Should I Buy the House I am Leasing?
LESLIE: Carl in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
CARL: We’re leasing a house and we’ve been in the house now for almost three years and getting to the point of trying to decide should this be the house we buy or should we be looking elsewhere. And the owner has indicated that he’d be interested in selling. But one of the nice things about leasing a house is you find out about all of its good things and all of its not-so-good things.
TOM: Yeah, you get to kick the tires.
CARL: Yeah. And the house was built in the mid-90s and so, you know, it’s got a few of the things that a house that age would have. But one of the things that concerned us is that we noticed that in the master bath, it’s got tile on the floor. And when you start walking on the floor, you can almost hear the tile crunching underneath your feet.
CARL: The tile doesn’t actually move but you also feel a rise, sort of, at certain spots.
TOM: Yeah. Sounds loose? Well, look, I don’t think that’s unusual with vinyl tile. It’s vinyl tile. Is that what you said?
CARL: It’s ceramic tile.
TOM: Oh, it’s ceramic tile. Well, OK, first of all, I don’t feel it’s all that unusual with ceramic tile. It may not have been put down properly. I don’t think it necessarily means that the house is moving; it probably points more accurately to a defect in the installation itself.
But what you should absolutely do, before you consider going further on this house, is have a professional home inspector look at it. Because a home inspection is done consistent with the standards of practice at the American Society of Home Inspectors, who is going to look at those structural issues, look at the mechanical issues and trust me, find things that even living in that house, that you are completely unaware of.
TOM: And that’s the best way to kind of know what you’re getting into and be able to negotiate from a position of strength and knowledge.
CARL: Sure, sure. Alright. Thank you. We’ll find one; we happen to know a few in town here and we’ll give the guy a call.
TOM: Good luck, Carl. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.