Question about buying a house

My husband and I are looking at houses. There was one I hoped to see, but the sign was up for a day, then was down before we got to town to look at it and it wasnt listed with anyone.

We looked at some others and made an offer on a house, which was accepted. Some things came up during the inspection that worried us, so we are in negotiations to see what the seller will do. If she wants to come down or repair some things, that would be great.

Now the house we wanted to see has the sign back up. I would like to see it, but wonder if I need to wait until we make a final decision on the first house, if that makes sense. What is standard practice? Am I overthinking this? I don’t buy houses or move often, and I don’t want to be, well, a dick about it.

Are you not going through a realtor?

The status of your offer depends on the state you’re in. IANAL, but because the house didn’t pass inspection, you should be able to withdraw the offer. If you’re not going through a realtor, get one ASAP–they’re the best qualified to answer these questions.

Yes, I am working with a realtor. And we can withdraw, but we just got an attorney there today and filled him in. He is calling the realtor to tell her we didn’t like the results of the inspection, and said he would call tomorrow to let us know if the seller was going to make any concessions.

I feel like we can withdraw and I can look at the other house and love it, or we can withdraw and look at the other house and hate it. I live four hour away from where we are moving, so I can’t just pop in and see it tomorrow.

I hope this is making sense. The house we made an offer for is fine, but needs a new furnace, AC, water heater and roof. Some of the electrical is a little wacky, but easily fixed. We didn’t know about the roof or electrical when we made the offer.

All the houses in the neighborhood are 50 years old or so, and I imagine the second house will also have some problems.

You don’t have to withdraw your offer first. Go right ahead and look at the other house. You don’t have to withdraw your current offer unless you’re going to offer on the other one.

Thanks, that’s what I was thinking, but didn’t want to seem like the bride in a limo on her way to the wedding asking the driver to stop so I could check out the cute guy on the corner.

It isn’t the same at all. The bride in a limo isn’t still trying to figure out if the guy will even be waiting for her or if there is a cast on his broken arm as she requested (wow that analogy fell apart quickly)

Go, look. Keep looking until you’re actually in the new house if you want. Worst case scenario you’re legally locked into one house and you fall in love with another. The only one hurt here is you.

For clarification - the suggestion would be to have a BUYERS realtor. It sounds like you are communicating with the sellers realtor. But, as you say you now have an attorney involved, so that point is somewhat moot.

You’re not getting married, it’s a business transaction. Would you have the same qualms about checking out a washing machine at a rival retailer before buying the other one?

No, but I don’t know if I would after I put money down on the other.

Is your state one of those which require an attorney to do the title search (or whatever it is they do that makes their participation legally required)?

If so, ask the attorney.
If this was CA, I’mm guessing you are in the “contingency removal” phase - an offer has been made and accepted, CONTINGENT on the house passing inspection, your ability to finance, etc.

Since the house did not pass inspection, in CA (AIUI) there is no binding contract - only after all contingencies are removed does your agreement become a legally enforceable contract.

Stall on the current (if you have time - and if you are waiting for a response from the seller, you DO have time), inspect the other - if you like, try to get it inspected before you have to either commit to the first or the first falls apart.

If time is critical, do your own inspection - you’ll need a pocket knife and a flashlight.

First, from the curb:

Is the roof line straight? A dip in the line is a huge "walk away, or somebody needs major money sunk in it.
Doors and windows: do they operate as they should? In a multi-story, the uppermost level is where foundation problems first show up - the doors ore off-plumb and will not fit the jamb - if the gap between the door and jamb or floor is greater in one place than another, you could be looking at a serious settleing problem (all frame structures may sag a bit in one corner or side - it need not be a biggie, especially if the house is 100 years old. There is a development a couple miles north of here where the 2-storys all have misfitting doors on the upper floor.Again, bad foundation.
Is there a basement? Does it show water stains on the walls?

The knife is to jab the wood where you can find it - esp. around ground - you’re looking for rotted/termite infested wood can be fixed, but not cheaply.

Move shrubs as required, but get an eyeball on the foundation all around the house - any cracks? are they moving (gap, not level on both sides)
Any brickwork over 50 years should have the mortar checked - dried and crumbling? walk away.

I’m skipping the obvious - water stains, mis-matched paint (what happened and why didn’t they do a decent job)?

Sagging floors?

If you can see the underside of the floor: how much wood is in it? I saw am 1870’s vicky with 12’ ceilings, massive fireplaces. All on a foundation which had broken into 4 parts, and a marble placed on the hardwood would runn to the wall - that was 2 stories of 12’ wet plaster and lathe on 2x8x20 with no ties and a single center beam of two 2x8 with scrap 2x8 spacers to make it look like 3 boards wide.
The thing was a total wreck - it would runn over a million to put in a new foundation and real cross beams every 4’ or so - a 2x8 cannot carry that kind of load for far.

It did have “central heat and air conditioning” - a unit appropriate to a mobile home with a single floor grate on the first floor and a hole in the floor above it in the second floor.
I hope they at least took it apart carefully - the lumber is all but impossible to find in any species, let alone ancient growth redwood. The marble fireplace and staircase would be worth salvaging.

You may not be able to do a profession-level inspection, but you CAN find the obvious money-pit type problems.

Which brings up a question: why did it go off market and come back? Is there a recent inspection sticker anywhere? If so, contact the inspector and see if tey will sell you a copy of the report.

Good luck in a high-stress situation.

This doesn’t need to be high stress - another excellent reason to have a buyers agent.

All of the above advice is good, except one thing - do NOT jab a knife into the siding to check for rot. It’s not your house, it belongs to someone else, and that would be considered property damage.

As a broker, I would also add that. I you’re already under contract on another house, an agent may not be too keen on looking at another one. They might be okay with it, but remember that their time is worth money, and asking them to accompany you on a showing for a house you can’t currently purchase may be perceived as a waste of their time.

This. Go ahead and look at the other house. If your Realtor refuses, use another one. Unless you have an exclusive contract with him, which is rare, if not non-existant, you would have no problem.

The custom is to let the buyer look at whatever one wants whenever, wherever, etc…until they have their house.

Blend that with what **Sateryn76 **says, and you have a good idear about what’s up.