind that you can’t really ask for credits for things that were disclosed or things that are “obvious”. I’d be pissed as a seller if you asked for a credit to demo the back porch that’s falling apart. Also keep in mind, the house is 120 years old, there’s bound to be problems……

    2) walk

  • dadbread says:

    Are you buying this house as a home or investment? If the other houses you’ve been looking at are move-in ready with few repairs – jump ship! But if you are looking for a house that’s rough around the edges then this sounds fairly common.

  • Fake_account27 says:

    Upload the report of you are woried. My report was 25 pages, but there where only about 10 things that were major issues. Seller fixed half and i did the rest.

    Fyi though always ask for money vs having the seller fix. Seller is going to fo with Cheepest option

  • seattle-diarrhea-dad says:

    This sounds like a detailed inspector on a 120 year old home. The 90 pages doesn’t scare me but what is actually wrong would be my concern. Do not try to fix everything or it’ll end up costing you a fortune. If there are a few things that need to be done that’s one thing. If a lot of it is urgent then I would run.

  • raist_magi says:

    For what it is worth, our home inspection found a ton of issues. Most of which I had already discovered.

    I knew going into it we would require a full remodel. The home is three finished floors and we have to live, and work here during the remodel.

    I have myself fixed all the dangerous things, and am currently remodeling one floor at a time.

    My advise, never ever ask a seller to fix things, they will do it for profit (cheap as pissible) but you will likely want the best affordable for everything.

    But a word of caution: it is NOT easy to live in a construction zone…

  • out_of_sqaure says:

    Just a reminder that it is an inspector’s job to include literally anything and everything that is wrong or *could* be wrong. If there is a stain in the carpet, he will include it. Door slightly sticking? It’s probably on there. He hopefully labelled each item according to how drastic each thing is.

    Also remember that anyone saying to just tally up the total for fixing everything and subtract it from the sale price has no idea how real estate sales work. If you received a 90 page report back about things that aren’t up to par, chances are that the seller is aware of 90% of those things, and probably took a lot of them into account already in creating the sale price. Unless they’re listing their home at top dollar value, the only real wiggle room you have is probably for things relating to your health and safety. There will always be something to fix in whatever house you buy, it’s just part of owning property. It’s up to you to decide what’s really important to you to fix. Good luck!

  • Pigmy says:

    Looks like a back out of the deal thing to me. As much as I like doing things around the house, unless this is a house you are planning on working with while living somewhere else I wouldnt even attempt it. Projects will be good enough for now and deprioritized and it’ll be an ongoing thing for a good long while.

    Also, cost. You are entering into the deal already behind. You are paying for a property and will likely never recover the cost of whatever it is that needs to be done. Even if the market skyrockets it sounds like 90 pages of faults means 10s of thousands of dollars. You might break even if you DIY all of it in that scenario. Consider what you paid (earnest money + inspection cost) money well spent and saving you a ton going forward. I’d probably heavily tip, recommend, highly review on every place his name showed up, and/or loan out myself or my wife sexually to that inspector because I know several who just go through motions and dont really give a shit. He saved your bacon on this one my friend.

  • BookEight says:

    The major issues WILL show up on your appraisal, if you agree to move past your inspection!!!

    That means the lender may REQUIRE that things affecting function and livability and safety, are fixed BEFORE you can close your loan. Are you paying cash? Becuase any lender is going to be quite interested in the state of the property.

    Non working boiler affects livablity. Sounds like the back porch may be unsafe. and the support needed for the basement/floor… that may be a structural integrity issue, for all we know.

    If you’re buying with an FHA loan, that house is trouble. and even if you are using a Conventional (non-fha) loan, you need to know what will be required in order to close on the home.

    https://www.fanniemae.com/content/guide/selling/b4/1.3/06.html

    > The appraiser must identify

    > items that require immediate repair; and

    > items where maintenance may have been deferred, which may or may not require immediate repair.

    > The appraisal Additional Comments section must address needed repairs and physical, functional, or external inadequacies.

    YOUR AGENT should be your #1 resource for how to navigate over the next 8 days you have to decide.

