Common Real Estate Deal Killers
Most news reports point to the subprime lending mess as the cause for the housing slump. But home sellers should know that plenty of people with good credit are simply cautious buyers, which can keep sales down.
In most areas it's a buyer's market, so people can be picky. "Most buyers in this market will try to re-negotiate based on the findings of their home inspection. If the seller is unwilling to make repairs or lower the price, they walk away," says Kathleen Kuhn, president and CEO of HouseMaster.
"More and more home sellers are getting a pre-listing home inspection that helps identify potential deal-breaking issues before the house is listed on the market," Kuhn says. "This way, sellers can fix problems and worry less about a buyer walking away later in the deal process."
According to Kuhn, the following are "The Fearsome Four" when it comes to real estate deals:
Roofing Concerns: A new homeowner does not want the expense of roof replacement shortly after closing. Many sellers believe that if their roof is not leaking it is in acceptable condition. However, underlying issues can exist.
Electrical Problems: Some panel models were discontinued and might even pose a fire hazard. Although they are straightforward to replace, the potential fire risk can be scary for prospective buyers.
Structural Issues: Fortunately, major structural issues are the least common defect found in homes, but when they do occur, they can be costly to repair. Note that a professional home inspector won't assess the extent of repairs needed when these conditions are found. Structural engineers and other professionals should be consulted to get specifics on the scope of repairs needed.
Synthetic Stucco or Exterior Insulation Finish Systems (EIFS): Overall EIFS can be effective, economical alternatives to traditional stucco. Unfortunately installation issues often lead to trapped moisture behind the siding, causing mold and extensive deterioration. In many cases the siding has to be replaced, often with a different type of siding which can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
"Sellers lose some advantage when they are caught off guard by issues, even minor ones. In a market where every edge counts, sellers can use tools like pre-listing home inspections and repair records to show that they are conscientious and have taken appropriate steps to sell responsibly and competitively," Kuhn says.