Buying a Home with Structural Problems

Is buying a home with structural problems something you should run from or an opportunity to get a huge discount?

Home buyers, especially first timers often find buying their ‘dream home’ becomes a scary proposition after receiving their home inspection report. Long checklists of repair items can add up into lots of dollars quickly, some of which can be very expensive and even prevent the buying of a home due to lenders unwilling to finance.

It is important for home buyers to remember that the inspector is just doing a thorough job and normally doing their best to prepare you or give you the ammunition to negotiate a better deal. Take your time to go over the home inspection with your inspector in person. Often you will find that many of the items are extremely common and may not be a concern at all. At least not during the time period you plan to own the property. Others may be nice to fix cosmetic items that do not affect your value or enjoyment of living in the home at all.

Then there are structural problems which threaten the home’s security and which lenders will sometimes demand fixed before financing. Structural issues come in all shapes and sizes and varying degrees of severity.

Termites are a great example. If you are buying a home in Florida the chances are the home has had termites at some point or other, just expect it. Unless the place is falling apart buyers shouldn’t be scared off. Often a little spray spot treatment will do the job for a few bucks. In extreme cases the home may need to be tented and fumigated but the seller will take care of this most of the time and it costs just a few hundred dollars.

In other parts of the country like Texas, foundation issues are common and often relatively easily fixed with a few piers, though this may not necessarily be cheap.

Then you have major foundation issues, flood damage and roofs caving in. This can be a completely different story. If you need a new roof right away, it can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Flood damage could mean stripping the home down to the frame. These properties may offer huge discounts, you may have little competition for them and you may be able ot make a profit flipping them but make sure you have plenty of cash, know exactly what you are getting into and expect it to cost a lot more than you anticipate. You may want to leave buying a home like this to only the serious pros.