Take a deeper dive when buying an older homes – Daily News

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Take a deeper dive when buying an older homes

You should have your own home inspector even when buying a brand new home.


Even if you are buying a new home from a builder, never waive your rights to a home inspection.

At a minimum, you should hire a home inspector to go through any home you are under contract to purchase. My third home was only one year old when we bought it, and the inspector discovered that one of the AC units had never been connected to the HVAC system. You’ll want your upstairs air conditioner to work during those hot summer days and nights.

When you are considering an older home, a bank owned home, a short sale or a flip, you’d be wise to begin with a home inspection as a baseline, then add on as you feel necessary.

In the case of a considerably older home, an electrical inspection might serve you well to identify potential problems inside your walls. Knob and tube wiring (prevalent at the start of the 20th century) should probably be replaced. Aluminum wiring may also be something you want to address.

Who will pay for those kind of so called “retrofits” or “upgrades” is another point of negotiation. But it’s not required to transfer title to the property.

You might also want to have a plumbing inspection. While the home inspector will flush the toilets, turn on all the faucets in the sinks, tubs, and showers, you might want to take a more intrusive look at what’s going on in the plumbing system before you put your kids in the bathtub for the first time, or before you run the dishwasher, washing machine, shower, and sprinklers all at the same time.

Many plumbers can send a camera into your pipes to look for blockage, leaks, and cracks that may cause slow drainage or be causing unseen damage.

Also think about a roof inspection, especially in a 25- to 35-year-old home with an original roof. Again, the home inspector will do a good job of looking for evidence of past or current roof leaks, but most will not walk the roof.  Hiring a roof inspector will give you a more specific opinion of the life span of the current roof, any maintenance that is recommended or how much a complete roof replacement might cost.

If you are buying a home with a pool or spa, it’s a good idea to have these inspected as well. If your home inspector cannot provide that service, hire a pool inspector.

If your inspections come up with areas of concern, however large or small, it’s easier to negotiate what repairs will be made or what credits will be given toward future repairs before you close escrow.

Thoroughly reviewing the seller disclosures is also an important piece of the buyers’ due diligence.  And since that disclosure is limited in a bank-owned home or a flip, all the more reason for additional inspections.

Leslie Sargent Eskildsen is an agent with RealtyOne Group West and a member of the California Association of Realtors’ Board of Directors.  She can be reached at 949-678-3373 or leslie@leslieeskildsen.com.

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