Home Buying in Madison>Question Details

Janelle, Home Buyer in Madison, WI

Who should pay for what... Mold found in attic and ice damming along the gutters was found today during our home inspection

Asked by Janelle, Madison, WI Sat Feb 9, 2013

Our inspector was suspecting it was because there wasn't much air flow in the attic and the insulation was poor. That was our first issue.

Second issue was the electric box was recently upgraded due to their kitchen upgrade, and they didn't use the proper box - I don't know all the technical terms, but it was set up as a 200amp and that was too much. the inspector was saying that is a defect.

The 3rd thing was the owners cut a hole in the garage wall to bring in their water heater, which now that makes it a fire safety hazard.

We are first time homebuyers and are looking for a little advice. We feel they should pay for all these items, as they should have properly taken care of the electrical box and the water heater installation. We feel they probably knew about the ice damming issue, and should have been resolved a long time ago. We really love the house, and the rest of the inspection went well. There was a few safety issues we will need to take care of. Thanks!

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Answers

13
Mary Whitcomb’s answer
You need to look at these issues as an overall picture of how the current owners cared for this home. Anything the inspector lists as a defect is usually the responsibility of the seller. If a seller chooses not to fix safety issues (an option) those defects then have to be disclosed on an amended Real Estate Condition Report. I would proceed with caution!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 12, 2013
Hi Janelle,

It appears as though you have "defects". Always refer to the Offer to Purchase for the definition of a defect. The inspector will note a defect or safety violation on the inspection report. Depending on how your offer was written (contingencies, right or no right to cure, price, time frame) are all considerations. You have to decide what you want the seller to fix/repair. If there is a secondary offer in place you may not get the seller to agree to fixing anything. You also have the right to walk away. Do not purchase a home with sloppy/code violations.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 2, 2013
Hopefully you had an inspection cause in your offer!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 2, 2013
They are defects.Depending on how the offer was written, the Seller could be responsible to cure these. Hopefully, you have a Buyers' agency with your Realtor. If you do not have a realtor, contact a Real Estate Attorney.
I wish you good luck,
Judy Braund, Keller Williams Crossroads, Madison, WI
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 17, 2013
Great question. First do you have a Realtor to discuss with because they know the ins and outs of what is "usual" IF you don't have a Realtor then an attorney will help you with the legalities as you really don't want to buy a home with issues you are not ok with.
You can ask to have sellers fix, but they have no obligation to. Good luck with the deal.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2013
It's all a matter of negotiation. But, look at it another way: you love the house and if this is a short sale YOU WILL be paying for it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2013
These are items that should be addressed with the seller. If the inspector feels that these items are defects (affect the safety, structure or marketability of the house) and you gave the seller the right to cure defects in your offer, you have 2 choices. You can submit an amendment asking the seller to cure these issues (be specific about how you expect these to be cured and the time frame) or you can file a notice to vacate your offer. If you are working with a realtor, he or she can help you through this process. If you are not working with a realtor, you may want to confer with an attorney. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2013
You may want to talk to an electrician re over sized box never had that be a defect before especially when 200 amp service seems to be current standard in new construction - good Luck with your situation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 9, 2013
Your Realtor can assist you in dealing with these issues as they are common problems that turn up through the course of the inspection, so not to worry!

If you do not have a buyer's agent, then you can ask the seller's agent for assistance though they're client in transaction is the seller and they will be negotiating with the seller's interest in mind.

If this is a FSBO then you will have to negotiate with the seller's yourself. If that does not go we'll you may have to get legal advice.

Good luck, Janelle.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 9, 2013
What does your Buyer Agent think?

I think the Seller has a mold issue and an ice dam issue due to poor insulation and lack of ventilation. Your Seller also has an electrical problem...and it isn't just the box: if it is in Madison, they had to pull a permit which means the Building Inspector had to sign off on the job. Does your Real Estate Condition Report answer "Yes" or "No" to the question regarding whether proper permits were pulled.
Finally, yes, the garage needs to be separated from the living area by a 2-hour fire resistant drywall barrier or yes, it is a defect. So, see the first question: What does your Buyer Agent say?

How bad do you want the house? You are in for some search time and a few hundred dollars for the inspection but...then you have mold, insulation, ventilation, electric/permit and fire hazards to deal with.

Last, but not least, now that the Sellers know they have these issues, they will either have to fix them or disclose them to the next sucker, oops, I mean Buyer. Of course, nobody would ever think otherwise, no Seller would consciously do anything against the rules/ethics/morals. Esp not a Seller who cut corners on a building permit or lived with a fire hazard in their garage. No, not THAT Seller.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 9, 2013
We do have a realtor, we are still waiting for the report to come back from the home inspector. I appreciate your thoughts, but I was hoping for non-realtor opinions. I just wanted to know if anyone else has ran into this issue, with the ice damming and the mold, what was the outcome, did you not push for that to be paid for by the buyers, etc. I don't want to push the owners too much, but I want them to fix the items that they should feel obligated to take care of.

If I was the homeowner, I would definitely take care of the garage/water heater issue, that would be our fault for not taking care of it properly in the first place. I would also have the electrical box fixed, as that goes back to when they had the kitchen remodeled, and should have once again been done properly.

But when it comes to the ice damming and mold, should we ask for them to pay, or should we ask to split it, should we just bite the bullet and take care of it.

Just looking for other homeowner's thoughts.

Thanks
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 9, 2013
A Realtor would need to be your Buyer's Agent in order to help with any negotiations. So unfortunately I cannot give any specific advice to your situation. Hope it work out for you! If it doesn't work out and you are back at square one looking for houses, then I highly encourage you to find a Realtor to work as your Buyer's Agent. You should do that before looking at anymore houses. If you find yourself in that situation, feel free to contact me.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 9, 2013
Hi Janelle,

You can always ask the seller to complete the repairs (in writing) but they don't have to. Talk to your Realtor about requesting repairs. If you ask and the seller says 'no', you can do them yourself (if allowed by your lender) or cancel contract. However, if the seller won't do them think really hard if you want a house with safety issues and mold.

Shanna Rogers
SR Realty
http://www.RealtyBySR.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 9, 2013
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