Home Inspection - Question?

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I am a first time home buyer. I recently put a contract in for a townhouse in Baton Rouge, LA. The house was built in 1980, and it appears to be in good condition, and is in a good location. However, I recieved the home inspection report, and there were numerous items on the report that i'm worried about. This is my first time going through something like this, so I was hoping someone can provide me with some feedback or point me in the right direction. The report stated that there was numerous problems, but here are the big ones:
1)some exterior deterioration in the wood trim in various places 2)The plastic flashing on one or more of the plumbing vents are split, cracked, deteriorated, or lifted. Repairs are necessary. 3)The is rust in the metal vent vovers and flahsing on the roof. 4)The flashing at the chimney may be an eara of potential leaking 5)Additional vent openings in the attic were recomended to be installed. 6)Unable to fully inspect the attic due to personel content 7)It was noted that there was some stains or damage on various areas of the ceilings and walls. 8)Life before replacement of roof - 3 years with maintenance and repairs as needed.
I am not an expert, but to me this is enough for me to not want to buy, or make the seller pay for the repair. Any suggestions?
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demand seller remove EVERYTHING from attic check underside of roof for major water damage.
get estimate on new roof and other repairs, then negoiate the seller paying all or at least some of the repair costs.
the seller can opt to do them themselves, demand receipts from registered contractors and get follow up inspection to make sure things were done right.
Do realize ALL HOMES require repairs on a more or less contioious basis:( Appears the seller has been putting them off:(
you are in a excellent position to save some bucks.
things like the roof do immediately, other stuff can wait a bit
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If you really like the house, it's time to become assertive and aggressive. If your realtor isn't up to the task, tell him/her to get lost, and pick another.
Numbers 2, 3, 4 and 7 can all be dealt with during the installation of a new roof. #6 is what's known as BULLSHIT, because it prevents the inspector from seeing things which are probably related to the other problems. Tell the owner to move his personal items to allow a thorough inspection, or if he's got dead bodies or pot plants, cover them with sheets so they can't be seen.
Perhaps through friends, get the name of a reputable roofer. Call the roofer and explain the situation. Although most roofers are OK with visiting houses for FREE to give estimates, some aren't, and you should offer to pay for a visit. Given what you know about existing problems, he will probably want to get into the attic for a look. Back to #6.
Knocking down the price of the house by the cost of the roof will probably save you about fourteen cents a month. It would be better to come up with cash to do the job. A knowledgable realtor, or your attorney will be familiar with various ways of doing this.
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If you ask the homeowner to bring these items up to standard, he will pay as little as possible to get the cheapest of materials and labour to finish. You will not be happy with the results, but it may meet your demands.

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Excellent point. I would suggest having the owner set aside an "allowance" so you can hire the roofer or repairman of your choice. That'll allow you to pick a contractor you like at a price point you like. Even better, that contractor will remember that you wrote him a check, so when you call him for warranty work, he'll probably return the call.
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wrote:

Not enough information to give you specific suggestions.
Is this a condominium townhouse? Is any action/permission from neighbouring townhouses required to do roof repairs?. Is there a homeowners' association with bylaws that need to be followed?
Assuming none of the above applies, my observation would be that the inspection report is pretty much what you'd expect for a 26 year old property.
As to walking away or getting the seller to pay, that's a tactical call you will have to make, depending on circumstance. A roof is five to ten thousand ... not worth thinking about on a two million dollar deal, but worth thinking about on a one hundred thousand dollar deal.
Walking away depends on 1) your contract (can you?) and 2) whether you can do a better deal elsewhere (if so, why didn't you?). Getting the seller to do repairs or to agree to pay for them is not a good option (too many uncertainties) -- better to cut the price by your view of the cost of repairs. Depending upon how many buyers are lined up outside his door, he may be willing to do so.
As an aside, that you have this quandry suggests you have not been well served by the inspector or your agent. The inspector should have provded context and a ball park estimate; your agent should have been at your elbow with options and advice.
Ken
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Thanks for all the comments! It helped tremendously. The property I am looking at is a townhouse that appraised @ 127K. Due to hurricane Katrina, it is a sellers market right now. If I don't buy, the seller is not going to find a problem findind someone else. However, If there is anyway I can cut the price due to the repairs, i'll go down that path. I'm going to get the attic inspected again. I found out there was a friend of the family who can inspect the roof. I'm going to give him a call.
I am not sure if there are any action/permission from neighboring townhouses. I'll have to look into that.
snipped-for-privacy@nospam.tnx wrote:

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Are you buying with a mortgage? If so, calculate how little a difference it makes in the monthly payments if the price is reduced by the price of a roof. It might sound great initially to think you're getting a $150K home for $142K, reduced by an $8K roof job. But, when that $8K amounts to almost nothing, in terms of the monthly payment, it's not so exciting. That's why I suggested you consult with your realtor and/or attorney about ways for you to walk away from the final paperwork meeting with a check in your hand made out to a roofer.
I almost needed to do this 3 years ago, so my realtor ran through the details over lunch. Unfortunately, I don't recall enough to be helpful at the moment.

