Should You Walk Away From Buying a House That Needs Repairs

Buying a house is a right of passage for many people. It's the first time you establish a true home, that's completely yours and your responsibility. You can do whatever you want with your home, instead of being restricted by your landlord's rules. Buying a house can be expensive, though, so many people try buying a house that needs repairs to lower the home sale price. If you are thinking about buying a house that needs repairs, consult a real estate lawyer to make sure your interests are protected.

Buying a house 101: get a home inspection.
Even if the seller discloses necessary repairs to you, get a home inspection before you sign a purchase and sale agreement. Most lenders require one anyway, but getting the home inspected before you sign an agreement gives you an opportunity to decide whether you're getting the home of your dreams, or if you should walk away from buying a house that needs repairs.

Even if the seller discloses some necessary repairs, you should never assume that the seller is disclosing everything. Some sellers hide severe home repairs, hoping you'll sign the purchase agreement and buy before you find out about the problems. Other sellers simply don't know that termites have been eating away the basic structure, or aren't well enough versed in engineering to know that a tiny leak in the bathroom ceiling can bring the whole roof down upon you.

Buying a house that needs repairs: outline everything in detail.
If you're thinking of buying a house that needs repairs, you should consult a real estate lawyer to make sure your interests are protected. You may get the seller to discount the home price by $1,500, only to discover that your repairs cost over $5,000. In some cases, the seller makes repairs before the home sale is final, and you must outline these repairs in detail, as well as the manner and date by which they'll be completed. In this context, it's vital to use a real estate lawyer when buying a house that needs repairs, or you could find yourself in a very untenable position.

When to walk away from buying a house that needs repairs.
For many people, buying a house that needs repairs can provide the deal they need to own a home. You can get a house that needs repairs at a lower price than buying a house that's in fantastic shape, and some homeowners judge that discount worth the cost of the repairs. However, there are some situations in which you should walk away from buying a house that needs repairs.

If the home you want to buy has any sort of structural damage, walk away. Unless you can afford $20,000-$60,000 to partially tear down the house and start over again, structural damage is typically too expensive for most homeowners to bear. Even if it seems like slight or insignificant structural damage, you'll often find that it's far more severe than you expected.

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