  • QuesaritoOutOfBed says:

    Best option if you really want the house is to get estimates for everything that would be needed to be fixed and have the sellers drop the price by that amount.

    That said, really think about if this is the house you want. Best case scenario, they drop the price by the amount needed, you have enough (or get a mortgage for enough) to have all the repairs done immediately, and you can’t move in for several months while the repairs are under way.

    It is highly likely that as the work is done more issues will come up, increasing the probably already high cost and long time the work will take.

    More likely case, you will be living in a house that you know is not up to code and personal safety standards and is a money pit.

    If it is a one of a kind dream house then just take that passion and use it to carry you through the work. Otherwise, think hard about whether the stress is worth it. Maybe this seems a little trite, but watch The Money Pit.

  • NewWiseMama says:

    I was you. Run. Don’t get cold feet if the agent says that isn’t done. Imagine giving away your life to remodeling for an endless amount of time.

    We now just remodeled a 1940s house versus the 1920 I backed out of and I learned old houses have good points like strong wood and some really old points like knob and tube that need work to replace.

    It’s not just the money. Trust your gut. If you wanted to accomplish anything in your life besides a remodel for an extended period of time it’s on hold or you can’t live there increasing your living costs. 90 pages is egregious. Leave this money pit and find one you can live in.

  • Economy_Leg says:

    Some inspectors pride themselves on creating enormous reports, no matter how minor or trivial the issues. You need to cull through it and find out what is serious and what is pointless.

    Also keep in mind the inspector may flag issues that are not an active problem but are “not to code”. Building codes change every 3 years so unless your house is brand new there is probably a lot that does not meet current code.

  • pxxb says:

    Do you love the house? Is your agent a strong negotiator and not just trying to close a sale?

    Can you see yourself loving the house enough to learn every nook and cranny and really enjoy working on it?

    Try to emotionally separate yourself from the house and be willing to walk away if middle ground can’t be struck. The seller 100% doesn’t want to put the house back on the market and risk an economic downturn. Figure out how much it will cost to take care of all of the issues and see how much the seller is willing to give. The critical issues should be non-negotiable.

    Also, not knowing your situation, but asking for some of those credits to cover your closing costs would be wise so you can keep cash on hand for repairs.

    Will you be paying mortgage insurance? If you will be in the house for 5+ years and the answer is yes, consider asking the seller to pay upfront mortgage insurance to get you out of that payment as well.

  • Ouibad says:

    Where was your realtor during the showing?

  • ProgGeek says:

    I didn’t see my perspective mentioned so I thought I would share this. I apologize if I missed it and this is duplicate (kinda long post to parse).

    I would definitely back out. The inspector spends ~2 hours in the home and these are the issues they found. Once you move in and start using things, it is highly likely you will see more problems.

    In my case, the inspection report was 37 pages. We only had the owner address one thing. Now, after we moved in, things started to fail, notably the expensive stuff like hot water heater and central HVAC. These worked when the inspector checked them. They broke within our first year and ran us in the neighborhood of $18K to fix. So the inspector assesses “here and now” but you have to have a budget for stuff like this unless all of the high dollar components are relatively new. You could argue that we should have gotten a home warranty, but the problem with those is they pick the absolute cheapest company who does the worst work and picks the cheapest components. If you care about quality then a home warranty is hard to justify.

    Also something else the inspector didn’t find in our case was an unbalanced HVAC system. One end of the house has far more vents/ducts than the other end. So in the summer, one side is much warmer and in the winter it is cooler. It’s like a 5 degree difference walking across the house. We had the duct work addressed but that was another $5K.

    My post is kind of long and I apologize for that. I was trying to illustrate that the inspector really doesn’t check as many things as you’d like and most things you won’t see until you start living in the house. If you’ve seen this many problems in a short inspection period, think about what could happen after you start living there.

  • peckrob says:

    I’ve been on both ends of this. No house will ever be perfect.

    Were you there with them when they did the inspection?