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We ran into a very similar situation woth a house we *JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

We ran into a very similar situation with a house we *almost* bought a few months ago. The point about a reduction in the price not really amounting to much when you're paying a mortgage is important.
What you should see if you can do is 1) get a good roofing contractor out there to give an estimate on the job, including all the aspects of the roof the inspector recommended. 2) Decide with your agent or lawyer how much of the cost you want to try to get the seller to pay for. 3) Ask for "seller's concessions at closing" or something along that wording, which is asking for them to give you CASH back at the closing, for you to use to pay for the repairs. Hopefully they will negotiate with you on the amount and agree to assume a reasonable amount of the cost.
We got out of our deal because they refused to give us anything - and all we asked for was $3500 on an estimate that was over $10K (there was a portion of the roof that was "flat" in a snowy region and it had been neglected for years and was a mess). We have since found a virtually identical house which is only 5 years in on a 30 yr roof. And we'll still need to do some venting, but that won't be anywhere near the $10K it was going to cost to get the other place right!
-Karen-
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While I agree with most of what you've written, thought I'd mention that actually, it's considered a conflict of interest for inspector to provide estimates for cost of repairs. Context, yes; costs, no. Absolutely, the realtor should have been able to provide advice.
Jo Ann
snipped-for-privacy@nospam.tnx wrote:

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It's a conflict of interest if the inspector says "It's about a $6000 roof and here's a business card from my brother, who's in the business". But, to simply say "It's about a $6000 roof, based on my experience" - how is that a conflict?

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wrote:

You are quite correct. If you define "estimates" as being a bid towards a job -- inspectors cannot offer to do the work, nor can they recommend trades.
They can, and should,, offer informed advice as to likely costs, a ballpark estimate of costs ... ie. roofing contractors here charge $x a square and your roof has n squares.
Generally, people have enough sense to know it's ballpark ... order of magnitude, more like five thousand that five hundred.....
It's semantics, but the distinction between an estimate and a bid or an offer to build is important.
Ken
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If this is enough to make you not want to buy, I suggest you either buy a brand new house or rent an apartment.
In reality, these "problems" are about typical for a 1980 house. Mine was built in 1978 and has those similar "problems" as part of normal wear and tear and exposure to the elements. Most are easily solved when a new roof is put on. Get an estimate and work from there.
What you have to do is find out what the cost of correction will be. Then you have to look at the value of the house versus the asking price. If it needs $8000 in repairs in the next two years, but the asking price is $10,000 below average, you are getting a good deal. If the asking price is on the high end, start negotiating.
As for who pays for repair, it should be you so that you have control over what is done. This comes under the price negotiations, but if the seller does the work, it will be a cheap as possible. The venting can be done as part of hte roof, as is all of the flashing. Be prepared that in another 25 years, you will be doing this again to maintain your house.
What you have to be concerned about is major structural problems. What you describe here is a step above cosmetics, not serious deficiency that will cause major damage. Take a hard look at the price versus value and work from there. My niece just bought a house that has similar "problems" but she is not asking the seller to do anything. Why? The value of the house is about $100k more that she is paying and does not want to complicate a great deal.
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Every house will have problems so get used to fixing things. It's part of the fun of home ownership. If you're not willing to do so then rent instead.
You paid an inspector to find problems, and that's exactly what he did. It's your decision on what to do with it. In my opinion, it sounds pretty damn good for a house of that age.

Normal.
Normal. Look for water stains on the underside of the roof in these areas. If not, replace them when you re-roof.

Normal.
It's a common place for a roof leak but you can't justify asking for money back on a potential problem.

This is an upgrade. Get it done when you re-roof.

It is reasonable to ask the seller to move their crap so you can inspect.

Unless it's water damage then that's what paint is for. Don't worry about it.

