Buying a Home? Don't Skip the Home Inspection

Why You Need a Home Inspection

From the initial search to falling in love with the perfect property, the process of buying a home is an exciting time. Prospective homeowners can sometimes turn a blind eye to their dream home's imperfections only to be disappointed when major problems crop up after the sale. A thorough home inspection can protect the prospective homeowner from buying a home that could become a financial disaster after the sale.

Why You Need a Home Inspection

"Buying a home in a strong Seller's Market with multiple offers? Think twice before being tempted to waive the inspection!"

A home inspection is a thorough review of the home and accompanying property by an individual who is specially trained to look for potential problems. A home inspection is solely for the buyer's benefit and is meant to uncover significant structural problems with the home before the sale is finalized.

Because the home inspection must be ordered and paid for by the buyer, some cash-strapped buyers may consider the inspection an unnecessary expense. Even if the home appears clean and well-kept, a thorough inspection can uncover potential problems that are not readily visible to the buyer.  Water leaks, water damage, roofing issues and termite damage are some of the more significant problems a home inspector may find. The inspection report can be used to further negotiate with the seller to fix major problems, saving you money and headaches down the road.

Tips for Choosing a Home Inspector

Many people wait until they have an accepted offer on the table to choose a home inspector. The best inspectors are in high demand and may not be available for your inspection at the last moment. Early in your home search, ask your real estate agent for reputable referrals or search the database maintained by the American Society of Home Inspectors to find potential home inspectors. Once you have located a few candidates, follow these guidelines to make a final choice: 

  • Interview the home inspector. Ask what areas of the home will be included in the inspection, how long the individual has been in business, and what training he or she has had. 
  • Ask a potential home inspector for a few sample reports of their work.  The reports should be written in clear, concise language that anyone could understand.
  • Look for major issues that are highlighted in the sample reports.  Did the inspector look for water, termite, or mold damage in any of the properties? 

Keep in mind that even the best home inspector cannot be expected to have x-ray vision.  Things that are hidden from sight, such as electrical wiring placed behind drywall, will not be evaluated; however, roofs, vents, attics and crawl spaces are all areas that should be explored by a thorough inspector.

Getting the Most Out of Your Home Inspection

During the hectic weeks before the final walkthrough & closing, a homebuyer may be tempted to skip being present for the home inspection. After all, the inspector will provide a written report, and in the end, isn't that all you need?

Being present for the home inspection allows you to ask questions of the inspector as you progress throughout the inspection. The inspector can point out areas of major concern and allow you to visually inspect these items as well.

"Not all inspectors are required to be accompanied by an agent. Ask the inspector what time you should arrive."

A good inspector can also give you an idea of the cost associated with necessary repairs giving you leverage in future contract negotiations. (Note in some real estate markets, it's customary for licensed inspectors to perform most of the review in the buyer's absence. In this case, suggest arriving an hour or two later - with the goal being to discuss any major concerns face-to-face.) 

A home inspection should be considered a necessary expense when buying a home. The money and time invested in an inspection should be considered an important safeguard for the buyer. #hw

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