Author Topic: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection  (Read 5808 times)

alm0stk00l

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Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« on: February 08, 2015, 08:43:10 PM »
I am looking at my buying my first house and we just had the inspection today. I feel like a lot of items were identified in the inspection; I am hoping someone would not mind looking through the list and letting me know if any of this items should be considered "deal-breakers" or if there is anything I should look into more in depth. I appreciate any help you offer, and if you need more details please let me know. The house was built in 1980 and the garage has been converted to a room recently. I plan to convert it back because I do not feel it was done well.

  • Left front window does not open
  • Storm windows missing (15 windows)
  • Front closet door rubs the carpet
  • A lot of debris in backyard
  • 20 feet of major fence damage
  • Garage door damage
  • Exposed telephone wire in yard
  • Exterior outlets loose
  • Interior outlets loose
  • 8 interior outlets need ground
  • Debris blocking chimney vent
  • Kitchen outlet missing screw
  • Debris in garbage disposal
  • Missing exterior clean out cap; could not verify kitchen plumbing
  • No stoppers for sinks
  • Cover missing on 220v utility outlet
  • No arc faults
  • No stoppers for bathrooms
  • No handrail for staircase
  • Tread on stairs is only 9" (should be 10.5")
  • Upper right bedroom door rubs carpet
  • Upstairs bathtub: control wall damage
  • Flower bed in front yard covers weep holes (dirt is ~10" too high over 8' area)
  • House trim missing in two areas (total: ~20ft)
  • Vent box over living room is damaged
  • Upstairs windows 47" from the ground (should be 44")
  • No gas meter
  • No GFIC's anywhere
  • Exposed AC power wire
  • No anti-tip device for stove
  • No drip edges anywhere
  • Flashing damage in garage conversion
  • Bathtub in garage conversion does not drain properly
  • Shower head in garage conversion leaks

Is this a long list, and is anything major?

money_bunny

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Re: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2015, 05:42:58 AM »
What are the numbers like? All of that stuff can be fixed. What about location and an exit plan?

Most of that are things you can do yourself. I passed on a 4 family that needed big mechanical items, furnaces, HW heaters, new siding, fuse boxes converted to breakers. Things that take professionals to keep your liability insurance carrier happy.

alm0stk00l

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Re: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2015, 07:45:27 AM »
What are the numbers like? All of that stuff can be fixed. What about location and an exit plan?

Most of that are things you can do yourself. I passed on a 4 family that needed big mechanical items, furnaces, HW heaters, new siding, fuse boxes converted to breakers. Things that take professionals to keep your liability insurance carrier happy.

I am not sure which numbers you are asking about but I do know that the price is $130,000 for 2,058 sq ft with 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths. Average rental in that area ranges from $1400-$1500. The house is located in the Northwest side of Houston. I plan to live there for between 2 and 3 years and then hopefully use it as a rental after that.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2015, 08:19:20 AM »
Most of that stuff just sounds like you should have an electrician go through it after buying it. I would ask them to clear the weep holes because that is something you want done immediately. It does sound like the garage conversion was not done well.

waltworks

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Re: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2015, 09:07:04 AM »
Your RE agent should be able to advise you on this, but SOP in this sort of case is to get a licensed contractor in for anything you think is major (ie, electrical) and give you a bid on fixing it how you want it fixed. Then you can decide if you want to have the seller fix that stuff, or if you want a price concession (better option in most cases) sufficient to pay for the work. The seller, of course, can refuse to do that.

If some of code violation stuff (stair tread, in particular) isn't fixable, obviously, that could be a problem for using it as a rental.

-W

AvisJinx

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Re: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2015, 09:53:30 AM »
I'd also be a little concerned about the bathtub in garage conversion not draining properly. Is it just slow; possibly blocked? Or could it be a venting problem?

jmusic

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Re: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2015, 10:52:25 AM »
The BIG question to ask about the conversion is if it was permitted by the city/county or not...

alm0stk00l

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Re: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2015, 06:37:49 AM »
The BIG question to ask about the conversion is if it was permitted by the city/county or not...

I was told that because the garage door was left in place no permit was necessary.

tracylayton

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Re: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2015, 06:57:36 AM »
Sounds like you are buying a foreclosure? If so, the bank doesn't make any repairs. The good news is that none of those sound very expensive. I once bought a foreclosure that was missing the gas meter. The gas company had taken it out because the previous occupants were "stealing gas". In order to have the gas meter reset, I had to get a permit and pay for a pressure test to make sure there were no gas leaks in the house. There weren't any, so I got off pretty cheap. Inspectors have to write up anything that doesn't conform to today's current codes, even if it wasn't code back then. I would make sure that the house doesn't have aluminum wiring. If you have time, you might just get a quote from an electrician for the electrical items. GFCI outlets are not that hard to install. It sounds as if the inspector was thorough. Good luck!!!

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2015, 07:03:58 AM »
The BIG question to ask about the conversion is if it was permitted by the city/county or not...

I was told that because the garage door was left in place no permit was necessary.