Inspectors *always* say 3 years left on the roof. It's a safe answer. It might leak in 1 year, you might get 10 years. Start saving for a new one.
So, it depends on the market. You could tell the seller you want $5k back for repairs at closing. They can take it or tell you to stuff it.
I had a buyer fax me a 10 page inspection report with demands to fix every little problem. I fixed everything I could do myself in a weekend and told them to take it or leave it. They walked over a sticking window. I had another offer in 12 hours. That was in '03 and I might not be so lucky today.
-rev
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That's a really big IF, and it can indicate massive unseen problems. It really requires a closer look, and probably a little interrogation.
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lwhitb1 wrote:

Tell your realtor you want a copy of the townhouse association's charter, rules(including repair and renovation rules) and budget. Some of these associations are run by morons that have nothing better to do than tell you how to run your life. If the realtor gives you the slightest bit of grief or doesn't get it for you on Wednesday tell them to have a nice life and get a new realtor.
Don't ask the seller to fix anything, negotiate a reduction in the price or a credit at closing or suck it up.
It does sound as though these repairs are minimal unless the stains are water damage. But with a townhouse everything must be approved by the board like: shingle brand, paint brand, contractor, etc. could be *extremely* expensive. Short story: a friend of mine bought a townhouse and turns out it was built out of straw (3 pigs), anyway $20,000 assessment per unit for repairs. No appeal, no second estimate, STFU and pay us $20K and we'll have somebody fix your roof.
You sound nervous and you should be, you are spending a boatload of money and your realtor's job is to push you into the first sale they can so they can get paid. Get a lawyer even if it is not required in LA. Remember YOU are paying the realtor not the seller because if you don't buy they don't get paid. Lawyers in NE do not chrage very much to process the papers and watch your back so the realtor doesn't stick a knife in it.
Good luck!
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I can't see how any of these items would be a deal breaker if you really like the house, but they certainly could be used to support an offer for less than the asking price of the house, or, as you mentioned, a contract addendum specifying that the seller will repair prior to closing.
--

Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
  Click to see the full signature.
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Yeah BEWARE of townhouse associations where there are only 3 approved roofers all someones brother at twice the price:(
MOVE THE JUNK, REINSPECT THE AREAS OIF INTEREST! GET NEW ROOF QUOTES including all the roofing related issues!
Say is 8 grand, offer 8 grand less or its built into home price you get check back to pay roofer at time of sale....... let them counter offer, remember all your troubles are now legally must be disclosed to next potential buyer! you might get 6 grand off? mo atter savings is savings:)
dont have seller fix it, result will be minimal cover up fast and dirty:(
Get quality roof they usually last 25 years or more
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1)some exterior deterioration in the wood trim in various places
Impossible to say how big of an issue this is. It depends on how much trim there is and how much needs to be replaced. Could be $500 or $5K
2)The plastic flashing on one or more of the plumbing vents are split, cracked, deteriorated, or lifted. Repairs are necessary
This is either a DIY or $100, to fix a couple. But, at this age, it's normal and probably a good idea to replace all of them.
. 3)The is rust in the metal vent vovers and flahsing on the roof.
Again lacks clarity. If it's just cosmetic and paint will solve it, it's less than if it's rusted out and needs to be replaced. But either way, not expensive.
4)The flashing at the chimney may be an eara of potential leaking
Is that all he said? He should have gone into more explanation and also said if there was any indication from either the attic or inside the house of actual leaking. It's easy for anyone to say flashing at a chimney MAY be an area of POTENTIAL leaking on most houses.
5)Additional vent openings in the attic were recomended to be installed.
Good idea and should cost a few hundred bucks.
6)Unable to fully inspect the attic due to personel content
Not clear how much he could see and how much he could not. Again, if he took the time to add "I could only fully inspect the front 2/3 of the attic.... etc, you'd have a better idea of what he actually saw. Did you go with him? What did he say about the area that he could see?
7)It was noted that there was some stains or damage on various areas of
the ceilings and walls.
No clarity here either. Did he probe with a moisture meter? That should have been indicated. Were they in areas that could be attributed to the chimney flashing or plumbing vents, roof holes? Or where they from soda pop?
8)Life before replacement of roof - 3 years with maintenance and repairs as needed.
Probably the original roof, so no surprise here. This is the highest cost item on the list and the one you should focus on first.
As others have pointed out, this is all typical for a 26 year old house. I'd get quotes from contractors to fix all of this and then negotiate for a discount in the price of the house. The quotes will add up to X dollars. I would expect to get most of it taken off the price, but exactly how much depends on how well priced the property is to begin with, how much you want the place, etc.
Also, you said it was a townhouse. That term is used very loosely. Is it a detached home or is it a condominium that is attached to and shares a common roof with other units? If so, the roof and related issues, vents, flashing are probably not your responsibility, as they are maintained/replaced by the association. I would get a complete copy of the association documents, master deed, bylaws, rules/regs and read them thouroughly.
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Update:
The seller is not willing to do anything. He won't put up any money for me to fix anything, nor will he do anything himself. He pretty much wants to sell the house as is. In addition, we were planning on closing at the end of the month, but since his house is not ready, he wants to stay there untill the very last day we approximated the closing to be. The problem with that is it won't be till the end of next month, and i am going to have to pay $350 dollars in interest as a result. I'm so frustrated with this guy. I can still bail out of the contract, and i'm seriously considering it.
snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

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