I wanted to run you guys through the results of a home inspection that has just been completed, as I'm not really sure how to proceed or who to contact. This would be my first investment property purchased, and I would be living in the home as a house hack for the 1st year. Appreciate the time anyone takes in reading over this and providing input.
This particular property resides in northern NJ, as I need to move into this area. I work primarily in North NJ as well as Brooklyn and Queens - sometimes Manhattan, sometimes Long Island (I'm a field rep). As some of you are aware, many north NJ multi-families were built in the 1920s-40s, so there is always some work required. This particular house is being sold by a flipper, so it was purchased 2 years ago and was renovated pretty well. New roof, new interior, new water heaters, etc. Looks great.
The results of my home inspection contained the following concerns:
- There is evidence of water leakage and damage throughout the basement. The inspector came to the conclusion that this is most likely due to the perimeter of the home being sloped in. For example, you can see from the basement windows that the level of the landscape is another 6in-foot higher than the dirt at the window, so the landscape slopes inward, leading to water flowing towards the house at all times. The inspector stated this could most likely get resolved just by adding a layer of dirt around the house for a few hundred bucks. This would level out the land. He mentioned most excavating or construction (are these typically the entities for this?) companies would look at this and say, "Get a French Drain," but this is manipulative since this process costs $10k+ and it is not necessary. Thoughts on this statement?
- There is evidence of past termite damage to the floorboards in the basement ceiling. However, the inspector mentioned he did notice poison injection sites on the outside of the house, so he assumes this was treated. He recommended getting the necessary paperwork to ensure this is the case. Who should I contact to verify this? The seller/seller's realtor? If this was done before his/her occupancy, where can I obtain proof of this? Could an exterminator verify this by doing a consultation?
- There are signs of mold. The inspector stated he guarantees 100% that a swab test will come up positive. I gave him the extra $300 to do so (how's that price sound?). Once this occurs, he ensures the current seller now has this documented, and must disclose this to anyone purchasing in the future. So, if he refuses to get this treated (I'm not), he's kind of screwed in the future, correct?
- There is clear evidence of oil tanks previously being present. This is not necessarily a concern, however, the inspector suggests obtaining an "OPRA" form from the city to try and find paperwork of an underground oil tank being removed. If not, he stated that he could do a "sweep" for $250 that would identify if there is an underground tank with contaminated soil. If so, he states that this must be corrected or else it must be disclosed to every potential buyer. Does anyone know where I can find out more about this or get documentation of it being removed?
- Lastly, the attic was not insulated. This is not a room I think anyone would be interested in using - maybe for storage. The worry here is that it smells of urine, or something alike, leading me to believe there could be a rodent issue in the attic. How would you combat this?
@Vincent Villani why do the Opra instead of a tank sweep?
I looked at 20 or so houses when I lived in the NE and I'd dare say every one of them had some mold. I think the real question is , how much? To get a house with zero mold it may need to be almost new.
I doubt you will be able to verify anything about peioe termite treatment, and dont know as it would be very relevant. What I would do is try to estimate how much damage there might be.
Hi @Vincent Villani . You should contact your attorney and have them contact the sellers attorney in order to discuss renegotiation or remediation of the issues. If the tanks were removed and properly remediated there should be a No Further Action (NFA) letter from the state. I think this should show up in the OPRA request but you should confirm with your attorney. Otherwise you should definitely have a tank testing company do an oil tank sweep at the very least. I just used one this week and they found a tank. If you need a recommendation for a tank testing company in Northern NJ I can pass one along.
1.) regarding the grading. The recommendation of the inspector "could" work. It also could not work. I agree that bringing in a professional they will most likely recommend a high cost perimeter drain system, it's what they do. Keep in mind, the inspector stating (it is not necessary) holds zero weight if you have the grading done on his recommendation, and it still leaks. You can't "go after" him if there are future issues. Is the basement finished? Is the water evidence old or active/current? I've sold flips with old water leak signs, however it was simply because I didn't clean or paint the stained area and the leak wasn't active.
2.) I would have this addressed by the seller. If he renovated the home and had the work done he will or should have documents. If it was before his work, you can request he bring in a company to review. He can agree or disagree but I would want to put it back on him.
3.) What signs of mold? I have had small sections of mold show up on two reports. One in an attic that a company remediate for under $1000, one in a basement behind a door on about a 1' x 1' square on the back side of some drywall. They allowed me to bleach the space as it was small.
4.) What is the clear evidence? If this were a concern I would want a further test done (even if it was on my dime). Not sure if the seller had to disclose, I imagine so, but I would be most concerned with me not being stuck with it, and not so much the future honesty of the seller.
5.) You can request the insulation be added. Again he may not agree, but when I flip I have almost 100% given to every inspection request as it is usually small dollars when looking at the whole scope, and I like to send my product out as best as I can. The urine smell, it is possible there were previous animals there. I had an attic that had animals in it when I bought the place. They were removed, their entry was blocked but there was some faint urine smell left. I did my best to cure it (clean, remove and replace insulation needed) but without removing a ton of wood I doubt I could have completely removed the smell in the short time before closing.
Good luck with the issues!