So, after months of searching, you think you finally found the perfect home for you. Congratulations!
Buying a house is one of the most rewarding feelings you’ll have in your adult life. It’s also one of the most frustrating.
Often, closings get pushed back or the seller even backs out of the deal. Underwriting may find something at the 11th hour that nixes your mortgage approval.
But if you’ve made it through all those hurdles, take a deep breath; you’re close to the finish line.
There’s likely one thing standing in your way of being a homeowner: the home inspection. Before you scoff at the idea or don’t think it’s necessary, you’re going to want to keep reading.
We’ve got nine home inspection tips for avoiding mistakes that every buyer needs to know.
Home Inspection Tips for Avoiding Disaster
Americans bought more than six million new and existing homes last year. About 90% of those homes had inspections.
A home inspection examines the overall condition of the house. It includes the structure of the home, electrical system, plumbing, and any other major components. A reputable home inspector will be very detailed in their inspection process.
After the buyer sees the inspection report, they can go back to the seller and ask that they handle some of the repairs. You can also ask for a reduction in the sales price.
For example, the inspector may report the HVAC system is getting up there in years and won’t last much longer. You can ask the seller to replace it — which they likely won’t. Or, you can ask them to knock a few thousand dollars off the price of the home.
In general, the seller wants the deal done. But they also don’t want to pay thousands of dollars in case you back out of the deal. Who’s to say the next prospective buyer will come along and be fine with the HVAC system as is?
Take a look at nine of the biggest mistakes buyers make when it comes to home inspections. Then, avoid them at all costs.
1. Not Getting an Inspection
So, if 90% get home inspections, that means 10% don’t. Some buyers try and pinch pennies at the end of the buying process, and it’s understandable.
But saving a couple hundred bucks by not getting a home inspection can cost you thousands in the long run. Sometimes, the “long run” isn’t even that long.
Say you pass on a home inspection and two months after buying the house your heat goes out in the middle of winter? The HVAC company can come out and tell you it had to be getting bad for months.
A home inspector would have alerted you of that. Now, you’re out thousands of dollars to replace the system.
2. Hiring Any Inspector
Hopefully, you decided getting a home inspection is in your best interest. But don’t hire any inspector off the street.
Don’t go with the first person your realtor recommends, either. Real estate agents sometimes have relationships with inspectors that aren’t always on the up-and-up.
Research reliable and honest home inspectors in your area. Talk to friends and family about who they used. Make sure you interview the inspector and get a feel for their integrity and professionalism before you hire them.
The inspector works for you, but they’ll be independent and professional. This means they’ll follow all applicable codes and guidelines during the inspection.
3. Not Being Present at the Inspection
When you’re buying a house, you can miss a lot of work. You need to run to the bank to sign paperwork. You may need to take an afternoon off to get your application documents in order.
It seems like every time you turn around, you’re taking a long lunch or leaving the office early. Take the time off to be at the inspection.
You don’t have to be there, but you should be.
4. Getting Too Involved
When you show up at the property for the inspection, stay out of the inspector’s way. Don’t point out they need to check the windows or remind them to inspect the crawlspace.
He or she knows what they’re doing.
Don’t start turning on the faucets or playing with the electrical box. Let the inspector do the job you’re paying them to do!
5. Not Reading the Report
Once you get the report, read over it carefully. Read it twice.
Most reputable inspectors will go over the report with you so you understand what they found. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. They expect you’ll need an explanation to some of the items in the report.
6. Not Reacting to What’s in It
This one’s simple. If the inspector found that the wiring is old and unsafe, you need to speak to your real estate agent.
Don’t have the mindset that you want to hurry up and get the whole thing over with. It’ll come back to bite you.
Besides, you paid for an inspection so you know what you’re getting yourself into. Make sure you address any concerns that get found.
7. Overreacting to What’s in It
At the same time, don’t overreact. The inspector may find some things you weren’t prepared for.
Take the HVAC example. You may panic over the fact the system’s on its last legs. You may stress out wondering if the seller is going to do anything about it.
Talk to your realtor about what’s in the report but be level-headed about your options — and demands. You may even get mad at the inspector for finding the issue.
Emotions flare up in these intense situations, so try to stay as calm as possible, for your own sake.
8. Not Getting Repairs Re-Inspected
If the seller does agree to make some repairs the inspector found, schedule a re-inspection. Don’t take the seller’s word for it that the issue got fixed.
Most contracts have contingency clauses written in them. This buys you time if the seller needs to make repairs and you need a new inspection.
9. Not Getting an Inspection on New Construction
People who buy new construction houses tend to think they’re covered and skip the inspection. After all, the home is brand new.
But, that doesn’t guarantee the workmanship is impeccable or even done half-right.
How do you know the contractors didn’t rush to finish the job? How do you know the electrical is to code or the plumbing works?
A home inspector has the proper training to know what’s amiss in new construction. So, even though you’re going to be the first person to own the home, get an inspection.
Protect Your Investment and Yourself
Getting a home inspection ensures you won’t have any surprises in your new home as soon as you take ownership. Your inspector will be honest and forthcoming about any issues they find.
It’s up to you to follow these home inspection tips so you’ll get the most out of it. It’s also up to you to contact a home inspector you can trust.
At CLASS Home Inspection, we strive to provide clear, concise, and detail reports to buyers just like you.
View one of our sample reports. You’ll see the knowledge and care we put into every inspection. Contact us to schedule your home inspection today.