Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

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jks1985
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Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by jks1985 » Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:51 am

About to close on a "new" house in a VHCOL area. It's not technically new. It was a tear down to the basement/foundation and rebuilt on top of that. 3000 square foot house.

I just had the home inspection and the inspector found some things. Not sure how major or minor these issues are (as this is my first house purchase). The inspector told me there was nothing major. My agent said everything looked good, too (but he has financial incentive to close). I'll be asking my lawyer for his advice as well.

Issues from inspection:
  • Bay window on the first floor has settled and doesn't seal properly
  • In the garage, the main beam has been cut to run the automatic door tack through (which compromises structural integrity). Metal support under the main beam has rotted and needs replacing.
  • Poor drainage in the backyard. Needs to be re-graded.
  • Mortar is loose at sections of the retaining wall along the driveway.
  • Water heater nearing the end of life and will need to be replaced within 3 years.
  • Rear door leading to backyard needs adjustment to close properly.
  • No Flashing added to the deck. Needs to be added.
We are set to close towards the end of December.

Anything I should demand fixing before I move in? Should I negotiate a lower price?

runner3081
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by runner3081 » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:11 am

Honestly, I would demand that the concessions are made to allow YOU to fix them all (assuming you get bids from contractors, etc - don't let seller repair). Use all of them as a negotiation ploy. However, this is what I would really be thinking:

I would be more worried about these items:
-In the garage, the main beam has been cut to run the automatic door tack through (which compromises structural integrity). Metal support under the main beam has rotted and needs replacing.
-No Flashing added to the deck. Needs to be added.

Not worried too much about these:
-Bay window on the first floor has settled and doesn't seal properly
-Mortar is loose at sections of the retaining wall along the driveway.
-Water heater nearing the end of life and will need to be replaced within 3 years.
-Rear door leading to backyard needs adjustment to close properly.

MAYBE (depending on how bad it really is, does it flood every rain?)
Poor drainage in the backyard. Needs to be re-graded.
Last edited by runner3081 on Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

Nowizard
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by Nowizard » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:13 am

The number of issues is not substantial based on numerous, past home purchases and sales. The three that grab my attention are the hot water heater, grading of the yard and the garage door. The others are simple and easily fixed. Ask them to do that. Grading of the yard is potentially significant depending on the water issue. I would check with neighbors to see if there have been problems. You may even want to get an engineer's assessment to determine whether it is an issue. If it is a historical problem, the owner should have declared it on the disclosure form. If the garage door issue is "structural," it should definitely be fixed. Whether the hot water heater is leaking or not is key. If it is functioning properly, it is unlikely that it needs replacing under typical selling conditions. The simplest approach is to ask all things be done with the possible exception of the hot water heater. Inspectors always find things, typically with doors and windows that do not properly close or lock.

Tim

stan1
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by stan1 » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:14 am

The beam and the drainage are the two that would most concern me.

Re: drainage. It's easy to say "regrade" but can it actually be regraded? Water flows down hill. There has to be a place for the water to go that's lower than the foundation. The water should move off the property to the street, not into your neighbors yard. How much landscaping would have to be removed to do so if it is possible? This could be a show stopper to me if its a major problem (such as potential to flood a basement). This could be a few hundred dollars to fix or tens of thousands to sub-optimally work around in a way that would be a hassle for as long as you own the house. You might be able to assess this yourself just by eyeballing the slope of the surrounding land. Key thing is getting the water to flow downhill to the front of the yard. Off your property and not onto your neighbors property.

Re: beam. I think you'd want a structural engineer to give you an opinion and estimate to best resolve prior to close and then ask for that amount back. Maybe the engineer would tell you don't buy the house, maybe he'll say it just needs a couple hundred dollars of work. Need the expert to advise you not an inspector, real estate agent, or attorney.

dbr
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by dbr » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:33 am

It seems to me regrading the back yard is the one potential show stopper that needs to be investigated. As someone else points out you need to understand how much of a water problem there is and where the water is to go. A history of wet basement should be investigated. Is this a need for french drains or maybe even something as simple as redoing your drain gutters?

I'm surprised no one suggested more investigation of settling on the first floor. This could indeed be minor and of no concern, but I would like to have more information myself.

