We Put in an Offer on a House and After Having the Inspection I Want Out.

Updated on April 22, 2010
K.V. asks from Columbus, OH
24 answers

We have been looking for a house since the begining of the year. This is the fourth house we have put in an offer on. We were outbid on the other three. We had the inspection earlier this week and after taking a second look I have some serious reservations. I did not expect everything to be one hundred percent as this is an older home. The previous homes we looked at were definate fixer-uppers.

We decided to change our stratigey and look for a home that was not a fixer-upper and one that we could move right into. This is what we thought we had found when we put in an offer on the house. The inspection show issues with the electric, plumbing and the roof. Now the owner put a new roof on 2 years ago and installed a new furnace at the same time. Whoever installed the ridge vent forgot to cut out the plywood underneath and the furnace was not installed correctly nor was the chimney lined as it should have been. Also they insulated the attic and forgot to allow for airflow so new roof may have aged 10 years in the last two. The problems with the electric are a deal breaker and we will definately not move forward if its not corrected.

Additionally the inspector told us that the appliances were too old and ineffectent and that we should replace them. I love the area where the house is located and the schools are a definate plus. But my husband loves the house I on the other hand have started to not. I am not willing to buy a house that we have to put a ton of money into it so it would be worth what we paid for it. Also while we were planning on replacing the stove, I was not planning on replacing all the appliances and the frig really needs to go. I am also afraid that we may reach an agreement on the repairs but the bank may reject our loan as the house price may be to high if the repairs are not done. What would you do?

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So What Happened?

My husband and I have come to an agreement on the house. I have already started looking for another. Boy is my realtor pissed and we are out several hundred for the inspections. Thats the part that really sucks.

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answers from Indianapolis on

If you can't afford it, you can't afford it. I wouldn't try to get into something you know would be a stretch with the bank. If there are things you can live with for a couple years, go for it, but if there are appliances that don't work or are hazzardous, and if the electrical is going to cost YOU to bring up to code, then I'd just back out based on the inspection findings.



answers from Washington DC on

I would back out. As long as you made the offer on the house contingent on the home inspection you have a legal avenue to walk away.

If you need any support in this, rent the movie 'The Money Pit' with Tom Hanks and Shelly Long.

I have two friends that bought an older house a few years ago. Wife loved its charm, and could live with the few odd things. That was part of the charm. Hubby wasn't into the house, but bought it because the wife wanted it. Almost from moving day, hubby was unhappy. Within a year they moved and then took a big tax hit for selling under 2 years.

Walk away.



answers from Anchorage on

If you do not want the house withdraw you offer. Making an offer in no way binds you into buying the house.

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answers from Fresno on

I haven't read all of your responses, so I'm sorry if this is a duplicate of anyone else's. My husband is a realtor and I'm a construction manager, so I have some knowledge of the issues you're talking about.

The thing you have to realize is that no house is perfect (not even new ones). Inspectors are notoriously persnickety on home inspections. It's amazing the stuff these guys will find to pick on, AND the stuff they miss! If you're concerned, get a second opinion from a licensed General Contractor. (Among contractors, it's sort of the joke that if the inspector knew what he was talking about, he'd be a contractor and not a home inspector - oops, did I just say that out loud?) For instance, my parents just sold their 1920 home and the inspector stated that all the sewer lines should be changed out. Of course the buyer flipped out, but had the presence of mind to hire a contractor to take a look at it. Well, the inspector figured that since ABS pipes are code, that the plumbing didn't meet code. However, in the era the home was built, galvanized pipes were routinely used (in fact, they were in this area up until 1993 when the code changed), and they were in excellent shape. There was no real need to replace anything, it turned out. So - take what the inspector said with a grain of salt, and get a good contractor in there to take a look before you make any hasty decisions.

I wish you the best of luck!

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answers from Houston on

If the house had been perfect (or at least acceptable) after the inspection would you have still been happy with the choice and loved the house? If so, I would talk to your realtor and get an estimate on how much the repairs would cost based on the inspectors findings. Once you have that number request that either the repairs be made by the homeowner subject to a second inspection or ask for a credit at closing equal to the estimate amount so that you can take that money and have the repairs made yourself.

