Updated: 02/16/2017 3:57 PM | Print Story |  Email

When Buying a Home, Don't Let These Be Dealbreakers

When home-shopping, problems like cracks in the foundation and water stains might feel like dealbreakers. But Julie and Daniel Desrochers from Derochers Realty Group and Coldwell Banker Burnet share advice on how to handle those issues, especially if you love that home despite its problems.

Here are the problems and Julie and Daniel's thoughts on how to deal with them:

Water Stains/Mold
- Should be something to be concerned about but if the cause is known often can be taken care of.  
- Past water stains don’t necessarily indicate mold or current leaks especially if the issue was caught early and the cause was taken care of. Need to figure out where the water is coming from and fix the issue. 
- With wet basements a lot of times it is due to improper grading around the house and lack of gutters. 
- If the issue has been taken care of paint over the water stains, water stains can scare buyers away even if there is not longer any issues. 
- Disclose the issue but explain what was done to elevate and provide any documentation/receipts from contractor 
- One thing to note is that you will always have to disclose mold in the future and there are some buyers that will pass on a home if there has been a mold issue even if the issue has been taken care of.  So something to keep in mind when negotiating with the sellers. 
Cigarette Smoke Smell/Pet Smell
- This can be a big one we have had many buyers dismiss a home if they know that the sellers had pets or it smells like cigarette smoke. 
- Lots of people have allergies to both pets and smoke so it can be a big deterrent. 
- Its hard some times for people to detect smells in their own home, their realtor needs to be honest with them.
- Remove all traces of the pet (litter boxes, food bowls/leashes, etc.)
- For smoke smell re-paint, shampoo carpets and upholstered furniture, remove any window treatments that may have soaked up the smell, have the air ducts cleaned & sanitized and run an ozone machine in the house.  This should remove the smoke smell. 
Foundation Issues
- Can be cause to move on to another house but also can be fixed
- It is the most important part of your house
- Cracks in your foundation/garage floor/foundation floor can be a red flag and signs of bigger structural issues. That being said there are ways it can be fixed. 
- Not all foundation cracks are bad, some are due to just normal settling, thin cracks have probably been around for a while and are just due to the home settling but mostly don’t impact the structural integrity of the house. You just want to make sure they are sealed to prevent water intrusion.
- Wide cracks or displacement are the bigger issues that scare buyers off. 
Larger foundation issues can be fixed by a reputable foundation repair company installing anchors or braces and most reputable companies will provide a good warranty.  This is something you can negotiate to have the sellers do if you absolutely love the house. If you can’t negotiate this or receive a price reduction due to this it may be best to move on to another home. 
- Don’t think this is a big deal and can usually be taken care of. 
- Most homes at some point or another deal with insect, mice or squirrel issues. Even though this is the case the site of a mousetrap or spiders everywhere can really turn off buyers. 
- Hire a pest control company to exterminate the mice or insects. A good exterminator should be able to take care of the issue and most companies will come back for a 2nd time a few months later to ensure no critters 
- It is usually a matter of finding all the holes the rodents are using to enter the home and plugging them so they not longer enter the house. 
Old Mechanicals
- Can be an issue but if a buyer should not pass on a house because of this you just need to properly negotiate and budget for future repairs/replacements.
- Furnace, air conditioner, water heater, air to air exchanger and water softener should be tuned, serviced and cleaned with up to date stickers on them.
- Dollar signs start to add up in buyers heads when they see that all these things are old or nearing the end of their life in a listing. 
- Having them checked out and certified is a good way to alleviate this fear
- You can also offer to purchase a home warranty for the buyers. These are purchased through a 3rd party company for around $500-$800 and warranty the mechanicals in a home for a year after purchase. If something goes wrong within that year the warranty company will fix or replace the unit for a small detectable.