As soon as your offer is on the table to purchase a home, it’s time to walk through with an inspector to look for problems, big and small. He or she will take pictures and fill out a full report. Before leaving the property, the inspector will orally report the problems to you as well as what should be fixed. They will then file a report.
In an ideal world, the results would always come out positive. The house would be fine and you would be good to go. Unfortunately, in a realistic world your inspector is often the bearer of bad news. Before you sign the dotted line on your VA home loan application in this situation, consider following the advice below.
What to do about it
The first thing to do is to determine if the problems are minor or major.
Many of the issues a home inspector will find are minor. It could be something as simple as a squeaky door or slow leak from the faucet. These fixes are fairly simple to fix and can be taken care of by either the buying or selling parties. When brought up during negotiations, the seller might offer to take care of the problems to ensure the sale. Either way, a leaking faucet or a squeaky door are cheap to fix and won’t often affect the sale.
A major problem includes roof leaks, faulty appliances, and problems with the heating, ventilation, or air conditioning system in the home. Each of these problems can be extremely expensive to fix, often costing hundreds of dollars, at a minimum.
First, if there are major problems to be addressed then your course of action should be direct and well communicated, because it will determine whether or not you walk away from the purchase or not.
Bring them up to the seller as serious problems and demand one of two things: either they reduce the offer to accommodate the price of fixing the house, or they fix it themselves before the home is purchased. Should they refuse to do either, feel free to walk away from the encounter.
Second, if they agree to make the changes before the deal closes and you trust them to do it, feel free to sign the dotted line if (and only if) there is a provision to walk away if the fixes are not made in the desired amount of time. Only with that provision should you move forward on a property. The seller could be the most trusted person in the world and you would still want to make sure that your legal obligation to the property is based on the status of the fixes expected.
Major issues shouldn’t be ignored. There need to be concessions on the seller’s side, one way or the other, to cover the cost of the house before you close on your VA home loan. Without those concessions, you could find yourself 30 years into a VA home loan debt for a house you wish you hadn’t purchased. Walk this line carefully to come out with the best home possible, even if that means walking away from the house of your dreams.