    When selling my last house I got a similar report from a buyer’s “inspector” with a bunch of bullshit in it. About half of the things they flagged were just flat out wrong (like they claimed the HVAC drain line terminated less than 12″ above the ground, I sent them a picture with my tape measure next to it), a bunch more were just stupid minor issues that could all be fixed in an afternoon. Only about 4 were things I, as a buyer, would have wanted fixed before the sale closed. I needed out so I offered $1000 in cash at closing to fix them and the buyer agreed.

    Same thing happened to when I bought this house. The inspector had a ton of really incredibly minor issues, many I didn’t care about. But the leaking water heater needed to be fixed before I signed. In that case I had the buyer agree to use my plumber and paid them an extra $400 at closing to upgrade to a tankless, so it worked out.

    My suggestion would either be:

    1. If you **really** want the house, get a second inspection by a different inspector. Be sure you are there with them when they are doing the inspection, but don’t mention the previous inspection (your goal is to get clean information). Then, compare the two lists and divide them up into major and minor issues. Major issues would be deal-breakers, that either need to be fixed or the seller gives you cash at closing to fix them. Minor issues would be things that you could either fix yourself or you could use to negotiate the sale price down.
    2. Move on. There are plenty of houses, and if the house really does have 90 pages worth of serious issues, no amount of time and money will ever fix that. You will be dealing with it for years.

  • Z0diaQ says:

    Wow iddn’t think this would be so popular. Thank you all for giving input. I’m going to run this by a few contractors. if i cant fix this up for a reasonable price, i may walk away.

  • gdjeff says:

    Back out! The inspection is only what can be seen by observation – who knows what else could be wrong. You might end up needing to gut the entire house. Would you pay the price you negotiated if you had to take everything down to the studs?

  • coyowile says:

    I still remember my previous house that had tons of problems the inspector never noted. Ended up raising the house and having a new one built in its place. It turns out that the inspector was out hunting when the inspection was written. He went out of business before we got into the legal battle. Now we always check business licenses and bonding before having work done.

  • art_________vandelay says:

    Walk away slowly

  • GTAHomeGuy says:

    Inspections are there for a reason, and don’t feel bad if the inspection saved you a nightmare.

    That being said, they may be common things that aren’t all that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. I would talk to your inspector and ask an overall opinion on the place compared to similar homes how would it stand up? Then talk to friends and family to see their thoughts. A lot of times what can seem scary to a buyer may be more common than you think, and not as big a deal. The inspector needs to make you aware of the deficiencies. A good inspector will help you understand the overall picture. I have had clients nearly walk from an inspection which I (being a realtor) knew to be typical things. The fear is normal and a good thing to weigh the property appropriately, but it may be unwarranted and that’s what you need to find out through asking others.

    Inspection reports where I am as well are typically super large and preprinted as to ALL deficiencies, with things highlighted that are specifically of concern for the property. Please discuss it in greater detail with the inspector, only they know the reality.

  • blakeusa25 says:

    RUN AWAY the sounds like a dump

  • bolean3d2 says:

    You need to break out the inspection issues into critical “must fix” and annoyances / minor issues. Then look only at the critical list and get an estimate from a contractor for fixing those. Even a brand new house will have inspection issues, not everything an inspector finds is a deal breaker. For example, I bought a house 4 months ago. The inspector identified the garage door binds a little when opening and closing. Does it work? Yes. Does it look like it’s going to catastrophically fail? No. So it’s not something we asked the sellers for money on to fix. Cracks in our foundation and leaking water however you bet we negotiated for a major discount on. Things like GFCI outlets I didn’t ask for $ either because that’s something I can fix myself in 10 minutes. But the hole in the shower wall… absolutely we negotiated on.

    At the end of the day it comes down to how much work you are willing to handle and if it comes down to the right price.

  • sierra400 says:

    Were you there when the inspection was completed? I personally think it is very important to be there so you can see all the items the inspector flags for yourself. It may sound worse (or not worse enough) on paper than in person.

  • sspenning says:

    We had something similar. We walked and found a move-in ready house for the same price.

  • TsuDhoNimh2 says:

    Back out. Getting it fixed properly would be expensive and the sellers will cheap out.

  • LeoDeFloof says:

    Inspector report is usually limited to a list of typical items(does it work, electrical up to code, obvious deficiencies, etc.) and often doesn’t cover things like mold.