Obviously the garage beam needs to be fixed but that wouldn't be difficult, presumably.

I am of the school of being the one to get the repairs done, perhaps with a concession on price.

bob60014
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by bob60014 » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:34 am

Is this garage attached or detached?

HomeStretch
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by HomeStretch » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:43 am

+1 on garage and drainage.

researcher
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by researcher » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:54 am

jks1985 wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:51 am
Anything I should demand fixing before I move in? Should I negotiate a lower price?
You should NEVER have the seller fix items, as their priorities for such repairs are the complete opposite of yours.

They want the repairs to be made as cheaply and quickly as possible, without any regard to quality, efficacy or long-term performance.
Instead, they are looking for 'lipstick on a pig.'

If repairs need to be made, you should negotiate a lower price and have the work done yourself.

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Nate79
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by Nate79 » Sun Nov 24, 2019 2:45 pm

Whether or not the seller cares what you think about the repairs or will at all negotiate depends on the strength of the local market, other offers they may have had, and how fair they priced the home in the first place. Compare the price you agreed to similar homes taking into account all homes need some upkeep and repairs.

dbr
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by dbr » Sun Nov 24, 2019 2:52 pm

Nate79 wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 2:45 pm
Whether or not the seller cares what you think about the repairs or will at all negotiate depends on the strength of the local market, other offers they may have had, and how fair they priced the home in the first place. Compare the price you agreed to similar homes taking into account all homes need some upkeep and repairs.
Exactly. It isn't realistic expect the seller to just lower the price because you want things repaired. It is realistic to expect the seller to lower the price if all the other potential buyers agree with you that the price should be lowered by refusing to buy until it is.

criticalmass
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by criticalmass » Sun Nov 24, 2019 2:58 pm

jks1985 wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:51 am
About to close on a "new" house in a VHCOL area. It's not technically new. It was a tear down to the basement/foundation and rebuilt on top of that. 3000 square foot house.

I just had the home inspection and the inspector found some things. Not sure how major or minor these issues are (as this is my first house purchase). The inspector told me there was nothing major. My agent said everything looked good, too (but he has financial incentive to close). I'll be asking my lawyer for his advice as well.

Issues from inspection:
  • Bay window on the first floor has settled and doesn't seal properly
  • In the garage, the main beam has been cut to run the automatic door tack through (which compromises structural integrity). Metal support under the main beam has rotted and needs replacing.
  • Poor drainage in the backyard. Needs to be re-graded.
  • Mortar is loose at sections of the retaining wall along the driveway.
  • Water heater nearing the end of life and will need to be replaced within 3 years.
  • Rear door leading to backyard needs adjustment to close properly.
  • No Flashing added to the deck. Needs to be added.
We are set to close towards the end of December.

Anything I should demand fixing before I move in? Should I negotiate a lower price?
How do you know the water heater is "nearing the end of life and will need to be replaced within 3 years?" That's a strange number. Did you check the anode rod and found it is completely gone? (If so, it should be replaced before 3 years).

In general, you use an pre-sale inspection for 2 reasons:
  • Decide if the house has too many issues to continue the purchase.
  • Negotiate how much the seller is going to reduce the sale price for you to continue the purchase if there are issues found.
You really don't want the seller to be "fixing" anything or paying their contractors to fix everything. E.g. A buyer complained about missing drywall over a garage door, because that is something the inspector reported to them. So the seller installed dry wall and fixed the hole, using a piece that had been lying around the garage floor, exposed to water, mold, etc. Met the requirements, but wouldn't the buyer want to fix it himself using a new piece of wall board instead? A seller will also hire the lowest bid workers to get the sale across the finish line. The buyer really wants to do the hiring and have a warranty with a reputable contractor for anything that needs repair.

Also, a home inspector WILL find something wrong to report to the party that hired them. Their list may or may not be the worst things wrong. I've always marveled at what home inspectors make a big deal about while ignoring things like foundation cracks, bent copper pipes, etc.

stan1
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by stan1 » Sun Nov 24, 2019 3:06 pm

Nate79 wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 2:45 pm
Whether or not the seller cares what you think about the repairs or will at all negotiate depends on the strength of the local market, other offers they may have had, and how fair they priced the home in the first place. Compare the price you agreed to similar homes taking into account all homes need some upkeep and repairs.
First caveat is everything can be local. What works in SF Bay Area or NYC might be different than LA or DC. It might vary by neighborhood too. OP does not seem to be in a situation where he had to waive the inspection contingency as part of their offer. That's good for him.

