Outbuildings and Old Garages Might Be in FHA Repair Requirements

drawbacks to home buying

A prime example of an FHA repair requirement

I’ve got a real pickle coming up soon with a new listing in Sacramento because it’s likely to sell to a buyer obtaining an FHA loan. Why is that a pickle, you might wonder? Well, back when cash investors were quickly snapping up every home that came on the market, real estate agents didn’t much worry about FHA repair requirements, but that’s not the case anymore. FHA loans are a big deal now because the investors have pretty much left the market.

The investors who remain won’t pay market value. They hit prices hard. I’ve yet to see an offer lately from an investor at or above the list price. They are all trying to grind. It makes you want to say whoa, thanks for driving up the prices, now stop trying to drive them down. Most sellers would rather sell a home to an owner occupant anyway. They don’t want to change the demographics of their neighborhood by moving in tenants. They want a first-time home buyer to purchase their home and love it as much as they did. Homes are very emotional vehicles.

Selling to a first-time home buyer means dealing with FHA (or VA) appraisers and being on the lookout for the types of items that could cause FHA repair requirements noted on the appraisal as a condition to fund the loan. Sure, FHA has guidelines for its repair requirements, but it’s also largely left to the appraiser, and not every appraiser shares the same opinion nor interpretation of the guidelines. An item one appraiser will note, another might miss or overlook or just not care about. It can be the luck of the draw.

The time to discover whether a repair is called out is not a few days before closing, though. It’s much better to be proactive and take care of this stuff beforehand. One item I am seeing pop up more often on repair requirements is an old outbuilding. That old storage shed or garage in the back yard that nobody uses and is rotting in the sun? Huge problem today. It most likely needs to be demolished and removed.

While meeting with sellers in Sacramento yesterday, I walked the property line with them. They had talked with several other agents and discussed whether the fences needed repair as a few boards were old. Turns out the other real estate agents were so busy staring at the fences that not one had pointed out the dilapidated garage. This big white elephant sitting in front of their faces. This is a structure that several decades ago was accessed by a long driveway, which no longer exists. The driveway does not exist because the lot was split. Today, the new garage is attached to the home.

This means not only is there no access to this old garage, but a person can’t so much as squeeze a small bulldozer into the yard, There is no way to get into the back yard, even by removing a fence. And the building has to go. Hello sledgehammer and wheelbarrow. Yet, another reason why working with an experienced Sacramento real estate agent is a huge benefit to a sellers.

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