Originally Posted by carolina chick
As we prepare to move, we are considering renting for the first few months. We found an older home that we like, but it's 25+ years old. On the surface it appears to be in good shape. While it's not technically our responsibility, we have young children and wondered if we should have it inspected. Anyone ever done or heard of this? I know most people will say that it's a waste of money. Thanks for the feedback!
I think you need to decide one of 2 things:
1) Decide that your concern about older homes is legitimate and is such that you should rent only a newer home.
2) Decide that your concern is without merit and that you can stop worrying about it and rent the home and be a happy tenant willing to accept the minor deficiencies of a 25 year old house.
I've handed applicants back their application and deposit when, upon turning it in, they start asking a lot of questions like "are you going to have the chimney cleaned, we're concerned about a fire hazard" and "we want the air ducts cleaned because we're worried about allergies" and "we want the yard deflaed because we saw a neighbor's cat wandering around back there" and "has the house been tested for lead?" and ... it goes on.
What is the common thread in all of those types of questions?
The tenant has decided to make a concern about a future unknow
n into a present "fact" for discussion and into a perceived future problem they want the landlord to spend money to cure.
Instead of discussing all of that, I simply say "look, I run all my rental properties through a 4 page, 150 item maintenance makeready checklist before you move in. We want to make sure everything works and you'll be happy in the property. And when something breaks, we don't fuss over it, we fix it. But we don't try to cure your worries or fears about things for which no current known issue exists. Sorry".
In other words, all those questions send up a red flag that maybe the applicant would be happier living in a home that's not mine. I worry that they will pester me endlessly about non-factual things like "the A/C doesn't seem
to be cooling as well as it was last week", after which we check it out and it's working absolutely perfect. In other words, some tenants are not credible reporters of property condition issues because they live in a constant state of heightened anxiety or worry. They often reveal themselves up front during the application process and that's when it's best to have a deeper discussion about their expectations and concerns in case the house isn't a good match for them.
Tenants who worry excessively are NOT bad people. Often they are great parents, wonderful employees, have perfect credit, etc. I have some best friends who are like this but whom I would never rent to. They worry about EVERYTHING in life, and they become a landlord's nightmare.
A bit of a long answer, sorry. And my generalizations are not meant to imply that the OP is one of those "nightmare tenants" waiting to happen. It's a perfectly normal question to ask "Is an old home right for me?"