Home Improvement

Sweating the Small Stuff

Whoever coined the phrase, “don’t sweat the small stuff” either never meant it to apply to the home buying process or had fallen so head over heels for a home that they were blind to conditions that should have been a wake-up call.

Now while very few potential homebuyers will overlook serious structural issues like sagging floors and large cracks in the walls, there are a frightening number of seemingly smaller issues people are happy to overlook. If this describes you, beware – you may find yourself spending more time “doing” and spending than enjoying the house should you decide to buy it.


To Buy or Not to Buy?

The difference between buying or not buying a house boils down to whether the issue is cosmetic or structural.

Cosmetic vs Structural

Cosmetic issues like faded walls can be easily remedied with a fresh coat of paint. Old refrigerators that are still keeping foods cold can be replaced as can the stove and the kitchen cabinet doors.

However, aged or cracked exterior stucco walls are not a problem that cannot be painted over. It could be a sign that the house is vulnerable to stormwater seeping in over time, which will result in serious damage to the foundation.

The roof is another area that can be deceiving. Whether covered with asphalt shingles, cedar shakes, or wood shingles, fading can be easily overlooked. But there are problems you can spot even from the ground. If any shingles are cupping either up or down or missing, that’s an uh-oh, as is blistering or loss of granular material in asphalt shingles; or chipping, splitting, insect damage, or rotting in wood shingles. In other words, most roof repairs are beyond your handyman around the house’s capabilities, unless you are a roofer.

The above are but a few of the issues a professional home inspector can save you from during your home buying journey.

The Wisdom of Taking a Deep Breath and A Second Look

In short, a home inspection can be a horror story or a happy-ever-after tale. It depends on the house you have fallen in love with. Either way, it benefits to step back for a moment even if the price is right and the market is hot. In either case, eliciting a second opinion can be invaluable in either instance. Asking a friend or relative experienced in buying a home and fixing what needed fixing is a good idea. But even better is seeking a second quick walk-through with a second inspector in what is known as a walk and talk consultation. As the two of you make your way through the house, the buyer can focus on the visual aesthetics of the home and the walk and inspector can assess elements of the structural integrity.