I live in a part of Montana where housing values tanked and have still not recovered, although the realtors swear its finally hit bottom, prices are have barely made a move upwards. Renting stopped making financial sense a while back with current rates, so we decided to move forward on our first home purchase. We got pre-approved to go conventional in a price range that really does get us most of what we want. After seeing about 30 houses, my husband and I both agree on one. We would like to do an offer, but we just got a load of information on the home today that makes me worried (maybe thats normal) and obviously, I know little about buying a home.
So, my concerns start with:
The home has been on and off the market for about 4 years. I know its been hard to sell houses in this county though for the last couple years. Its a "foreclosure" county and its a buyer's market for sure. It just makes me think something is really wrong with the house and the owners want to get out (they bought it in 2004).
It has some problems, but my husband and I are pretty handy (he does construction work and knows the right guys for things outside of his expertise). We were told one of the major reasons it probably hasn't sold is that conventional buyers (like us) are few and far between out here right now and the home won't go VA, FHA or RD. It has peeling exterior paint, missing/mismatched interior trim, a deck that needs to be replaced, but overall seems to be in pretty good shape to my eyes.
We just got the seller's disclosure today and two things scare me. In 2010, it tested high for radon. Was retested in 2011 and 2012 and was fine. Basically, I didn't really know anything about radon until today, other than it is BAD. Reading that something like 1 in 3 homes in America have radon issues at one time or another I guess was a little comforting. Anyways, if it had one bad test, but two subsequent good ones, is it something to panic about? Is it easy to mitigate? Basically, will I be in danger if I buy this home?
Next, the disclosure said that in the basement (it is walk-out, poured concrete) the owner noticed a little moisture/seep and a "small" crack in the foundation. Of course it would be "small" to the seller It was supposedly repaired from the inside. The home was built in 1978. Is it normal to expect some issues like this for a home of this vintage? Is repairing it from the inside acceptable? I guess I always thought you had to excavate around the wall and I tried doing some reading on the topic, but I just end up more confused. Again, I basically want to know if I should just start walking the other way from even bidding on the home.
Other than these few things, it has want I want. Wood heat already in, 3ba/2ba/2car garage, irrigated acreage, nice outbuildings, easy highway access, a high-value neighborhood, etc.
And of course, if we decided to buy, I will do my darndest to find the best home inspector possible. That is something I wouldn't even consider skimping on. Thanks for any guidance or advice. I'm trying to gather as much knowledge as possible right now!
Welcome to the Real Estate Boards and real estate in general, cam11!
From what you have described, it sounds like you have found a great place that meets most of your DH's and your needs, wants and desires so don't start second-thinking at this point!
You are on the right track ~ need to have that inspection but don't run away just because it hasn't sold earlier. Maybe the house was just waiting for the right people?
Seriously, there will NEVER be a perfect place EVER but it sounds like this one comes near to that standard with regard to what you want. Pursue it, make an offer contingent on inspection and take it from there. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and it sounds like you are ready to become a home-owner!
Post back and let us know how things go...
There are many reasons a home has not sold for 4 years and most are of no concern. Like priced too high, seller not ready to sell, prices dropping too fast, cant get financing etc.
Randon, I don't know enough about. Do a lot of reading because you will find alarmist articles out there. You need to find a few that are common sense and, as I am sure you already know, it can take a lot of searching on the Internet to find that.
As far as an inspector goes, have your husband find one if he is in the industry. You don't need someone with a special title. You can have anyone inspect the house you want. Pick someone that knows all the basics, may e someone your husband worked for? If you are concerned about specific things, like electrical, hire someone for them. It will be well worth it.
It sounds like a great house. You just need to get it at a price that lets you fix things.
Radon would not turn me away. It is common in the soil in many geographic locations. Results of testing often vary as to what time of year the test was done? If the weather is mild and you have open windows and fresh air circulation to basement/lower level areas, the test will often show minor issue. (Different possibly during winter heating when all is closed up tight, and no fresh air is getting in)
Mitigation is often a fresh air intake recirculation fan to the lower level, through a basement wall, and seems often to cost about a thousand dollars installed (around here anyway)
You are ahead with knowing some construction and trade help already, and with your own DIY skills. Many potential buyers may not have that option. Inspection for sure, then reassess options and price.
cam, although the issues you mentioned can be remedied, I had an overall concern about your post.
You apparently haven't made an offer yet. In my experience, this time is usually a "honeymoon" period for buyers. Meaning, that they love, love, love the property and don't pay attention to its flaws.
Personally, I would pass on any property that I wasn't crazy about. BTW, IMHO, properties are like buses or trains - always another coming along.
I've passed on many deals and been happy about it each and every time.
Best of luck -
Thanks everyone for the replies. I did more research about radon, and yeah, its pretty common in my area because of the well water/soil I guess. I have no idea what time of the year the tests were done, it was only years, not full dates, listed in the seller disclosure. The foundation is more worrisome for me. I do really like the home and I'm trying my best to be really objective about any home. In reality, the home itself is average and there are tons like it, but suits our needs. The parcel of land on the other hand, is anything but average and does have me in love. That is one thing we can't change and why this particular property is so appealing. We are going to look at a new one that just came on the market in the next couple days and see if it sways our decision at all. Much newer, nicer home, lesser land. There always has to be a tradeoff right? :SThis message has been edited. Last edited by: cam11,
IMHO is is always better to repair from the outside but not everyone agrees with me. When you say foundation it scares most people. It in reality it can sometimes be relatively inexpensive to repair. You will not know until you have a couple of experts look at it.
Houses can be changed, changed a lot but your land.....that is something else. There may always be another house around the corner but not just the right location.
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