A survey of nearly 500 recent home sellers found that 94% admit they haven’t revealed at least one flaw in their home to their buyers.
DEAR DAVID: We made an offer to purchase a home and made it conditional on obtaining a satisfactory report from a professional home inspector. The sellers made a written counter-offer accepting our offer price but rejecting our request for inspection. Are we legally obligated to complete the transaction because the sellers accepted our offer at full price, or can we cancel the transaction and recover our deposit because the sellers refused the inspection request?
ANSWER: Real estate laws in all 50 states state that a seller who makes a written counter-offer automatically rejects the buyer’s earlier proposal. Thus, you have no legal obligation to complete the transaction and can now demand that the sellers return your deposit to you.
The fact that the sellers do not want the property to be inspected raises a big alarm. Maybe they’re hiding flaws in their home that they don’t want you to know about, or they’re just afraid that the inspector will discover unknown problems that they might have to disclose to a future buyer and thus lower their asking price.
Homebuyers who don’t insist on getting an inspection before closing a sale should rely heavily on seller disclosures to be made aware of any potential issues with the property.
Yet a new survey by home warranty provider Cinch Home Services has found that more than 90% of buyers say they found at least one problem with their home after the deal closed that the seller didn’t disclose. And – perhaps more alarmingly – 94% of sellers admit to selling their home without disclosing a problem they were aware of.
The results were based on feedback from approximately 500 buyers and 500 other sellers. The most common problems buyers discovered after closing were with their home’s electrical system, followed by problems with appliances and plumbing in their new home.
REAL ESTATE INFO: A typical residential warranty policy provides for the repair or replacement of most appliances, electrical and heating systems, water heater and a handful of other items that could fail or wear out in the living room. year after the new buyer moves in. -the annual cost ranges from $300 to $600, according to home improvement site thisoldhouse.com.
DEAR DAVID: We want to buy our first home, so we were “pre-approved” for a mortgage in June. Now we have decided to postpone our plans until later this year or even until 2023, after our local housing market has stabilized. Will the pre-approval we no longer need hurt our credit score?
ANSWER: Yes but not much.
When you requested pre-approval for the loan, the bank made a “hard” request for your credit history rather than a “soft” request that you could make to personally check your own credit report.
Firm inquiries from a bank or other lender are reported to the nation’s largest credit bureaus. The soft requests you make are not.
The earnest request the lender made will stay on your file for about two years and will likely lower your credit score by five points or less, a spokesperson for credit scoring giant Fair Isaac Corp said. (www.fico.com). But, your score will bounce back sooner and get even stronger if you keep paying your monthly bills on time.
DEAR DAVID: My mother passed away last year and my father passed away two months ago. They left behind a house with a fully paid off mortgage and a few other assets. The problem is that we never discussed their wishes for their estate because it made us uncomfortable, and I don’t even know if they had a written will. How do I know what will happen to their home, bank account, etc.? ?
ANSWER: My condolences.
If your parents had made a will, their executor (probably a lawyer) would have had to make a serious effort to find you. Whether or not he did, the bottom line is that you were not contacted even though you have a legal right to know what is going on with their home and other property.
To find your parents’ executor or attorney, start by talking to your relatives, their close friends and neighbors. Your parents’ bank, accountant or financial advisor may also be able to help. Their doctors and even the funeral home that handled the funeral arrangements might also have helpful information.
Also check with the probate court for the county where your parents lived. If a will or other legal document has been filed, the documents are now in the public domain and you have the right to obtain copies.
If none of these efforts prove successful, you may need to hire a private investigator or attorney.
Good luck in your search. I hope your letter will encourage others to talk about their last wishes with loved ones, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable those conversations may be.
Brochure, “Straight Talk About Living Trusts,” explains how low- and middle-income homeowners can now enjoy the same benefits that setting up an inexpensive trust once provided only wealthier families. For a copy, send $4 and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to D. Myers/Trust, PO Box 4405, Culver City, CA 90231-4405. Net proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross.