I bought a fixer upper a few years back and on the first day I showed up after closing I realized I was missing some important information. Information – had I received from the seller – that may have influenced my purchase price (think lower offer) or could have helped my repair estimations/budget.
Even though I had the house inspected, I was not present during the inspection. Turns out water meters were installed unconventionally and were located quite a ways from the property. I wasted time looking for it and I also had to pay a plumber to bring up to code or better standards.
I was reading an article by Matt Christensen, that made me want to share these two important questions I think rehab investors or aspiring fix & flip investors should ask every seller.
Any past problems with the house that you've fixed/replaced?
“True, sellers are often required to disclose most existing problems or issues related to the home. But what about past problems that have since been repaired?
“Here in Georgia, anything significant that has happened—whether it was repaired or replaced—needs to be disclosed in the seller’s statement,” says Golden. However, it varies by state and sellers aren't always required to fess up.
As a buyer, Golden suggests saying, “I’ve read the disclosure statement. Is there anything else that has happened or that you’ve done that would be helpful to know?” Use the disclosure as a jumping-off point to learn about what’s not listed.
Where are the water shut-off valve, sump pump, circuit box, and more?
“Hopefully, the home inspector will locate all of these things and point them out to the new buyer as part of educating them about their new house,” says Golden. “But not all inspectors do that, so these are important safety questions.”
Ask the seller to show you not only the location of these valves, switches, and pumps, but also how they work. If you’re moving into an older home, chances are that many of the utility features will be unique in their operations, so rather than fumble around blindly, it's a no-brainer to lean on the seller.”