It’s a home seller’s worst nightmare: you’ve spent time and energy waiting for a buyer and then you get the dreaded news. The home inspector found lots of problems with your house.
This can throw even the most confident of homeowners into a frenzy. What if you can’t afford to repair your home? Will buyers still be interested in a home with multiple problems? How much of a price reduction will this mean?
These are all valid questions. Results of an inspection can be discerning, but it doesn’t have to be the death of your home-selling dreams.
Read on and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.
First and foremost, it’s important to understand the problem that you’re grappling with. Code deficiencies come in more than one form.
There are general building codes put in place by local governments with the intention of making all buildings safe for the general public. These codes help to regulate areas such as plumbing, electricity, and other such things in and around your home.
When your house was first constructed, it was required to be up to date with the codes at the time in order for it to be sold. But depending on how long you’ve had your home, the rules may have changed, and your house may now not be up to current code.
Depending on where you live, there may also be a homeowner’s association. These organizations typically have their own set of codes that operate outside those of the local or state government. For example, an HOA might consider a house painted a certain color or with an unkempt lawn to be in violation of the HOA requirements.
In this way, it is possible to be in violation of certain HOA codes while still being up to date with electric, plumbing, and other such requirements.
In addition to repairs stemming from an inspection report being expensive, they can also be quite disruptive to the potential sale of your home. Legally, you must make potential buyers aware of any major repairs or issues with the home. Failure to do so could leave you legally vulnerable down the line.
There are a variety of potential code violations that a homeowner might face. Some of the most common have to do with objects in your house you probably walk by all the time without a second thought.
For example, smoke alarms. The placement of smoke alarms in a home is regulated, and an inspector will often cite a deficiency if your smoke alarms are not placed in the correct locations.
Other common violations? Handrails that don’t end into a wall or are a little loose, and improper deck flashing are safety hazards that are often caught by home inspectors. Defective ground-fault circuit protectors and antiquated bathroom exhaust fans are two other examples that many homeowners don’t even realize they have.
If your home is quite a few years old, it’s likely that they’ll be a few repairs and renovations you might have to do to get the home up to code.
If you’ve been hit with some deficiencies as a result of your home inspection, what are your options? You have three different paths that you can consider going down.
This may sound obvious, but it is many times the easiest answer for those facing deficiencies. If you can fix up any potential problems with your home before listing it, it can make the whole process cleaner and easier.
Your ability to do this will likely depend on the severity of the issue at hand. For example, moving a smoke alarm a few feet over only takes little time and hardly any money. But larger code issues might be more than homeowners feel like they can take on.
In times where the market is busy, fixing a deficiency can be important. Some buyers will cancel a contract if there are too numerous repairs needed. That being said, the cost of such repairs can often be extremely expensive.
If there are safety issues in your home, you must legally disclose those issues. But there’s no law that says you can’t still sell the home anyway.
If the code deficiencies don’t present a safety threat to buyers, some may still be interested in taking the house for a cheaper price and fixing things up themselves. This is an added bit of responsibility, so you might have to drop the price a fair amount in order to attract the right buyers.
You can also give a potential buyer an “allowance” or concession for repairs that show up in an inspection report.
If you know of some costly issues you have with your house, you might not have the time or money to make the repairs. The best solution? Selling your home to an investor.
There are many investors and house-flippers who can buy your house immediately for a fair market price. This can be one of the best ways to sell a home with deficiencies, as these kinds of buyers are aware and actively looking for homes with such issues.
If you already know you’re not willing to fix all the issues that may be present with your house, selling ‘as is’ can be your best bet.
Selling a house with code deficiencies can be a big challenge. If you’ve found yourself in this situation, this advice can help you decide on your next steps.
Have more questions about selling your home fast? Give us a call anytime for assistance.
Lisa is a local real estate investor in Austin Texas.