All of that is fair but there's a cost to the seller to have the buyer exercise a contingency clause and put the property back on the market. Maybe there already is another buyer waiting in the wings as a contingency but maybe not. It would take another 30 days minimum, maybe much longer. Mortgage, property tax, and insurance still have to be paid. The house has to be shown to buyers which can be a hassle for the seller. Something in a vacant house could break (pipes, leaks). There's a risk the next accepted offer will be lower. The newly discovered defects should be disclosed to the next buyer who will also want them fixed or compensated. Seller often wants to close the deal and move on. Buyer has some leverage in this situation. Fair to use it. A small percentage of sellers will tell buyer to pound sand if buyer asks for compensation to remove contingencies. Most will renegotiate within reason to close the deal.

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galawdawg
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by galawdawg » Sun Nov 24, 2019 5:31 pm

jks1985 wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:51 am
About to close on a "new" house in a VHCOL area. It's not technically new. It was a tear down to the basement/foundation and rebuilt on top of that. 3000 square foot house.

I just had the home inspection and the inspector found some things. Not sure how major or minor these issues are (as this is my first house purchase). The inspector told me there was nothing major. My agent said everything looked good, too (but he has financial incentive to close). I'll be asking my lawyer for his advice as well.

Issues from inspection:
  • Bay window on the first floor has settled and doesn't seal properly
  • In the garage, the main beam has been cut to run the automatic door tack through (which compromises structural integrity). Metal support under the main beam has rotted and needs replacing.
  • Poor drainage in the backyard. Needs to be re-graded.
  • Mortar is loose at sections of the retaining wall along the driveway.
  • Water heater nearing the end of life and will need to be replaced within 3 years.
  • Rear door leading to backyard needs adjustment to close properly.
  • No Flashing added to the deck. Needs to be added.
We are set to close towards the end of December.

Anything I should demand fixing before I move in? Should I negotiate a lower price?
How "new" is this tear-down/rebuild considering a metal support has "rotted" and the water heater is nearing the end of its life? Neither of those statements are consistent with a "new" or even "newish" house.

Here are a few thoughts:

1. The cutting (or notching) of the main beam in the garage is potentially a very significant issue. You need to have a structural engineer look at the issue and provide a written report including recommendations for correcting the cut/notched beam and the support post. The extent of how badly this has compromised the structural integrity of the garage (and any roofing and structure above it) will depend on where the beam is cut, how much the beam has been cut, and whether other steps were taken to compensate for the reduced ability to handle the structural load (such as bolted steel reinforcement plates, etc). I'd recommend that in addition to requiring that this issue be corrected by whatever reinforcement is recommended by the engineer that you also have the existing garage door opener and track removed and have a jackshaft garage door opener installed. I'd suggest you require the seller contract with a licensed professional to have all of this work done and that it be inspected and approved by your structural engineer prior to closing.

2. Are there water infiltration issues as a result of the grading in the back yard? How extensive is the issue? The inspection comments can mean anything from a DIY or landscaper project where shovels and garden rakes can be used to make sure the ground slopes away from the house all the way to serious flooding with water infiltration into structure whenever it rains which may require heavy equipment, drains and culverts/swales and thousands in work to correct.

3. Did the inspector look at all of the joists and beams in the basement to ensure that none of those were improperly cut or notched during the rebuild? The issues with the bay window and rear door may be "normal" settling or if other beams or joists were cut/notched, you could have bowing or other structural issues. If you aren't certain how thoroughly this was checked during the inspection, I'd suggest you have the structural engineer look at that as well.

Those are the three issues I see that you absolutely should get more information on before making any decisions. They could be fairly minor issues that will cost $5,000 to correct or they could be much more significant.

Good luck!

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jks1985
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by jks1985 » Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:05 pm

bob60014 wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:34 am
Is this garage attached or detached?
The garage is attached.

