The Los Angeles real estate market is still favoring sellers and many if not most homes for sale receive many offers. In a multiple offer situation the inspection becomes a more delicate matter than usual since there will almost certainly be one or two backup offers waiting in the wings.
After opening escrow the first step will be to bring in a home inspector whose job is to give an overview of the condition of the property based on what they can actually see. They are not foundation or chimney or sewer inspectors and they will almost always recommend that you bring in a specialist for those areas, and depending on what they find, for plumbing, electrical and other systems also.
The older the house, the more problems are likely to arise and reading the results of the inspection may give you heart failure, because a home inspector is going to point out the smallest faults they find. Then, based on the results of the report you will decide which specialists to bring in to help make a decision on your next step.
Take a breath and relax. Remember that people have been living in the home all this time and any problems they are aware of will have to be disclosed. So the report may not be as bad as you think.
It is a good idea to bring in a contractor to give you an estimate of the cost of repairs.
Now comes your decision. What repairs do you ask the seller to pay for? Here are some points to consider.
- Decide how much you want the house because it is going to cost you more than the price you are paying for it.
- You will most certainly have paid more than the listing price in a multiple-offer situation, however chances are the the backup offers will be close if not the same, and the seller can just move on to the next buyer.
- Some things may need immediate attention and some repairs may be done over time. How long is the roof going to last before it needs replacing? How stable is the foundation? How much are the major repairs going to cost.
- You should select which items to ask the seller to repair or provide credits for. They may or may not agree and then you have to make your decision
- Items discovered during your inspection will be discovered by the next buyer during their home inspection also if you choose not to buy the home, and the seller will be aware of this, so depending on the severity of the problem they may agree to address it.
- Take into consideration that in a hot market this situation is likely to arise time and again. You have a budget and within that budget you are in heavy competition for homes.
Think about what you can live with for now and decide at what point you are willing to walk away with no regrets.
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