Don’t judge a book by its cover. This saying can also pertain to a home. In other words, what you see is not always what you get. Hiring an experienced home inspector will help uncover any hidden issues that are not necessarily obvious to the naked eye of a homebuyer. Unless waived, there is an inspection clause that gives the buyer a period of time to conduct a home inspection and generate a list of items that the inspector feels should be addressed.
In order to prepare yourself for this part of the real estate transaction, here are a few key points to help you along the way:
Penny Wise, Dollar Foolish
A quality home inspector can cost anywhere from $300-$500 and worth their weight in gold. Just one issue that is not flagged, can cost up to double the inspector’s cost if not addressed during the inspection phase of a real estate transaction.
Damaged vs. Old
Everything in your home has a life expectancy attached to it. The home inspector will help to identify those appliances and items that are nearing replacement, however just because something is old does not mean the seller is obligated to replace that particular item. On the other hand, for example, if the hot water heater is malfunctioning then this is something that needs to be addressed prior to closing. The buyer and seller will agree on terms in the case that something needs to be fixed or replaced. This can either be through a monetary credit or guaranteeing fixing before closing.
Use a Local, Reputable Company, Familiar with the Area
Every town is unique in its own way. In the urban market, we are dealing with homes and structures that are almost 100 years old. Of course, many of them have been renovated since originally being constructed, however, their structural integrity is still the same, as well as plumbing and electricity, if not previously upgraded. A home inspector familiar with these types of buildings will serve you better than an inspector based in the suburbs mainly focusing on single family detached homes.
You are Not a Home Inspector
Leave this task up to the experts. I do not think it would be a hard argument to say that purchasing a home might possibly be the largest purchase of your life. Enlist your trust in an expert that does this day in, day out so you can sleep easy at night.
The home inspector’s job is not to tell you how beautiful your new home is. They are there to generate a report of pretty much everything whether good or bad. This report can be 20-40 pages and very overwhelming. Make sure to set aside some time to read the notes and write down some questions you have. Your team consists of many people; including the real estate agent, attorney, inspector, and mortgage broker. Pick their brains as to what you should request fixed, receive a credit for, or just simply let go.
You can rest assured that having a trustworthy home inspector in your corner will help alleviate any unforeseen issues down the road.