Topic Author
jks1985
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by jks1985 » Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:09 pm

stan1 wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:14 am
The beam and the drainage are the two that would most concern me.

Re: drainage. It's easy to say "regrade" but can it actually be regraded? Water flows down hill. There has to be a place for the water to go that's lower than the foundation. The water should move off the property to the street, not into your neighbors yard. How much landscaping would have to be removed to do so if it is possible? This could be a show stopper to me if its a major problem (such as potential to flood a basement). This could be a few hundred dollars to fix or tens of thousands to sub-optimally work around in a way that would be a hassle for as long as you own the house. You might be able to assess this yourself just by eyeballing the slope of the surrounding land. Key thing is getting the water to flow downhill to the front of the yard. Off your property and not onto your neighbors property.
The house is built on a hill. It's just one small part of the backyard that the inspector pointed out. He said if he had a shovel, he could fix it in a couple hours. Don't want to take his word for it, but to me, it looked like an easy fix.

mbnc
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by mbnc » Mon Nov 25, 2019 3:41 pm

Agree with the others. We bought a house that had been under contract, had some repairs done, then the deal fell through. We wound up paying our painter to tear out the "fixed" trim from the previous contract and redo it because of how cheaply and poorly the seller's contractor had performed the work. Always hire your own people.

That being said, here are my thoughts on the issues.

Bay window on the first floor has settled and doesn't seal properly
Barring any continued settling (foundation issues), this isn't a big deal. You can probably fix this yourself if you're comfortable working with windows, but if you hire it out, it shouldn't cost much.

In the garage, the main beam has been cut to run the automatic door tack through (which compromises structural integrity). Metal support under the main beam has rotted and needs replacing.
Agree with the suggestions to find an engineer to help you out on this. This is the one that concerns me the most. Pictures may help you decide whether it's something to evaluate before or after closing. This shouldn't be a five-figure repair, but the work needed depends on how deeply it was cut, what they did to mitigate it, and how much load it's bearing. Worst case is you have to hire somebody to come in, temporarily support the joists above, and replace the beam.

Poor drainage in the backyard. Needs to be re-graded.
From your last reply, this sounds like a small area that stays muddy after the rain, but isn't a threat to the house. If that's the case, a load of topsoil from your local mulch yard and some grass seed should get the job done. You could also consider a French drain if you need to divert the water somewhere. Either way, you're not looking at a whole lot of money unless you hire it out. I wouldn't argue about it.

Mortar is loose at sections of the retaining wall along the driveway.
Doesn't sound urgent, but does need to be addressed at some point. The cost of this will obviously depend on the length and height of the wall. Get quotes from 2 or 3 masons on this and bargain with the seller on a concession.

Water heater nearing the end of life and will need to be replaced within 3 years.
It happens. Not worth fighting about. Once you move in, see if you can replace the anode rod (probably not). If not, just be prepared for it to fail. They all do eventually.

Rear door leading to backyard needs adjustment to close properly.
This usually isn't a big deal. If a lot of doors are catching on the frame, that could be an indicator of settling issues. But if this is the only one, chances are it's something benign in nature - door has warped, weatherstripping is too thick, etc.

No Flashing added to the deck. Needs to be added.
Putting up flashing is the easy part; that alone wouldn't scare me. The real issue is whether there's any water intrusion which would cause the house's framing members behind the deck to rot. If you can get behind the ledger board (the deck joist that butts up against the house), try and prod around back there with a screwdriver to check for rot. Are the bay window, back door, and deck all along the same exterior wall? If so, I'd be more concerned about water intrusion. If not, and there are no other issues on that wall, it's probably fine.

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by jabberwockOG » Mon Nov 25, 2019 4:23 pm

Ask th3 seller to correct all the inspection items and see how they respond.


I’d be very particular about two of the faults found -
The big gluelam beams are not designed to be cut. The notched / cut beam could be a very big and expensive problem. Hire an engineer to inspect and ask seller to correct and then have it reinspected.

No flashing between house and deck means it was built by an a amateur and wasn’t inspected to code, also means that water will leak in behind the siding or veneer material face of the house and deck ledger and cause potentially extensive water damage and rot. I’d personally insist that this be corrected and then reinspected.

