Before signing on the dotted lines, it’s important to guarantee that the property is at least structurally sound. The last thing a buyer wants is to buy their ‘dream home’ only to end up spending a fortune to fix problems down the road.
Is a home inspection required by law? Not at all. But most real estate contracts often come with a home inspection contingency. These contingencies allow you several options should a problem arise during the home inspection process.
Such options include to negotiate the offer, to request the repairs from the seller, or to simply back out of the sale altogether.
As you probably know, homes are anything but perfect. Every home will have some sort of problems, flaws, or imperfections however small they are.
In today’s article, you are going to learn 4 home inspection tips to keep in mind when buying a home.
Tip #1: Hire the right home inspector.
Your best ally during a home inspection is an inspector that understands the ropes of home inspections and not just one by name. So, be sure to hire somebody that has the qualifications and experience.
You also want to hire someone that is certified. Certification for home inspectors usually depends on the particular state. Some states only require 60 hours of education while others require almost 200. Some require a high school degree or completion of 128-140 pre-licensing class hours while others don’t.
Your best bet is to prepare some questions and ask the prospective inspectors when you interview them. The following should get you started.
- Can you provide some references?
- How many years have you been inspecting homes in [state]?
- What is included (and not included) in the inspection?
- How much do you charge for the inspection?
- Do you carry insurance?
- How long will it take?
- Can I tag along on the inspection?
Tip #2: Be present during the inspection.
This is a huge investment that you may potentially undertake. Therefore, treat it as such. During the day of inspection, tag along and provide the home inspector with a second pair of eyes. The following are a few advantages of doing so.
To start, you get an opportunity to ask questions. This can especially be important for first-time buyers, as owning a home can often feel overwhelming.
Secondly, you can bring some concerns to the inspector’s attention. Despite the training, experience, and certificates, home inspectors are humans, too. They can sometimes overlook some issues. For example, they might fail to notice the cracks on the wall or a water leak.
Another advantage is that you will be able to learn your way around the property. You will be able to observe details such as where the electrical panel and the shut-off valves are located.
Being present will also enable you to get explanations from the inspector on the spot. Although the inspector will write the final report, hearing explanations from the horse’s mouth can help ease some of the concerns.
Tip #3: Understand that most homes are far from being perfect.
Regardless of whether a home is a new construction or is 50 years old, the inspector will still note something on the inspection report. However small they are, homes will usually have certain things that need updating or repairs.
For example, the home may have an inefficient HVAC system. This may be due to the lack of regular maintenance. The home may also have walls that have chipped paint. And although this may make the home look a bit unaesthetically pleasing, a can of paint only costs $25 or thereabout.
Don’t, however, allow such cosmetic issues to be the reason for not proceeding with the sale. Remember, you can always negotiate the price.
Tip #4: Know when to walk away.
Homes harboring major problems aren’t unheard of. Purchasing a house that has serious faults can send you down a never-ending spiral of repairs. So, if your home inspector reveals major problems that you aren’t ready to live with, it’d be best to just walk away.
Some of the issues that you might not particularly want to gamble with include:
- Foundation damage. These are usually the result of bigger problems throughout a home. For example, a water damage problem or shifting soils.
- Roof problems. The roof is also another important structural element. Any issues with the roof aren’t to be taken lightly.
- Water damage. Water damage is a serious matter. It can impact your home in a variety of wats and leave its mark. For example, a serious water damage can also lead to mold problems.
If you really like the house and are experienced in fixing such issues, then probably consider negotiating the price and taking your chances. However, if you aren’t, walk away. Fixing any of these issues can potentially cost you tens of thousands of dollars in repair costs.
There you have it. 4 home inspection tips to help you buy your dream home. If you still have some questions, please consider hiring professional help.