We are first time homebuyers in escrow and after the termite inspection there are some termite problems but a

Asked by Stephanie, Reseda, CA Sat Aug 8, 2009

lot of weather damage about $1800 in all. Is this a red flag? Is it true that if they replace all damaged areas they don't need to repaint it. There are missing tiles in bathroom shower stall and they refuse to replace or fix them. Will missing tiles prevent us from getting homeowners insurance? It was listed in home inspection and termite report. There are also problems with Jack flashings that need to be sealed and one was incorrectly installed. Sellers refused to fix them. Is this something that is going to cost a lot? Would like to hear your professinal opinion about these things and whether or not we should stay in escrow. We have until Monday to decide.

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Jeri Creson, Agent, Studio City, CA
Wed Mar 17, 2010
The scope of findings that you have described are very typical. Remember that when buying a resale home you're not getting a brand new home with new construction in a near perfect condition. In Reseda, chances are the home you're purchasing is 1940's-1960's...right?

In Los Angeles, and $1800 termite report sounds just about right - it's actually pretty rare to find a report with fewer findings. And it's also common for termite companies to exclude painting the areas they fix. This is because, if they attempted to match paint, they would be looking at liability and customer service issues and would have a never ending line of people not being pleased with a perfect result.

A few tiles are simple to patch if you can match them, and should not cost more that $100 or so. And either a handyman or a tile contractor can do the job. Most buyers of resale homes expect to do a handful of repairs or fix ups, especially in this market where foreclosures and short sales are the norm. Banks don't generally agree to many repairs, and sellers with no money don't generally either. A reasonable expectation for a buyer in this market is that at least a little painting and patching will have to be done after close of escrow.

In addition to being a Realtor for over 24 years, I was also a general contractor for 15 years, and consulted for home inspection companies for another 5 years, so please understand when I say this, that it comes from a deep level of experience: Home inspections are not meant to be a punch list of repairs to hand to the seller so that they provide you with a perfect home. And furthermore, it's important to realize that items called out on an inspection are the opinion of one particular inspector. Sometimes there is great disagreement amongst them on what is "proper" installation or not. The key question is: Is it functioning and serving it's purpose. We're looking for function, safety and serviceability in a home. Your best bet is to get a few estimates from either contractors - or in the case of minor problems that you've noted, handymen, so you can get an accurate scope of work and cost before deciding.

Good luck - and please don't let a few simple items ruin your love of your new home!
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