Please Help Me!! Buyer had inspection done!

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Old 05-23-07, 05:08 AM
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Unhappy Please Help Me!! Buyer had inspection done!

I could really use some help and advice. I've been up all night worrying about this!!
My husband and I are selling our home in upstate NY. It is a 1 1/2 story, cape style house built in 1942. We ended up finding a buyer before having to list with a realtor and thought.. great we saved ourselves some money!! We did realize that the house would need a roof, there are no leaks at present but there is some green stuff growing on a few areas. When we got an offer we did give a credit for the new roof. we came down $10k on our asking price and the roof was acknowledged in the contract.
Well the buyers had their inspection this past weekend and the inspector was quite the character! He pointed out that the backyard needs to be re-graded, which is nonsense!! Because we have plants and mulch around the front of the house he said that that would cause termite problem and if the house was treated for termites in the past that what ever they used is now not up to codeand very toxic to children!! By the way we heard that phrase alot that day!! He checked all the outlets in the house, all were ok except for two.. one in the kitchen he said the GFCI wasn't working and one in the dining room he said was not grounded.... not up to code. He questioned the thickness of the slab (we don't have a basement) saying that houses on slabs are known to have serious mold problems. We couldn't answer that question, we have no idea!! Next issue that wasn't "up to code", we have an attached garage and he said that the wall between the house and the garage would have to be torn down and rebuily using 5/8" fireproof sheetrock!!! Then the imformative little man went upstairs... according to him, our eaves are not up to code either!! Also, the attic space was being improperly used as storage and nothing should be stored there!!! Every house in this neighborhood uses this area for storage, even the buyers son who lives behind us said he does the same. He was nice enough to say that atleast the access doors leading to that space were insulated! I could go on and on about all the little things he tried to point out but, I don'thave enough time, they are coming back over this morning to do the pest inspection that they forgot to do on Saturday ( they have till this Friday to have all the inspections done).
When the son called me last night to ask if they could do the pest inspection today, he waited till we were aboutto get off the phone ( after confirming of course that my husband was out of state) and said that they would like to come over this Saturday and "discuss" the issues with the code violations!! He said that the GFCI in the kitchen wasn't a deal breaker but they wanted to discuss teh other outlet and the eaves!!! I have a strong feeling that because they know I'm all alone right now they think they can pull a fast one on me! I could've sworn I had heard that the house has to be up to code at the time it was built and not the time it's sold.. 65 years later!! Should I have someone come in before Saturday and have a look around?
I could really use some advice right now!!! Someone please help me!!!
 
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Old 05-23-07, 05:19 AM
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Listen but don't sign or agree to anything until you and your husband have had time to discuss it and decide how to proceed. It is the home inspectors job to point out any/all problems with the house both to help the buyer make a wise decision and it can also be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations.
 
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Old 05-23-07, 05:25 AM
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Sounds to me like they may be using this as a way to get you to drop the price even more. Like Mark said listen but don't sign a thing unless you feal comfy. Do not let them guilt you into anything.
 
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Old 05-23-07, 05:29 AM
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Angry

I'm not coming down on my price at all, I think the 10 grand I already came down was fair enough. We got 3 estimates for the roof to be replaced and none of them were over $5200.
I can completely respect them having an inspection, I will do the same when we buy our next home, just as we did when we bought this one...none of these issues were mentioned then by the way. I just don't understand how they can try and say the building codes have to be to todays, if that's the case then no house would "hold up".
I just have a sinking feeling they are trying to pull a fast one on me.. oh the wifes all alone and doesn't know squat about what we're saying so, we can get her to agree to anything.
 
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Old 05-23-07, 05:51 AM
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Tell them they can do the pest inspection, but you will not meet with them until your husband is home. Yes, the electrical must be fixed. Have it done yourself. That has to be done. The other items are pretty common things for home inspectors to find. I would not lose any sleep over it.
 
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Old 05-23-07, 06:58 AM
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Did you have an inspector check the home when you bought it? What did THEY say?

I take some home inspectors with a grain of salt, especially if they say "code". At least in Colorado, only licensed contractors (plumbers, electricians, etc.) and county inspectors can "quote code".

We had an inspector come through a house we were selling and tell the buyer similar horror stories - basement finish not to code (the whole thing would have to be torn down and redone he said) and backyard grading would cause flooding were the two biggies. I would have loved to see the look on his face when he saw the final inspection approval for the basement finish and the bill for the backyard grading that was recently done (the back yard was also had a county-maintained storm drain in it - double whammy). His only legitimate "black mark" was cosmetic water damage from potted plants on a window ledge and a leaky kitchen faucet, but his list was very long.

Anyway, that was our experience with one inspector.... the others we have worked with were great. I am not saying your inspector situation is similar, but realize it can happen. If you think the complaints have no bearing, consider paying for a second opinion.
 
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Old 05-23-07, 07:38 AM
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The home inspection is a tool buyers use to beat up sellers over the asking price. Hold your ground. If the home is priced fairly in your current market the buyers can agree to your terms or move on. Simple.
Good luck!
 
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Old 05-23-07, 08:19 AM
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Angry

Yes we had an inspection and there wasn't any major problems at all, the only thing that came up was the coil on the furnace (oil furnace w/ domestic hot water) was leaking a bit. We had that repalced shortly after we moved in.
Our pest inspection came back fine, the company we used, turns out had treated the house in the early 70's and they said that treatement would last 50 years.
The inspectors just came back over to do the pest inspection. He jsut told me that the buyers didnt' want one at first but once he did his inspection, they changed their minds. They are concerned about the mulch and flowers planted in front of the house and the fact that the grass in the back yard goes right up to the foundation...Funny he left me a pamphlet on my dining room table and there is a picture of a house with shrubs right up against the front!!!
I put a call in to my brother in-law who is a Asst. Firechief in our town and has his own Electrical business, going to have him come over and have a peek at everything. Yeah when the inspector came back by, he mentioned again that the adjoining garage wall would have to come down because it doesn't "meet code".
Also called my attorney and she told me to not meet with them at all, especially on Saturday, since the deadline to raise any concerns from the inspection is Friday. They are jsut trying to pull a fast one on me, thinking that because I'm a woman and my husband is out of state, I'll cave. Fat chance of that happening. Now that I've had some time to think about it, I'm quite offended that they would even try to pull something! She said to tell them to have their attorney contact her, so gonna leave it at that!
 
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Old 05-23-07, 08:26 AM
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I think you are absolutely right on that! I will stand my ground!!
The house is very fairly priced..4 bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, 1500 sq. ft., all new carpeting and laminate flooring, new baseboard heat, new windows. The main bathroom and kitchen were completely redone in 2005! Above ground pool, fenced in yard... We listed at $160k and gave them a $10k credit for the roof, which will only cost $5200 to replace! So I think we've been more than fair!!! Now they are just be greedy and I think that inspector shuold be ashamed of himself!
 
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Old 05-23-07, 09:00 AM
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Please Help Me!! Buyer had inspection done!

Home inspections are impartial and are done for both buyers and sellers. In fact, the rate of increase in inspections by sellers is probably greater than that by buyers.

The inspection is limited to visible items. The purpose is to identify the operation of major systems, the general structural condition, major anticipated cost expenditures and safety items.

The obvious problems with the exterior (gutters, drainage, proximity of wood to soil and close vegitation) must always be noted and are usually obvious to anyone except the current owner.

Buyers use an inspection to identify (amount and timing) major cost expenditures (insulation, furnace, roof, structure, etc.) and safety issues. Most buyers are not qualified to make a thorough inspection in a couple of hours, while the owner is aware of problems that may be disguised.

Sellers use an inspection because buyers do. It helps provide an independant opinion of the property, conditions and items that stand out as major barriers to sales. Many use the report as a selling tool by making the corrections recommended.

In either case, the inspection is a very cheap ($250 - $400) investment. It is a short general examination that should also point out specific areas (if any) that should be looked at by a specialist such as a structural engineer (movement, deflection), HVAC technician (possible heat exchanger cracks for CO, etc.) or electrician (illegal taps, etc.). Some inspectors also are qualified in these areas, depending on their background.

Since it is a visual inspection, sellers often position storage and furniture as a barrier to a complete inspection. Because of this, an experienced inspector can make some assumptions based on the general apperance and some "tell-tale" clues. The buyer and the inspector are in the home at the permission of the seller, so their actions are limited. Obviously, an inspector cannot arbitrarily shut of power that may cause problems to a computer system, secirity system or even an oxygen charging system (it happens). The same applies to shut-off/pressure release valves that may be unable to be reset later.

Codes are a commonly misunderstood issue. The condition is evaluated and the inspector cannot apply a current building code to an older structure just because it does not comply with the new. If it is an obvious new modification, a current code requirement could be noted. Even if a structure complies with the code, an item could be noted because of the condition. Any work that was not done in a professional manner should be identified as "handy man repairs" as an alert.