    I had an offer in on a house the inspector said nothing about some major problems (attic filled with mold, water leaks) but took pictures of them. After seeing the pics I brought in a family member who is a contractor for a second inspection. 30 minutes in and he already had an additional $75k worth of problems to fix. We backed out, not worth the headache.

    Whatever you think it will cost based on the inspection…double it. Factor in the time, travel and hassle as a cost. If you are looking for a project house consider a second inspection with a contractor to find out what you’re really up against. Personally, I’d back out.

  • 0mz says:

    At least you have a good inspector! 🙂 I did too. Mine produced a lengthy tome as well, nothing particularly serious, but I got the price knocked off and have been diy working through his dissertation (for three years now) a bit at a time.

  • SpaceGhostBusters says:

    90 pages and that’s just the things *he could see*.

    Back out.

  • njotr says:

    I recently backed out of a purchase when my inspector found friable asbestos, knob and tube wiring, and major electrical issues. It sucks to miss out on an otherwise great house, but you’ve got to make the safe call. The right house will turn up eventually.

  • c9belayer says:

    90-pages? My advice is to walk.

  • cuckfancer11 says:

    That’s about 80 pages too many. Good choice to run. Fast.

  • Hellkyte says:

    Depends a lot on the house. If it’s a house built in the 30s then you should expect a thick report, it’s just how it is and you have to know what matters (foundation, rot, etc). If it was built 10 years ago then you should be way pickier.

  • ccualumni says:

    No offense, but if the house is that messed up, didn’t you notice it when you walked through the house before placing a bid? Don’t depend on an inspection report. It is extremely helpful, but you can usually see a house is in disrepair.

  • LaneyRW says:

    I’m so sorry this happened to you!! But I’m glad you walked away. We walked away from a similar situation back in May. We lost money too since we paid for the inspection and the appraisal out of our own pockets. But in happy news we bought a different house and the inspection went much better. We moved in July and we really like it here. There are a few things that need fixing but it’s manageable and we are doing it little by little.

  • firststate says:

    The straw that broke the camels back was when we showed up at like 9am for the final walk through at which time the house was to be empty and broom swept, and the house was filled with junk. Basically we said we were going to walk away but they paid to have people come empty the house last minute also while pushing back the closing by several hours. The list goes on and on. Nickel and dimed us over everything.

  • ZeikCallaway says:

    After having had to go through the home buying process twice and had two different inspectors with different reports, each about 30 pages, I’ve learned to take it all with a grain of salt. They’re there to find any and everything that is not completely up to code or could maybe possibly one day in a hundred years from now pose a risk. I would just look through it and see if there are any big items that do actually bother you and try to negotiate that, but I can say from my reports that about half of it was always just nit-picky stuff.

  • dmccrostie says:

    You did the right thing – (20 year RE Broker).

  • bricked_machine says:

    > The seller wasn’t willing to negotiate after the report, even considering going down 1 dollar.

    This. Is. Infuriating. Pure hubris on the seller’s part. This behavior is rampant here in Colorado, and it’s exacerbated an already-shitty market. You dodged a bullet, good for you.

  • shaneblueduck says:

    Good choice, you will have most likely found many more problems once you started pulling things apart.

  • Z0diaQ says:

    I ended up walking since regardless of contractors said he wasnt willing to negotiate.

  • MaconShure says:

    You just saved yourself from going prematurely grey and bald.

    That’s what he found. Wonder what he didn’t find?

    There are a few things you shouldn’t ask money for, especially when there’s a problem and the seller offers money to make it go away.

    Fireplace on this house I bought had an issue with the damper not working properly. Seller contributed $200 toward closing to make that little issue go away. My buying agent without asking me gave away my rights by accepting that.

    I later found out there’s only a couple of chimney sweeps in the area, they charge far more than $200 bucks and there could be possible damage to the flashing. Plus if it needed a new damper that’d be big bucks. NEVER TOTALLY TRUST your buying agent to act in your best interests.

    Three things are important in the real estate game: Commission, commission, commission.

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