Updated: Apr 8
If you’ve watched the news recently, you’ve likely seen stories of remorseful homebuyers who waived a home inspection to get their offer accepted. Buyers who move into their new home and find themselves facing significant unforeseen expenses are not likely to be happy campers. And while sellers are free to sell their home “as-is,” that won’t necessarily stop a frustrated homebuyer from suing.
The extent of the problems uncovered or the cost to remediate is generally the trigger. “If I had known about this issue, I would have never bought this house,” is the mantra of a remorseful homebuyer. It’s these same issues that often kill deals when found prior to closing.
Some of the biggest issues that could tank a deal or rise to litigation aren’t part of a standard home inspection. Even in a seller’s market, getting ahead of potential deal killers or high-cost repairs will benefit all parties.
Here are some potential deal killers to watch out for, which will likely vary from region to region.
Septic Repairs. Many lenders will require a septic inspection be performed, so this is not a service homebuyers can often waive. If there’s an issue with the septic, it will have to be fixed. It’s not likely that this condition can be overlooked or that the home can be sold as-is.
Buried Fuel Tanks. Commonly found in the Northeast, these tanks can cause buyers great angst and easily scare them off. Removing the tank is generally straight forward, but the concern in this situation is leakage. If the tank has leaked into the soil, even if it’s abandoned, the cleanup can be costly.
Mold. The presence of mold, even non-toxic mold, tends to create an emotional response. Sellers are simply better off to remove it and fix the source of moisture that caused it.
Underground Sewer Line. This is a tricky one, as most homeowners aren’t aware of the fact that with a municipal waste system, they’re responsible for the sewer line from the house to the street. And while not part of a standard home inspection, more and more homeowners are asking for this service and finding issues. When these pipes collapse or get blocked (with tree roots, for example), the cost to repair is not inexpensive. A savvy home seller would want to get their own sewer line scoped or consider purchasing sewer line protection to pass on to the homebuyer and reduce the risk.
Real estate professionals can benefit from discussing these services with potential home sellers, as doing so will help demonstrate knowledge. If the seller opts not to take your advice, at the very least, it won’t come as a surprise if any of these issues pop up.