If you no longer love the house even if everything was repaired then by all means pull your offer off the table and look for another house that you both love.

Good luck,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I agree with what someone else said-- it sounds like the homeowner either did the work themselves or had someone who didn’t know what they were doing do the work. This is a bad sign. You don’t know what else they might have "fixed" while they owned the home that might turn out to be a problem down the road. If the inspector caught these 3 things just from his inspection, imagine what else might come up later as you live in the house. Additionally, the fact that the owner didn't disclose any of these problems (hard to imagine they had no idea about THAT many issues) is also a really bad sign as far as you being able to trust the seller. You are also correct about potential problems with the bank. I was in the mortgage industry for a long time. Banks don’t like to give regular residential loans to houses that need work. They can’t sell it if you default. Run for the hills!

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answers from Dallas on

Here are somethings to consider.

1. Some of your repair items (appliances, wear on roof) don't feel reasonable to me. HVAC and chimney certainly are. Electrical depends on what the issue is.

Now, if you are using repairs only to win your position with your husband, it might be that you discuss more about what you really don't like about the house anymore if it is the design, lack of light, room sizes, avg electrical or gas bill (don't forget to get that).

Know that lots of times buyers have buyers remorse about a property or thing at some point. There are certainly ways for you to get out of it. Now is the time. Your realtor can tell you how she/he recommends. If they are reticent about it, seek another realtor's opinion.

Then, have you thought about buying new from a good builder. Hopefully, a house that's already built. They would give great discounts through negotiations. Houses don't depreciate the moment you get them like cars (except for add ons like pools and such). Builders may have better deals out there with warrantees and throw ins. Course, new home developments tend to go with smaller lots and similar space plans that look like a rectangular box on its end -- depending on the price point.

2. Your inspector strives to note anything and everything to give you your money's worth in negotiating for repairs. No one expects you to list all those things must be fixed or get money to repair them. You mentioned the refrigerator. Most homes don't sell and include a refrigerator. If they are leaving it behind and you don't want it, tell them to take it. The HVAC and chimney may or may not cost a fortune to fix properly. Depends.

3. Your realtor has a vested interest in your concluding any sale. They gain a commission on it. Do not rely on them for advice on whether to go ahead or not or whether a repair request should be included or not. They may tell you what's standard in the market today, but take their advice with a grain of salt.

good luck.

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answers from Orlando on

I read none of the other responses. DO NOT BUY THIS HOUSE. If you have any second thoughts at all, you need to back out of the deal. You will be stuck with this house for a very long time so make sure you love it or you will regret it

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answers from Kansas City on

I just read Catherine C's response and completely agree. Maybe if our inspector hadn't been too concerned about the spray nozzle at the kitchen sink he would have noticed the siding that had been recalled!
Don't get me wrong. They do a valuable service and I bet most are the very best at what they do, it's just that some things will get missed no matter what.

Personally I agree that anything electrical is a deal breaker. But you never know what you are getting.

We bought our house 9 years ago and knew there were a few very minor issues. Within the first year we were putting in steel piers under one corner ($15,000) and by the second year we were replacing the masonite siding that our inspector had missed because it was covered up with a fresh coat of paint ("house completely repainted inside and out" is a red flag now!) to the tune of $25,000! When we looked at the house the lady was DOWN TO 2 cats and 1 dog. We found out later from the neighbors that she had at least 3-4 dogs, the same number of cats and a room full of birds! More money in cleaning vents ripping out carpets etc to get all the pet hair/dander/smell (we looked at house and bought early spring before heat and humidity would make those smells come to life). Not to mention we've replaced every door knob, every faucet, both hot water heaters and upgraded the AC.
So I guess my point, other than finally being able to vent (sorry) is that even with a fairly decent inspection we still spent a ton more money on this house than we intended. Yes, you are protected to a point but it's funny that the things you think may be covered in any warranty may or may not be covered they way you would want. But again, I agree the electrical stuff is too scary not to ignore.

Good Luck, Lori K

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answers from Chicago on

Don't know where this house is, but all houses have problems, even brand new ones. As far as appliances go, if your fridge works,why not paint it and later on replace it. If they are working, replace them as needed as far as the other appliances go. If it is a matter of how they look sometimes you can find nice looking but maybe a dented brand new one is often available at outlet stores for a very small amount of the money. After having owned several houses, brand new gets dented quickly anyway. Are you guessing about the roof or did an inspector tell you it aged ten years? If the electric is terrible, then yes that could be dangerous. If you like the area, the schools are a definite plus, then it sounds like the other issues might be more cosmetic and those changes can happen during the evolution of your stay there.Again, if the furnace is actually dangerous then of course back out and explain this to your husband. But if it isn't hanging right so to speak, visually, then perhaps this is not a major issue.Believe me, they will tell you if they do not feel comfortable giving you a loan on it. It happened to me and now I live in a different house. And be wary of the inspectors who tells you all sorts of things are not working or broken and hands you his brother in law's card to help you purchase new ones.

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answers from Chicago on

You can request that the items be corrected and a ctredit for the appliance replacement. When we bought our place 10 years ago, it was almost a foreclosure. The inspector told us the furnace was about 15 years old, the hot water tanks were about 10 yrs, give or take. We still have the same ones now and do not plan to replace unless there is a problem with them. We have had to replace the thermocouple on all but that cost $2 each and 10 minutes of my brother to do it. There was a masonry problem but we negotiated for them to correct before we would close. Otherwise we would walk away. If you just say you chnaged your mind, they could sue for breech of contract and keep your earnest money if that was put down. But if you bring up these problems, especially the venting and furnace, you should be able to get out. See if they will fix the items if those are the only things stopping you. They may really want to sell so be willing to take care of it.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Talk to your realtor. I'm sure in the agreement the seller has to pay for any issues found up to and including a certain amount of $$.

If you still don't want it, I'm sure you can get out of it (you & hubby need to agree on what to do though! That may become the bigger issue.)

That said, keep in mind that home inspectors are looking at every single thing to be ideal (probably 50%+ of houses have inefficient appliances!) That's the inspectors way of saying, in a perfect world, and money being no object, they should be replaced. If an inspector does NOT note something, you can go back and blame him (Hey--we didn't expect such high gas bills!) so they make notes of EVERY single thing that is not 100% the best scenario. They are covering their butt too.

So while you certainly need to consider the results of the home inspection report, make sure you're looking at it realistically. Best wishes!



answers from New York on

You need to check your contract. Usually you make an offer contingent upon the inspection. Have the current owners make the repairs to roof, electric and plumbing stating that it must be done by a licensed contractor and they will have to pay for an additional inspection. If the owners aren't willing to do this, then walk away.

As for the appliances, I don't think there's much you can do. Just by looking at them you would know that they were old and not energy efficient, that would have been taken into account when you made the offer on the house.

This is a buyers market. As long as your not is a rush to move, take the time to find a house that you'll love.

Good luck



answers from Boston on

The furnace and roof issues sound major. I would back out unless you renegotiate a price that is substantially lower to account for fixing those matters.



answers from Indianapolis on

Don't you watch property virgins? You can show the owner what the inspector found & lower the price to what you would feel comfortable paying without them fixing anything. That could be up to 1/3 of the price the owner set.

Whoever the realtor is should have warned the owner what may happen if they don't do any of the repairs first or even replace the old appliances with newer used appliances. There are places out there that you can get a frig or stove that may only be a couple of years old.

If the owner refuses to meet you half way on any of the problems getting settled, then you are best to walk away no matter how much hubby loves the place. Just make sure you tell the owner & the realtor that with the market the way it is now, good luck getting the price that is demanded without the repairs/replacements being done first. Remember there are shows out there to educate homeowners as well as those buying a home for the first time or the twentith time!!!

