3 Home Purchase Issues That May Seem Like Deal-Breakers -- But Aren't

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 19, 2021 - First published on March 4, 2021

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A couple receiving keys to a house.

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You shouldn't necessarily walk away if these issues creep up.

There's a reason home buyers are having a hard time purchasing properties -- there's a limited supply of homes on the market. And low mortgage rates mean buyers are moving quickly. As such, if you see a home with potential, it could pay to put in an offer.

Some aspects of a home, however, might seem like deal-breakers. And indeed, you might be right to walk away from certain glaring difficulties. But some problems may not be as bad as they seem. Here are some issues you might be able to walk through:

1. Cosmetic issues

You may come across a home that checks off most of your requirements except for one key thing -- aesthetically speaking, it's just not your taste. Hideous wallpaper or dingy carpet may be a turn off. But you shouldn't walk away from a home with potential because of it. Cosmetic issues are actually quite easy to fix, and they shouldn't cost a lot to tackle. As such, let's say you find a home that's large enough for your family and fits within your budget. Don't write it off just because certain cosmetic features aren't what you were hoping for.

2. A single major repair

A home with a sinking foundation, dying air conditioning system, and busted roof is probably worth running from. Unless, of course, the price is extremely low and accounts for these flaws. But if it's a single large repair, you may want to move forward -- especially if you know exactly what that repair entails and what it will cost to address. Furthermore, that repair could be a bargaining chip when you make an offer. If you know, for example, that you'll need to replace the roof within a year of moving in, you can use that to get a seller to come down on the asking price.

3. A delayed closing

You may encounter a home seller who's willing to accept an offer you make -- provided you're willing to close on that home in three, four, or five months' time. A seller may, for example, list a home now with the hope of closing during the summer so his or her family can move without disrupting the school year. Most real estate closings take 30 to 60 days, so that's a bit of a long timeline. But it doesn't necessarily have to be a problem.

If you're renting a home right now and your lease expires in two months, you can look at getting on a month-to-month lease. This would give you the flexibility to accept a delayed closing. Or, you may be able to find temporary housing and get your seller to agree to cover the cost of putting your stuff in storage until you're able to occupy your new home. There are options to play around with, as long as they don't cause you to rack up debt. If you're not particularly desperate to move quickly, working around your seller's needs could pay off.

There are certain factors that should indeed cause you to walk away from a home. These include an asking price that's out of your budget or extensive repairs that you can't even grasp the scope of. But the above issues don't have to be deal-breakers. Think about how you might work them out before crossing a given property off of your list.

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