Monday, August 16, 2010

Perimeter drains, exhaust fans, and handrails

As I mentioned last week, we're in the process of (hopefully) buying our first home. I'll skip the more boring details (I wrote a REALLY long post on Friday that was just way too boring, so I deleted it) of actually finding a house that we like, no, love, and making an offer and I'll go straight to the home inspection part.

This is the part of first-time home buying I didn't really know about. We all see the shows were people walk through lovely houses and find the one that just feels right to them. Then the prospective buyers make an offer, sometimes they go back and forth with the seller a time or two, and then they're "in contract." That's the easy part my friends. Today I'm just going to give a small hint into the world of being in contract on an older home.

The House (how I will now refer to the place Scott and I are in contract on) was built in 1920. The previous owners have done a beautiful job renovating the kitchen and maintaining/restoring the old, mostly original woodwork and windows. However, as is the case with all old houses, there are a few questions that popped up even as we made an offer, such as, "how long will this furnace last?," "Will this old piping still work?," "What's going on with the basement and foundation?"

So b/c of these questions, and just because it's smart, we got a home inspection (and a furnace inspection, and a radon evaluation). I would HIGHLY recommend a home inspection to anyone looking to purchase a home whether old or new. We learned so much about the house and home maintenance that even if we end up not getting this house, we're much more prepared for another process in the future.

A home inspection consists of having a qualified home inspector come to the home and visually evaluate all areas of the house. Usually you walk through with the person and they explain the issues they see, and many times give recommendations on how it should be handled (i.e., have a certified basement specialist come see this; You can do this yourself with some $6 caulk from Home Depot). Then you get The Report.

Another note for first timers: inspections cost money. And you don't get that back if the house falls through or if there are major issues. The home inspection, with termite and wood destroying insect included, cost us $360. Then we will add money for the furnace and radon inspections as they happen. More info on these guys later!

Our home inspection report is 30 pages long if that tells you anything about our house. We then waded through the report with our realtor to make a list of all the things that we are going to ask the seller to fix before we buy the house. We have roughly 29 items which need to be addressed at some point. Some of these we will expect the seller to repair; others, Scott and I can do them at a later date. Our next step is to submit this list to the sellers and then negotiate again on which items they MUST do. We do have a few non-negotiable fixes that we will pull out of the contract on the house if they are not remedied.

So please keep thinking and praying for us as we discuss things with the sellers and hopefully get a house to move into before these girls are born!

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