We are in the midst of a buyer’s market. That’s not front page news. What is news is that every single transaction is unique and presents a whole set of challenges that every buyer does not anticipate. I kid you not. After hundreds of transactions, I can testify on behalf of hundreds of buyers that there is almost always some surprise or some twist of events that presents its own challenges. In fact, one can almost guarantee that when you purchase a home in Sequim (or anywhere) that there will be some hurdles that either terminate a transaction or come close to terminating the entire transaction. These challenges are not the exception but the rule.
What challenges am I talking about? How about some real life examples from Sequim real estate transactions?
A buyer ordered a home inspection after the parties reached mutual acceptance. The home inspector, who is very sharp, discovered that the electric wall heaters had a manufacturer’s recall about 10 years ago. The sellers fixed the heaters at the time, but now cannot find proof. The buyer wants all the heaters replaced or wants a credit for a thousand dollars. Who could have known this would become a hurdle to be overcome?
A buyer ordered a well inspection, because the well only produced three gallons per minute and there was a cistern (storage tank) and a filtration system. The inspector discovered that the bladder in the storage tank had failed, causing the pump to run every time water was used in the house, including running the faucets and flushing the toilet. This meant the pump, which was 200 feet below the surface was running way too much and would fail prematurely.
A buyer reviews the septic information and learns that the three bedroom home he is buying has a septic system that is only approved for a two bedroom house.
A buyer learns that the driveway runs over the neighbor’s property, and has been used for many years like this. As he and his agent do their due diligence, he learns that there is no recorded easement agreement.
A buyer finds out that the drinking water is on a small community well system consisting of four families. While that is not necessarily a problem, it does mean several important issues need to be checked out. Is there a written agreement clarifying the rights and obligations of all the parties, and does everyone know who is responsible for maintenance and how much the annual assessments are. And what happens if there is an emergency that suddenly costs a lot of money?
A buyer sees a notation in the Form 17 disclosure statement that there may be a boundary line problem with the neighbor. The fence is allegedly two feet on the neighbor’s property and has been for nine years. This raises questions that are not easily answered.
A buyer’s bank’s appraiser notes on his appraisal report that a portion of the deck may be unsafe. The bank then requires that the deck be repaired prior to closing. This expense of several thousand dollars suddenly creates a real dilemma. The seller is absolutely unwilling to pay for this, and the buyer is uncomfortable advancing funds to pay for a deck on a house he does not yet own.
These are just a few of the real life facts I’ve seen in Sequim real estate transactions. Challenges in buying real estate are not the exception but the rule. The moral of the story is, “Have a Sequim real estate agent who knows how to handle whatever hurdles may cross your path.”
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