As we developed a list of things we wanted, after our first home inspection failed, we also developed a list of things that would make us walk away, no questions asked.:
Our "Walk away" list:
- Mold - Fairly obvious
- Aluminum Wiring - This was popular in the mid/late 70's. Its a fire hazard if not correctly installed, and insurance companies HATE it, and force you to get your wires examined periodically. Basically, if an aluminum wire is bent to sharply, it'll fracture slightly inside. It'll start to corrode (aluminum's version of rust) and will eventually become like a toaster element in your wall, and potentially start a fire. Just Google it
- Knob and Tube Wiring - Again fire hazard, but this is basically un-insulated Wires inside your walls. They're just wrapped around a ceramic disc, nailed into your wall and held tight. Google it as well, but just trust me, its super expensive to replace, and you don't want to tackle this on your first house. If you see it, Run, Don't walk!
- Dirt Crawlspaces - Just more a personal preference - its an easy way for moisture to get into your house. Tons of houses have these, but if your house is the ONLY one in the hood with one (your building inspector will know) then you should avoid it. odds are there were more serious issues.
- Asbestos - Deadly, cancerous insulation. If contained properly, it is OK, but will turn off many buyers when you go to sell. Avoid if at all possible.
- Leaking Basement - Obvious, and expensive to fix. Precursor to Mold.
- Electric/Boiler heat - its just bloody expensive to operate, and expensive to replace with a duct system. Also means No Central A/C is possible. For century homes, (old classic beautiful homes) this is super common. Its not a deal breaker for some, but it was for me.
- Houses where the driveway slopes INTO the garage/house - 9/10 houses will have no problem with this, but my luck would be the one that gets a drain freeze or backup, resulting to a flooded basement. Also, the thought of having some freezing rain on your driveway and not being able to stop as my car plummets through my garage door wasn't appealing. (I actually had a nightmare about this... home hunting does weird things to your sleep...)
- "Handyman" houses - Some people like to THINK they can fix things. (I might be a bit of a Hippocrite here...) But really just bastardize their entire house. Replacing a light switch is one thing, but when someone blows out a basement wall on their own, and runs copper pipes on an outside wall that'll freeze and blow up in the winter... You should run. (true story) Not only did they probably not get permits, it could also be a safety hazard if they did their work incorrectly. When I get to the "DIY home ownership part of this blog, I'll be showing you that I've done all my research and am doing everything to code or greater. (but even then... its "better" to get it done professionally from a liability standpoint...)
Waiving your conditions means that all the conditions of your offer have been met. Those Three conditions I recommended (Financing, Visits, and Inspection) are now satisfied, and you are committing yourself to buy the house.
Next post will be Legal stuff and closing costs. (very important, but also kinda boring. I'll try and make it exciting, I promise)