When it comes to buying a home, everyone seems to focus on location, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, down payments, interest rates, etc. To be honest, all of these are factors that need serious consideration when purchasing a home. However, the single most important step of the real estate process is the home inspection. There are people (bad people) who will tell you that a home inspection, while a good idea, isn't absolutely required. This is terrible advice. A home inspection is essential, as it allows you learn about the condition of your potential new property in detail, as well as providing you the buyer with your last chance to negotiate before closing sets the deal in stone. So what do you need to know before the home inspection occurs?
Number one, and most importantly, find a home inspector you can trust. Get a recommendation, ask friends and family. Ask your Alliance Real Estate agent who knows many excellent local home inspectors. Home inspection is far more than just walking around the house and pointing out cracks in the wall, it requires a trained eye and a thorough examination of the property—make sure you hire a highly skilled and properly trained inspector.
Next, know what to focus on when the home inspection is complete. If you have a good home inspector, chances are that, when you receive their report, your dream property may look like a nightmare when your perfect little home has a 40-page inspection report. Don't panic. Think of any property you've ever lived in for any significant period of time. Now think of all the little quirks that property has. Maybe there's a doorknob that requires an extra jiggle to close properly, perhaps there's a light switch that requires a special touch, maybe one of the toilets uses hot water instead of cold (this has actually come up on a home inspection)—these are all things that will likely show up post-inspection. Determine what actually needs to be repaired, but don't sweat the small stuff. Minor maintenance and repairs should not be a concern (although hot water toilets should make the repair list). Typically though, focus on the big three.
Structures: Any instances where an inspection report references the major structural components of the house (i.e., foundation, walls, roof, etc.) should be discussed in detail with your home inspector. If it's a brick house, is it in need of tuck pointing? If it's a wooden house, is there evidence or history of termites? These are all factors to consider. You don't want to purchase a house and be surprised to find it needs a brand new roof or that the foundation is cracking/sinking and requires costly repairs.
Utilities: Any home inspection should include thorough inspections of electrical, plumbing and gas lines, as well as all heating and cooling systems. Minor problems snowball over time and can lead to expensive repairs in the future. Examine any issues found by your home inspector and discuss whether they are simply standard aging and wear-and-tear—or indications of larger issues.
Safety: Anything in or around the home that can be a safety issue for you, your family or any visitors should also be addressed during the home inspection. This can include faulty structures such as decks and stairs, or health hazards such as mold or Radon. The time to address all potential safety issues is during the home inspection.
Most importantly, remember, it is not a home inspectors job to tell you whether or not you should purchase a particular property. It is their job to provide an accurate snapshot of the condition of the property so that you can evaluate it before closing. An unacceptable home inspection is oftentimes a buyer's last chance to negotiate with the seller and request repair or replacement of items. Alternatively, for larger more costly items, many sellers are willing to give a credit at closing based on repair estimates for specific items. When all else fails, if a seller is unable or unwilling to comply with your requests relating to the home inspection, this is typically a buyers last chance to back out of the deal.
Contact us today and see what other wisdom and knowledge we have in store for you at Alliance Real Estate. Sadly, we don't offer hot water toilets, but we do have a wealth of tips and tricks for every stage of the real estate process.