Jags4186
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Nov 25, 2019 4:30 pm

I would just comment that I have no idea why a seller would do anything about a water heater with 3 years of life left.

As someone who lives in a house with lots of door issues, you’d be shocked how expensive it is to get misaligned doors to work properly.

Barefoot
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by Barefoot » Fri Nov 29, 2019 11:19 am

When I bought my house, the inspector gave me that "water heater near the end of its life" line.

23 years later, that same water heater it chugging along same as it always has.

I have drained it a few times.

wstrdg
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by wstrdg » Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:54 pm

Re: the garage beam -- are you in an earthquake zone? And I agree with other posts that this could be a more significant problem than your home inspector indicates. Get a second opinion from an expert.

Re: the water heater -- where is it located? If it's upstairs, it's going to be very messy when it finally leaks. If it's in the garage, maybe not so much of a mess.

Freetime76
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by Freetime76 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:46 pm

I wonder what the OP decided?

We would ask for a concession, about the cost of repairs, unless the market is crazy-hot. If you’re actually doing an inspection, it’s not.
Probably would ask for funds for the flashing repair and garage beam only, since these might be safety or structural.
- Beam is the wild-card, depending on what the beam actually supports (I.e an upstairs apartment? Only holds the garage door weight? What?). Is there deflection between the two sides of the beam yet? It could be as simple as your engineer bolting a steel C-channel on to reinforce...guessing 8-) not an engineer in that field.
- Hot water heater - not relevant if isn’t is working and not leaking. Ours was from the 1970s and had the heating element replaced. It lasted us 5 years. My moms was new and had to be repaire and later repaired within the same 5 years.

Were you there for the inspection? Was the inspector a referral from your agent? It means more if you were there and satisfied.
[I ask after seeing an inspection report for a house that had the usual boring list of “finds” with the usual legal disclaimers copy/pasted into the document. Zero mention of the nest of copper pipes that were repaired with cut innertube rubber and steel clamps in numerous places, all fully visible from the basement if you only look up. House was built in a year of bad quality copper pipes...in hindsight anyway]

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Watty
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by Watty » Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:09 pm

jks1985 wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:51 am
About to close on a "new" house in a VHCOL area. It's not technically new. It was a tear down to the basement/foundation and rebuilt on top of that. 3000 square foot house.
......
Water heater nearing the end of life and will need to be replaced within 3 years.
The cut beam in the garage is potentially serious and needs to be taken care of but the water heater is perplexing and a real red flag to me that something "funny" is going on and you need to look into that.

Does that mean that they put an old water heater into a house that they were rebuilding from the foundation up?

There should be a label or metal tag on the water heater(and other appliances) that would have the manufacture date on it.

Voltaire2.0
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Re: Just had home inspection done. What should I get fixed before closing?

Post by Voltaire2.0 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:31 pm

[*]Bay window on the first floor has settled and doesn't seal properly
This could be a problem. I always open and close every window in a house before I purchase. I would mandate that this be fixed.

[*]In the garage, the main beam has been cut to run the automatic door tack through (which compromises structural integrity). Metal support under the main beam has rotted and needs replacing.
Not sure how a metal support would be rotting. If it is a wood support and if that support is weight bearing then it could be a big problem. If it only supports the garage door track then not so much. If it really is a metal brace/patch and it is rusting or the beam is rotting, then the whole thing sounds mickey-mouse.

[*]Poor drainage in the backyard. Needs to be re-graded.
As noted above, depends on the size and location.

[*]Mortar is loose at sections of the retaining wall along the driveway.
Repointing mortar could be a DIY job, if it's not too large.

[*]Water heater nearing the end of life and will need to be replaced within 3 years.
I don't understand this one. If it was a recent teardown to the basement/foundation did they leave the old water heater there and build around it? Also sounds mickey-mouse. I replaced a simple standing pilot water heater and the job cost $1,300. Probably can't get the seller to pay for replacing it at this point, so budget for it in the future.

[*]Rear door leading to backyard needs adjustment to close properly.
See comment on bay window above.

[*]No Flashing added to the deck. Needs to be added.
Depends on when the deck was built. If it's been there for10 years without flashing then a big problem may be brewing. If the deck is new, then it's a simpler job.

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