Home Buying in 02446>Question Details

Kay, Home Buyer in Boston, MA

Is it reasonable to ask for a repair or credit for improper flashing on windows and porches?

Asked by Kay, Boston, MA Sat Feb 23, 2013

There is evidence the contractor-owner who renovated this summer improperly flashed windows and the porch. Is it reasonable to ask for a repair or credit for this potential major water issue? There are a lot of high end finishes - but many contractor errors (e.g. buckling shingles from putting them in too tight, porch too tight too and will pool water, sealed in roof ridge with insulation...).

We also discovered recent termite damage and evidence of termite abatement (last done 2 years ago by prior owner), small cracks in the foundation, chimney issue (flues not properly separated), and non-working hot water storage tank. Any of these issues could be in a top 3 list for another house, so we are reluctant to pick and choose which are the absolute worst, and are considering walking. (There are many smaller issues like non-working garage door openers and expired AC compressor, which are not structural, safety, environmental issues - or to a lesser degree.)

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I guess it boils down to how bad you want the house and do you feel the cost of the improvements you would have to make still makes the house fairly priced compared to what else you have seen in the market.

Back to your question is it reasonable - yes it is reasonable especially where he is a contractor, he should be able to address the shingle issue.

As to the termite abatement is there still a warranty in effect? If not you may want to have a termite inspection and get your own warranty (100-200). Non working hot water? How does he presently get hot water? (new hot water storage 800 - 1000) Non working garage door openers (small ticket items) A/C compressor is it working (if so plan on replacing down the line)

Total including roof without compressor 2500 or less. compressor 2000 ish

So you could ask for a credit, but remember unless it is cash back at closing it will only be a small percentage if you are reducing the purchase price and financng it. ie 5000 cash vs 80% financing on purchase price equals cash savings of 1000

Good luck don't let 5k stand in the way of your dream house especially in this very competitive market presently.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 24, 2013
When the seller is also the handyman and there's evidence of less than professional quality work done asking for a credit is usually the better route. Time is of the essence with this stage of the purchase process. Hopefullly you are working with a buyers agent. You should immediately get qualified licenced contractors in to give you estimates for the work to be done.

On some of the items you may get full credit, others partial and others none. Alot would depend upon how the negotiations went to get to the current point. Some will say it can't hurt to ask, alot would depend upon the situation of the seller and their position and motivation for selling. If you feel that you're in a strong position and there aren't other offers in the wings then perhaps it might work to attempt to renegotiate. The deadlines for this are very pressing at this phase so you need to make sure you have the time for everything. If you have a buyers agent they can best advise you and work on a game plan to go forward or walk away.

Good luck,
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 24, 2013
I think Louis gave a good response. I liked where he added about the credit at closing as many would have left that out and it makes a big difference if you need this money for repairs.

I wouldn't sweat the small stuff, but what bothered me was the shingle installation being to tight. Wood expands along its width, not lenght. If they are too tight than every year when you get really hot and humid weather they are going to expand and either buckle or start to break. This could be a big problem over the years and it is not easy or inexpensive to fix. It all makes me wonder about the quality of the work. Sealing in the roof ridge with insulation sounds like wood rot to me down the road.

This sounds like it may be an attractive home, but the issues you mentioned could cost you a bunch if they're not addressed now. My advice is to get a professional engineer/home inspector to look at these issues. It would be well worth the money spent. Even if you're had one already, a second opinion wouldn't hurt. You might also check with the building department where the home is located to see if the town has inspected the renovations and mention your concerns to them.

Although I've been selling homes for more than 20 years and have seen a lot, I'm not there looking at this house. I would get a professional to look at it and be prepared to walk away depending on what they say. I had a buyer walk about from a house not long ago as the cedar shake siding was cracking and starting to buckle. Turns out there were problems behind the siding.

Good luck.

Donald A Mituzas
Licensed Associate Broker
2008 Realtor of the Year
Director - Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors
Douglas Elliman Real Estate

1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 24, 2013
At least where I am it's not too hard to do porch repair in Chicago IL. Just make sure you find a good contractor and they'll have it done in no time.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 16, 2013
Hi Kay,
If you are still negotiating this as a purchase, you can ask for anything.
If you have already bought it, check the warranty.
If there is no warranty - and in the other cases, too - check with your attorney.

(Please note: when you choose an answer as a Best Answer, or at least give a thumbs up, it helps those who answer questions here.)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 24, 2013
If you are considering walking away I would ask for whatever you want to have fixed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 24, 2013
Since improper flashing could lead to all sorts of water related, mold and rot, issues. It would be better to investigate before you purchase. Yes you can ask for a credit and do the work yourself after closing but you the could find out there is much more damage that needs attention.

I would tred cautiously on this.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 24, 2013
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