Buying a house is one of the biggest investments most people will ever make. If you stay in your home long-term, it’ll usually take between 15-30 years to pay it off. You want to make sure that you’re getting the best deal for your money. One of the ways to do this is by getting your home inspected.
A home inspection is usually completed after an offer is made by the buyer and accepted by the seller, but before you sign on the dotted line and money is exchanged.
Think of a home inspection as your last chance to make a final decision on whether or not you want to buy the house. Any major problems brought up during an inspection can be grounds for you to back out of the deal.
Your goal should be to have no surprises once the inspection is complete and you’re ready to sign on the dotted line.
Many times, your realtor will recommend a home inspector for you to use. A wise decision would be to respectfully decline. Often, the inspectors that realtors like are the ones that’ll sweep problems under the rug in the name of pushing the sale through.
It’s not illegal, but straddles the line of being unethical. Instead, find your own home inspector. Look online for reviews and ask friends for recommendations.
Having a home inspector that’s independent of your realtor will increase the chance of you getting a thorough, unbiased inspection.
The inspection is for your benefit and to protect you from buying a home that isn’t worth the money you’re about to pay. Follow the inspector around the house as he checks the various home systems. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and be nosy.
The inspector should be able to explain to you any deficiencies found in the house. The home inspector will also use a camera to take pictures of items found that are in need of repair.
These pictures will be included in the final inspection report so you have a copy for your records.
Yes, you should seriously inspect the home yourself. Look in every nook and cranny you can find. Bring a pad and pencil so you can take notes about what you find, and bring it up with your real estate agent later on.
Also, it’s always a good idea to have a second or third pair of eyes look at the home you’re about to buy. They may see a red flag that you completely missed. Trusted friends or family members who have gone through the home buying process themselves are great to have tag along with you.
The seller will usually fill out some kind of disclosure form that’ll alert you to any problems with the house. Use this form as a guide for your inspector to use.
The issues listed on the full disclosure statement should be given extra attention. Laws vary by state and sometimes even municipal codes, so check with your real estate agent about what should be included in the statement.
A lot of homeowners will make major renovations to their house without pulling the proper permits and having the work inspected by their municipality. While this was convenient to the homeowner at the time, you might be the one who pays in the long run if you buy the home.
You can be the one on the hook for the fine if your local government discovers work done without a permit. You’ll also be on the hook for any repairs that need to be made as a result of unpermitted work.
Your home inspector should check for repairs, remodels and other work done without a permit. One easy way for an inspector to find such work is simply looking for electrical, plumbing and construction work that isn’t up to code.
Even if you’re selling your house, it’s still a good idea to have it inspected. While it might seem counter-intuitive, knowing your home’s problems well in advance will give you ample time to get the proper repairs done.
The advantage of this is that you’ll have time to find the best price for repairs, saving you money. Once the buyer has the home inspected, you’re usually given a timeframe in which the repairs have to be completed.
Not doing so can jeopardize the sale. Keep in mind, however, the buyer will still have their own inspection before finalizing the sale. At least this way, there shouldn’t be any surprises.
After the home inspection is complete, make a list of all the repairs you want to be done before closing on the house. This is where you’ll have to negotiate with the seller and you’ll need your real estate agent to help.
Either they can have the repairs done themselves before closing, or if they don’t want to, they can give you a purchase credit so you can have the repairs done.
Always remember that this is a big investment you’re making so you need to be 100% satisfied before signing on the dotted line. If the house needs a big repair and the seller refuses to make a fix, don’t be afraid to walk away.
The home inspection is a very integral part of buying a house. Just as you wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive, you shouldn’t buy a house without a thorough inspection to make sure you’re getting what you want.
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