A home inspection is an excellent opportunity to know all you can about the property you’re buying. You’re not only going to find out about any defects, but you will also get an understanding of how the home functions. So many buyers think an inspection is about discovering problems. That’s not always the case. The home inspector will provide a professional, in-depth examination of the property’s structures and systems. A good inspector can provide a low down of the HVAC system, electrical panel, the plumbing system, and so many other facets of the home. Both first-time home buyers and seasoned buyers will learn useful tips about the inspection process that can give you peace of mind and confidence in your new home purchase.
Mistake #1 Skip Your Own Inspection
Inspection reports look notoriously overwhelming and scary to buyers. By being present during the inspection, you can see firsthand exactly what the issues are. You can point out anything that you may be concerned about and discuss any issues with the inspector. Your buyer’s agent should also attend the inspection. They are the second set of eyes and ears. When it comes to negotiating, your agent will know the issues and it’s much more difficult to assess when the buyers are not present.
Mistake #2 Hire the Cheapest Inspector
We all love to save money, but don’t be fooled by the cheapest home inspection service. Saving a few extra bucks on the inspection of what could likely be the most significant investment you make in your life is not always the best idea. Before you hire one, do a little research. A good buyer’s agent will also have a list of home inspectors who have excellent credentials. Find out what is (and what isn’t) covered in the inspection.
Mistake #3 Avoid Asking Questions
An inspection can take 2-4 hours depending on the size of the home. Questions from buyers are expected. A good inspector will educate you on what’s wrong with the home and what it may take to fix it. The best thing to do is let the inspector go through the home and write down the questions you may have at the end of the process. Here are some common questions to ask your inspector:
Would you get this issue fixed in your home?
How urgent is it?
What could happen if I don’t fix it?
Is this a simple issue I could fix myself?
What type of professional should I call?
Can you estimate how much it would cost to make this repair?
How much longer would you expect this system/structure/appliance to last?
What maintenance steps would you recommend?
Mistake #4 Be Overly Involved in the Inspection
Buyers should always ask questions during the inspection, but try not to distract the inspector from accurately doing their job. Keep chatting to a minimum to prevent the inspector from overlooking any details.
Mistake #5 Skim Over the Report
Read the inspection report carefully so you don’t miss anything significant. You have a limited window of time to request repairs or negotiate any closing cost credits. Assess and prioritize the items listed on the report with your buyer’s agent. It’s also a good idea to do some research on estimated repair costs to help you decide what’s worth mentioning.
Mistake #6 Expect a Perfect Report
Every home will have flaws. Don’t be surprised if the inspection report is multiple pages. Many of the items may be relatively minor. The key is to understand which problems require simple fixes, and which ones will require extensive (and costly) repairs. Your buyer’s agent can help you decide if and how to approach the sellers about making repairs or reducing the purchase price. Try to focus on the major issues identified in the report and don’t anticipate the sellers to address every minor item on the list. They will be more receptive if they perceive your requests to be reasonable.
Mistake #7 Forgo Additional Testing
Certain homes may benefit from having a specialist evaluate a potential issue. Factors that could trigger additional testing are issues found during the inspection (mold, termites, etc.), location of the home (radon), and the home’s condition (possible existence of asbestos and lead in older homes). If you choose to ignore the recommendation of additional testing, your small investment of hiring a specialist could cost you a fortune in future repairs.
Mistake #8 Skip Re-Inspection of Repairs
Once the negotiated repairs have been completed by the seller, it’s wise to get a final written approval from your home inspector – even if there is an additional cost for the reinspection. While the majority of sellers are forthcoming, you don’t want to risk the possibility of a repair being completed by unlicensed technicians, cutting corners, or the sellers doing the work themselves. To avoid having to go back to the sellers, be specific when requesting the repairs, and let it be known that you would like your inspector to reassess the repair once it is complete. Some buyers prefer to avoid this step by requesting the seller to fund a closing cost credit and the buyer handles the repair. Whichever path you choose, protect yourself and your investment by ensuring the work is done properly.
We Can Help
Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned buyer or investor, we can help you navigate the inspection and all the other steps in the buying process. We are committed to working in your best interests. Contact us today to help you achieve your real estate goals.