Hire a Home Inspector When Buying a House
THIS IS NOT WHERE YOU SAVE A BUCK
After looking for weeks you finally found a home you want to write an offer on. The offer is accepted and excitement fills the air. Your Realtor explains that you have 10 days to inspect the home for any defects or safety issues. You begin to panic. You’re not a licensed roofer or plumber. How are you going to make sure there’s no surprises once the home is officially yours? Hire a home inspector.
Many buyers have a tight budget from the appraisal fees to the down payment and feel the home inspection is another $400 out the window. You may be tempted to skip the inspection, but here’s 7 great reasons why a home inspection is an absolute necessity when buying a home.
Gas leaks, faulty fire alarms, mold, shorted wires, broken appliances, busted door locks and more are very serious safety concerns for you and your family. A home inspector can detect many of these issues and advise you how to address them. Nine out of ten times a seller will understand your safety concerns and agree to fix them.
GETTING OUT OF THE CONTRACT
There are a number of reasons you may want to get out of a contract. Your 10-day inspection period is the best time to do this. After a home inspection is performed, a buyer becomes quickly aware of critical information about the property. Many times buyers just aren’t prepared for the costs associated with repairing or replacing these systems over time. Sure, you can ask the sellers to address these issues but it’s never guaranteed that they will agree.
Buyers also become aware of undisclosed items by the seller. Many of these items can only be discovered by a trained professional home inspector. In the case that your inspector finds a problem with the Air Conditioner or Pool Pump, you can then make arrangements to have a HVAC and Pool Contractor come out to the property to troubleshoot and provide you with a repair estimate.
Home inspections will assist buyers in making informed decisions about how much they’ll need to put into the home. There’s usually a point where buyers don’t feel comfortable with continuing the transaction. If that’s the case, a home inspector can save you thousands of dollars and you can continue your search for a home with far less problems to deal with.
POOR WORKMANSHIP AND CODE VIOLATIONS
Many homes beyond a few years old have had some form of modification or customization performed by the owner. Sometimes the owner performs their own repairs or they hire a so-called professional. A home inspector can alert you to possible code violations such as missing GFCI receptacles, poor structural design, faulty roofs and non-permitted room additions.
For example, say you purchase a home where the previous owner installed that gorgeous pool. He built the pool himself without the help of a contractor and did not alert the county tax-assessor. One day, after owning the home for a while, you notice a significant tax increase. That’s a problem.
The most common issue found by home inspectors is the discovery of faulty repairs or installations. When you buy a home you don’t know who performed the installations. Was it a licensed contractor or the owner’s cousin?
PROTECTION FROM THE UNKNOWN
Home Inspections can be performed on resales, foreclosures, as-is and even new-build homes. Each type of properties have their own unknown issues. A new-build could have a contractor who chooses to ‘cut-corners’ by installing defective materials or provide subpar work. Distressed homes that have been vacant for a long period of time could have mold, plumbing or a number of other issues a buyer should be aware of. These issues are costly and can pose serious health and safety issues for the buyer and occupants.
A WAY TO NEGOTIATE
An inspection report can be a great way for buyers to have an opportunity to request repairs from the seller before the closing. Sellers can refuse to make repairs and even welcome a slight price reduction or credit for the buyers to make their own repairs. Usually big ticket items such as faulty roof systems or other costly repairs can be negotiated or baked into the offer price.
PREDICT FUTURE REPAIR COSTS
Often home inspectors can estimate the approximate age of major systems in the home, such as electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling. Their experience also allows them to estimate how many years critical equipment in a home will continue to function. Knowing this helps the buyer plan for those inevitable repairs that could be years away or just around the corner. From the inspection report, buyers are able to determine what types of home insurance or home warranty coverage they should consider.
Home inspectors will take the time to carefully explain their reports to buyers. Buyers are always free to ask home inspectors for more information or suggest maintenance tips about needed repairs. One thing to remember is that a home inspector is usually not able to provide you with repair estimates. Their purpose is to alert you about various issues only.
The bottom line is that you are responsible for understanding as many details as possible about your future home. Using a home inspector to provide more clarity is in your best interest and is of course highly recommended by this Realtor.
ADDITIONAL CLOSING COST RESOURCES
- Home Inspection Standards of Practice via InterNACHI
- Frequently Asked Questions on Home Inspections via American Society of Home Inspectors
- 9 Things You Should Investigate During the Inspection Period via Ellen Pitts
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About the Author: The above article, Hire a Home Inspector When Buying a House was written by Troy J. Elston, a licensed Realtor at West USA Realty, the premiere real estate brokerage based in Peoria Arizona. With over 16 years of experience in the real estate industry, Troy produces stunning results for home buyers and sellers. If you're thinking of BUYING or SELLING a home in the Phoenix Area, Troy would love to share his knowledge and expertise with you.
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