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Did you buy your house at the peak of the market?

Recently I met with some of my past clients, who purchased their San Jose house close to the height of the market (2005-2007).  In those days it was a hot seller’s market (not unlike many parts of the Silicon Valley real estate landscape today, actually), and buyers routinely purchased their homes “As Is“, meaning no repairs provided by the sellers.  Desperate to get in when prices were appreciating fast, it seemed that most home buyers said “we’ll take care of it after we own it“.

But they forgot.

Actually this didn’t just happen during the peak of the market here in Santa Clara County – there’s always a percentage of consumers who buy As Is to get a better price.  They have good intentions about taking care of the mold, the termites, the roof and whatever else might not be either in good working order or free of infestation.  But once they move in, the “to do list” doesn’t seem to have those items as a high priority, and over time they completely fall through the cracks.

Pull out your old file, find your inspection reports and review them, especially if you are preparing to sell your home

Today I want to encourage you to dig out your old home inspection and pest reports, dust them off, and have a look.  Did you need to address a problem with termites, electrical issues, leaks?  Is there something to take care of with the roof, gutters, dry rot or fungus?  All of those things do not self-correct, but instead grow worse over time. 

If your reports are more than three or five years old, you might consider getting new ones done since in all likelihood there’s more work, possibly in new areas, now. Just make sure you hire a reputable company which won’t gloss over problems, leaving them latent and waiting to cost you more in the end.  Don’t toss your old inspections out – have a look and see if everything that used to be called out is covered.  If you are planning to stay put, is best to correct everything so that your home is kept in good condition for the long haul. If you are planning to sell your home, it’s important to fix it up first if you want to get the most for your sale.  The market is very different from the peak, and having the home improvement work done is more important than ever now.

Are you buying a distressed property (short sale, bank owned, or pre-foreclosure) in Silicon Valley?

If you are purchasing a short sale, pre-foreclosure or bank owned home – let alone one at auction – please be aware that these properties are most often neglected and have more than a normal share of deferred maintenance.

You or your Realtor can look up the sales history for the home.  If it was purchased between 2005 and 2008, there’s a good chance that it was sold As Is and that if any repairs were needed, they weren’t done.

With pre-foreclosures or short sales, sometimes the sellers are well organized and will still have their old reports.  The agent may not be aware that these are available, but they can provide at least some information since pre-sale inspections are usually not provided with distressed sales.


For more reading on this topic:

How often should you get a termite inspection?

Would you recognize signs of subterranean termites if you saw them?

Watch for Dampwood Termites in Silicon Valley!