All home buyers have their “must have” and “nice to have” lists for their potential homes. But what if the home you love has a dirty little secret that could ruin everything?
Deal breakers can make a perfect home seem like a disaster. It is good to know what you don’t want to help you figure out what you do want. But not all deal breakers are created equal. If you are willing to put in the time, work, or money, you can still get a great home and live happily ever after.
By knowing how much effort you are willing to put into your dream home now, you can avoid potential heartache.
Here are some deal breakers that have potential solutions but home buyers should approach with caution:
- Mold – Mold is a four letter word to home buyers. But let’s be honest – every home has some amount of mold. The dark build up in the grout lines of your tub; that’s mold. Most mold we encounter every day is harmless but there are certain kinds that can cause serious illness. If you are concerned about the dark stuff, call a mold specialist and they can tell you what kind it is and how to treat it properly.
- Foundation Issues – Most issues with the foundation of a home are huge undertakings. They require experts rather than a DIY fix, they are costly repairs, and often take extended lengths of time. On top of that, the repair of a foundation crack can cause major landscaping damage. However, when you hear the words “foundation crack” from an inspector, rather than running in fear, find out the severity of the issue. Some problems are truly minor and a structural engineer will be able to fix it will little issue.
- Polybutylene Plumbing – These outdated pipes were a cost-saving fixture of the plumbing community in the 1980s. Now, they are the last thing that a homeowner wants to find in their home. The material degrades overtime and can cause flooding when the pipes fail. Polybutylene can last with no issue for 10 to 15 years but once failure happens, the damage can be catastrophic. The only solution is complete replacement which can be costly and invasive. Depending on the layout of the home and amount of poly pipes, the replacement can cause minimal damage but home owners need to be prepared for the extent of the work involved.
- Poor or Unpermitted Renovations – When a weekend DIY warrior thinks they can build a new deck or gut a kitchen, it can have long lasting consequences. The renovation can turn out less than ideal and you will have to redo their work. Or you will find a beautiful job was done but without the proper permits. Know that if this is the case, insurance companies will likely deny claims or cancel policies for home owners with unpermitted upgrades.
- Old Roof – You can’t have a home without one but you also can’t expect that sellers will replace the existing roof before putting the house on the market. Ask the sellers about the age of the roof and its maintenance before making an offer. If you have already made an offer, ensure a thorough roof inspection if you have any doubts about the integrity. An old roof does not have to be a deal breaker if you budget for a replacement up front and it has been maintained.
- Flood Zone – Homes that are near lakes, rivers, or creeks can be incredibly serene but could also be a potential flood disaster. FEMA’s flood map database will help you confirm if your home’s address falls into a flood zone. Remember, flood damage is often only covered by separate flood insurance. The increase in insurance costs can take your potential dream home out of the running. Weigh the pros and cons and decide if the price of the property and cost to insure it is worth the potential flood risk.
The following are deal breakers with no room for alternative solutions. These red flag scenarios are things you will either have to deal with or move on:
- Price – Shopping outside of your budget is a slippery slope on the road to being house poor. When planning for how much house you can afford, you need to take into account the monthly interest, homeowners insurance, HOA dues, and mortgage insurance that will factor into your monthly payments. Utility bills and repair costs will also increase with a home purchase so budget accordingly.
- Bad Neighbors – There are lots of things that fall into this category; loud people or animals, a noisy intersection, a smelly waste-processing plant nearby, being near an airport landing path, or a business with bright exterior lights can all classify as a bad neighbor to have. Living next door to any one of these can make normal life impossible and could make selling the property even harder one day.
- Location – As much as you love a property, you cannot move a house to a different school district, closer to your job, or farther from your neighbor’s house. If you have specific location requirements, those needs are equally as important as the house you are buying. Do not settle for a home in different city from your jobs that will cause you to spend 2 hours in the car every day when you hate to drive. Do not settle for a home with no privacy when you have always wanted to have lots of land around you. If you settle today, the things that irk you now will only infuriate you in a few years’ time.