When To Walk Away From A House
When you’re house hunting for a new home in the Greater St. Louis area, it’s exciting. Then you find “the one,” write an offer and have it accepted. That’s wonderful! That’s also when the real work starts. Of course you know that you need to get started on your loan and finalize the financing, but as importantly, it’s your time to do your investigations on the property and confirm it’s really the “right” home for you and your family.
Most of the time things continue to go smoothly to the close, but at times issues arise which need careful consideration and could result in a cancellation. Your real estate agent can help guide you to watch for some of these red flags and how to address them.
The purchase contract includes your right to fully investigate the condition of the property. Take advantage of this time and opportunity. You might be surprised to learn that many St. Louis buyers simply ignore this option, or perform a brief visual inspection to save time or money. The beautiful sink could be hiding mold in the wall behind it. Take your time and hire a professional home inspector to do a thorough investigation. Conditions which could be red flags:
- Water leaks, slab leaks, roof leaks
- Structural problems with the building, severe cracks
- Geological issues, such as sinking or sliding
- Electrical problems
- Extensive damage of any kind
Unless you are willing to take on a true “fixer” you might find conditions which are just too much for you to tackle. If so, it might be time to walk away and start over.
Disclosures and Community
Your contingency period allows for other investigations, other than just the condition of the home itself. During this time you should visit the property at different times and days of the week. Find out if the neighbors like to hold all night parties on weekends or if the community pool closes in the evenings.
Read the disclosures you are provided. These will be from the sellers and should disclose any issues which might affect your quality of life in the home. You will also be provided home owner’s association documents which outline the rules of living in the community. Pay attention to these disclosures. Make sure your 200lb Mountain Dog and 12 cats will be welcome.
Title issues are less common, but could provide a red flag that you are involved in a fraudulent transaction. Title will make sure that the seller has the right to sell. If this is not a clear trail, or if something seems wrong, find out and possible speak with an attorney before concluding the transaction. Title insurance is important to protect you in the event that title is questioned after the close.
Buying a home in the Greater St. Louis is exciting. Hopefully all will proceed smoothly and you will soon be owners of your new home. Understanding the issues which could derail this outcome is important, however. Of course you want to close on the “perfect” home you have found, but knowing when to walk away is just as important and can save you thousands of dollars and years of grief.