Safety is a very big item that cannot be overlooked. These items usually apply to life safety (smoke and CO detectors) and accidents (GFCIs, hand rails, trip conditions). One very common item is a railing or stairway with widely spaced uprights that were code when built. Based on history, the codes have changed to limit the spacing to 4" open. Even though this type of item on an older home may be "grandfathered" approval by code, it is still a safety issue to a new occupant with children and should be written up for notification. Similarly, an existing owner could be accustomed to a dangerous situation that a new owner would not recognize until it is too late. - That is the reason for safety issues.

To get a good inspection (for buyer or seller), make sure the inspector is certified by the state. If the state does not provide/require certification, look for the certification of a national association that does not permit an inspector to do work as a contractor also.

Dick
 
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Old 05-23-07, 09:25 AM
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Green on a roof doesn't automatically mean it needs to be replaced, just means it either isn't getting sun and/or has/had some vegetative matter on it. I would have just bleached the mildew off myself.

The GFCI outlet in the kitchen is a $13 part you can replace in less than 5 minutes.

NO pest treatment will last 50 years. NONE. You should at the minimum have regular inspections.

If your foundation is concrete, I wouldn't be too concerned about mulch against it EXCEPT for the bugs it invites. If it's rubber mulch, then even that concern is greatly diminished.

While a 5/8" firewall is required for attached garage by _current_ code, the home doesn't have to meet current code. Only the code (if any!) that was in force for the code period it was built. By that I mean (for example), a home built in 2004 need not be built to 2004 codes if that code was not in force at the time the home was built. If the home was built in February and the 2004 code wasn't in place until March, then it doesn't have to meet 2004 codes.
 
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Old 05-23-07, 09:26 AM
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I can appreciate everything you said. I think anyone buying a home should have an inspection, structural-pest-septic etc. You are exactly right as well wehn you say that some sellers will try and hide things by placing furniture or wht have you in front of things they want to hide. Thsi exact situstion happened to a dear frined of mine and the inspector said he couldn't throughly inspect because they weren't allowed to move anything around in the home. Having that in mind when this inspection was scheduled, my husband and I took all the packed boxes and furniture that wasn't being used and put it in the garage, in the middle mind you, so they could really get a good look at the whole house. We even emptied out the entire attic so they would be able to get in there and see. During the negotiation process, the buyers had said that we didn't have to open the pool for them, well for their own piece of mind we opened it anyway so the inspector could also see that it was running properly, wired properly and installed properly. We made arrangements for the kids and pets to be out of the home and we stayed outside during the whole inspection, except when we were asked to come in and answer a question, so the felt more at ease to discuss any matters.
All that being said, for every home owner who tries to pull a fast one on a potential buyer, there are just many buyers (who have friends who are inspectors) that try to pull on over on sellers! I think I have been very up front and honest and don't appreciate in the least bit people trying to take advantage of me.
 
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Old 05-23-07, 09:38 AM
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The roof is at the end of it useful life, according to the roofing companies we had come over. We decided it would be in our best interest to acknowledge the situation right from the get go so it would not appear we were trying to hide anything.

yes our foundation is concrete and the mulch is jsut plain old cedar mulch, all of which had just been replaced a few weeks ago.

Just one more thing to note... The fellow who came and inspected was oh so quick to point out what he thought wasn't up to code but, when it came to checking the smoke detectors (we have 5) and the carbon minoxide detector... he never once even mentioned them or tested tehm to make sure they work. We would've heard the loud noise if he had. And when it came to checking the furnace, he had my husband come inside and turn up the thermostat so the furnace would kick in and as soon as it did he told him he could turn it back off.
 
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Old 05-23-07, 09:52 AM
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Please Help Me!! Buyer had inspection done!

Some good points Pendragon. -

The trouble is that not everyone lives in Florida where people use concrete to an advantage.

Many northern homes are built out of temporary materials (wood) and they try to set them too low (look like Florida). The result is too much exposure (less thab 6") to the soil (moisture and pests) that is detrimental, especiialy when hidden and vegitation prevents circulation. That is not to mention the problems with shrubs because of poor shrub maintenance. It is really a sign of poor/deferred maintenance.

Codes are codes and the only time you have to be concerned them is when you get into something and have to put it back according to the new code.

Dick
 
 

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