If it's in City of Houston proper, I don't think the code enforcement Prius Patrol ever gets much beyond 610 so I doubt it's a concern from that perspective, especially if you're planning on ripping it out.

alm0stk00l

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Re: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2015, 10:47:09 AM »
Sounds like you are buying a foreclosure? If so, the bank doesn't make any repairs. The good news is that none of those sound very expensive. I once bought a foreclosure that was missing the gas meter. The gas company had taken it out because the previous occupants were "stealing gas". In order to have the gas meter reset, I had to get a permit and pay for a pressure test to make sure there were no gas leaks in the house. There weren't any, so I got off pretty cheap. Inspectors have to write up anything that doesn't conform to today's current codes, even if it wasn't code back then. I would make sure that the house doesn't have aluminum wiring. If you have time, you might just get a quote from an electrician for the electrical items. GFCI outlets are not that hard to install. It sounds as if the inspector was thorough. Good luck!!!

I think the house was a foreclosure and was purchased by the current seller to flip. He says he put about $45k into the house, but from what I can tell his main focus was on the purely cosmetic changes like paint and carpet.

Cwadda

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Re: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2015, 11:15:12 AM »
Quote
Storm windows missing (15 windows)
Upstairs bathtub: control wall damage
No gas meter
No GFIC's anywhere
These are the costliest things I see. You definitely do NOT want water damage ANYWHERE. If the house has any history at all of water damage, it's worth having a good plumber coming out to take a look at everything. I.e. If the house was vacant and not winterized, definitely have an experienced plumber take a look. You also mention the kitchen plumbing "cannot be verified". This is a red flag to me. It's always worth a professional visit at $50/hour - someone who knows exactly what they're doing and isn't afraid.

Also the GFCIs should be put in. You shouldn't do this yourself and you can hire an electrician for let's say $50/hour tops?

Quote
Exposed telephone wire in yard
I think this should be taken care of by the town, state, or electricity company? Not you.

Everything else looks completely DIY'able.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2015, 11:17:55 AM by Cwadda »

burly

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Re: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2015, 08:11:10 PM »
Also the GFCIs should be put in. You shouldn't do this yourself and you can hire an electrician for let's say $50/hour tops?

Just curious - why wouldn't he put GFCI's in by himself?

Indio

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Re: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2015, 10:02:36 PM »
Did you have the house checked for lead paint and radon? Not sure if its a problem in your area or not but those can be expensive. Well and septic can be other expensive problems. If its on  well water, how old is pump, when was filter changed, etc? Also, if flashing is bad by garage make sure there isnt any water damage under insulation or rotting wood.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2015, 06:12:39 AM »
Did you have the house checked for lead paint and radon? Not sure if its a problem in your area or not but those can be expensive. Well and septic can be other expensive problems. If its on  well water, how old is pump, when was filter changed, etc? Also, if flashing is bad by garage make sure there isnt any water damage under insulation or rotting wood.

Radon risk is very low in Houston:


That's from the US government, but given the way the shades end at state lines I wouldn't think I'm necessarily home free just be living in the northeast corner of Mississippi...

Revelry

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Re: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2015, 06:59:15 AM »
  • Flashing damage in garage conversion

You might want to look harder at this item.  My buddy bought a house with flashing damage from the deck installation but the inspector wasn't able to evaluate it without destroying anything.  Turns out water got under the flashing and rotted the sill plate and studs.  Twenty foot section of wall had to be replaced. 

alm0stk00l

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Re: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2015, 08:31:57 AM »
Thank you everyone for the input. You have given me a lot of great starting points for some Google searches. :)

Cwadda

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Re: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2015, 02:28:10 PM »
Also the GFCIs should be put in. You shouldn't do this yourself and you can hire an electrician for let's say $50/hour tops?

Just curious - why wouldn't he put GFCI's in by himself?

Nvm, I think when my mom was doing it last, it was a special case/hazard when condo association would not let her so she had to had another person install them.

As long as you stay safe, it's not difficult. http://www.homedepot.com/c/installing_electrical_outlets_gfci_HT_PG_EL

mydogismyheart

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Re: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2015, 04:09:23 PM »
It's not uncommon to get a long list of small items from an inspection on an older home.  I just purchased a home that was built in 1984 and while the past owner had updated most of it, there was a bunch of small stuff.  I mostly looked at the list and anything that looked hazardous or costly I had them fix.  Then I got a couple of friends together one weekend and we punched out the rest of the list pretty easy and cheap.  I would ask around anyone you know of that knows how to do items from that list and see what you can bribe them with to come over and help you one weekend.  Or you can hire a general contractor to come in and do it as well.  Wouldn't be too expensive since it's mostly easy stuff.

Sara

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Re: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2015, 07:18:23 PM »
Windows and doors that either do not open or hard to open can also be a sign of a foundation issue... was that inspected?

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2015, 04:10:34 AM »
Windows and doors that either do not open or hard to open can also be a sign of a foundation issue... was that inspected?

Good call. My sister's house in west Houston, not too far from the OP's candidate, has needed foundation work done multiple times after the severe 2010 drought.

powskier

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Re: Buying first house and hoping for insight on inspection
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2015, 01:45:35 PM »
Whether or not any of these are "deal breakers" only depends on what you have determined the parameters of the deal are.
All real estate should be approached without any emotion, purely by the numbers/budget/5 yr/20 yr plan/income/etc.
It sounds like you are figuring out that part and can certainly use it to lower price or have him pay more closing costs or whatever you work out.
All of these items raise a red flag that all regular maintenance has been deferred so you should be aware that there may be bigger items that are "invisible" to home inspector that may have come about from things not being taken care of on a regular basis. Any "soft" spots on roof? electrical behind the walls not up to code?
I have bought and sold several properties and have learned the hard way that inspectors can and do miss many things. It doesn't necessarily mean the deal shouldn't be done just need to be more diligent on numbers.
Good luck.