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There’s a big difference between buying a fixer-upper intentionally and getting trapped in one by accident, and sometimes it’s too easy to get caught in an unexpectedly expensive home-buying situation.
Real estate agencies and state law attempt to curb these surprises through various covenants, warranties, inspections and obligatory disclosures, but at some point the homebuyer must accept responsibility – and if that homebuyer is you, here are the first three of six pitfalls you need to avoid:
1. Bad Plumbing
The problem with many home inspectors is that their inspection ends at the tap or the tank, but a homeowner’s liability extends far beyond the fixture. Old tile and broken pipes, much of which may lie concealed underground on the property, can cost thousands to repair.
It’s also true that there is extra expense in having this investigated, but the homebuyer rolls the dice by not looking into it.
2. Old Roofing
Rooves have lifespans that vary based on materials, construction quality and the seasons they endure, and it’s never impolite to ask the age. But, don’t stop there.
Ask about the warranty, ask the inspector to check for mold, leaks and insulation problems, and ask for a record of any repairs kept by current and previous homeowners.
3. Questionable Property Deeds
Most homebuyers want and should seek what’s known as a Warranty Deed (written according to the Statute of Frauds). The deed, which differs from the title, protects the buyer by guaranteeing that the seller has the right to sell the property “free and clear.”
A Warranty Deed should include several covenants that protect the buyer against claims, liens and unlisted encumbrances by placing the responsibility to resolve them on the seller.
There are lesser deeds that transfer fewer guarantees to the buyer (namely Special Warranty Deeds and Bargain and Sale Deeds) and buyers should beware of these vehicles.
Tune in tomorrow as we round out our list of six ways new homebuyers can save big money.