Whatever money you are out for inspections is well worth it as long as its not the several thousands you would spend on repairs.



answers from Dallas on

You can get out of the contract. After the inspection is the only time you can get out with out loosing your money. Talk to your realtor, but this is what my realtor told me when we started looking in Feburary. Every house is going to have problems but if it is deal breaker then walk away. Hope you find another one.



answers from New York on

Too many major problems to continue - it sounds as though the homeowner did the fix-ups on the cheap with unlicensed (and uninsured) contractors, which not only makes it a problem cost-wise to fix but can also be very risky - if there's a fire for example, and there was a problem with the electrcal wiring or furnace install, it's very likely your homewners would not cover it, even if the repair was done by a previous homeowner. You'd be on the hook for any damage.

Spare yourself the trouble and move on. Redoing a roof, electrical, furnace, chimeney, plumbing and putting in new appliances (what else is left?) is a major investment and headache. These are the bones of the house, anything else is just cosmetic.

So appeal to your husband money sense - you are basically buying a cosmetic job with poor bones, even if you spend a boatload of cash on repairing the bones of this house, it will "look" the same afterwards and probably sell for the same amount or less, in this economy.

If they're giving you trouble getting out of the deal, head out to the local town hall and have them pull up the history of the house to see if any permits were in place when all these repairs were done. I'm betting they weren't, it doesn't sound as they are up to code. Ask for copies of invoices of whoever did the work and check with your state to see if they were licensed (google "Ohio verify license").


I don't think they can fine the new owner but if the seller is trying to pass off a cheap renovation this will give you all the red flags you need.


answers from Houston on

I would back out. That is a big part of why you get it inspected. The appliances are touch and go with any house, we had to get a new fridge and washer/dryer set when we got our home. But the electrical/roof problems make it a no go. You may end up hating the house if you move in and it turns out to be a money pit. Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

I would see what the current owners are willing to do to fix the issues and then see if it is still worth it to leave it behind or to go forward.

Keep in mind the tax credit that is ending very soon. I thought I heard paperwork had to be started by the end of this month and closed by June1. Look at this and see if that will make you change your mind.

There are a ton of homes out there that may meet your needs and don't need so much work.

Good luck. Only the two of you can decide if it is worth moving forward on.



answers from Allentown on

Your contract should allow for you to negotiate with the seller on these items. The Seller should have the opportunity to have a professional take a look at these items as well, and provide a copy of the report to you. Even though you are using a home inspector, it is still one person's opinion.



answers from Terre Haute on

You could have negotiated for the thing to fixed or for an additional discount to have repairs made. When I bought my house the prior owner and I split the cost of new electrical.
Your realtor will get over it or you can switch.
Speaking from experience with 7 years prior real estate it happens.
I took a family a minimum of one weekend a month to look at houses
Two years later they bought a house from a for sale by owner. I did not get any commission or anything after I took time away from my family - gas etc with no reward in the end.
no hard feelings that is part of the business.



answers from Indianapolis on

EVERYTHING is negotiable. If you want new appliance, tell the seller that he needs to replace them and MAKE SURE, you get to do the picking and/or make the approval. Some sneaky owners might replace them w/ other used ones and get around it that way.

If the owner(s) want to sell it bad enough, they'll do what it takes to sell the house WITHOUT raising the price or at least within reason. Negotiate it so that YOUR LOAN amount doesn't change. If you have a good realtor, they should be able to help you w/ this one. If you don't let me know and I'll help you get it done.



answers from Eugene on

Are you working with a realtor? My understanding (from buying and selling a home) is that you can back out after the inspection based on just about anything they find. Also, after the inspection you can make your offer contingent on them fixing certain items (at least in Oregon); for example, when we sold our house we had to replace a section of siding and install a new plumbing vent (at our expense). We decided just to do it because we knew that everyone else who looked out our house would get the same inspection (probably) and that in this market we didn't have a lot of choice! Good luck.



answers from Charlotte on


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