Why should home buyers get a home inspection?
The most common scenario in which someone might order a home inspection is when they are about to buy the property. The buyer’s inspection typically takes place after the offer has been accepted, and before finalizing the sale. It makes sense that potential homeowners would want to know everything they can about the condition of the home they’re about to spend their life savings on, right?
Avoid a huge money pit!
As you might imagine, there are several elements of home ownership that can get quite expensive. Major components of the home—like your roof, appliances, and bathroom fixtures—naturally need to be replaced over time. And major structural issues, like a leaky basement or faulty wiring, can lead to expensive damage and repair down the road if not caught early. That’s why it’s essential to have your new home inspected before you finalize the sale. Regardless of whether the property is decades old or new construction, there’s potential for major issues that could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars shortly after moving in. The cost of a home inspection—which averages between $300 and $600—is extremely affordable compared to many common repair costs. It’s best to know any major issues from the jump.
Even the best homes usually have some defects or repair needs. If your inspection report reveals problems, you’ll have leverage to negotiate the purchase contract to your benefit.
As the buyer, you can:
~Do nothing (accept the house ‘as-is’)
~Ask the seller to make repairs before finalizing the sale
~Request a discount on the sale price
~Ask for a credit towards your closing costs
~In some cases, you may even have the option to back out of the sale entirely.
~Most home sale contracts include an inspection contingency, which gives the buyer the right to have the home inspected within a specified period of time (usually 5-7 days). It also allows the buyer to cancel or negotiate changes to the contract based on the inspection results.
*Most inspections don’t result in a buyer backing out, but they could. It’s better to know whether anything is a home purchase deal breaker while you still have an out.
Identify safety issues before purchase!
As a home buyer, it’s likely that your most important concern is whether your potential new home will be a safe place for your family to live. Home inspectors help give you an idea of any potential safety hazards, such as faulty electrical wiring, missing or loose stair railings, or dangerous levels of radon in the air. These safety hazards should be addressed as soon as possible, either by negotiating repairs with the seller or asking for a discount on the final sale price so that you can have those repairs done yourself.
Attention to details you may miss!
The property may look like a dream home to you, but how much can you tell about the real condition? That’s where an inspector comes in. Of course, a home inspection is a visual inspection—meaning the inspector isn’t going to get invasive. They won’t look behind walls or under floors, for example. But many “hidden” issues are hiding in plain sight. These problems are considered hidden simply because they aren’t immediately noticeable to the untrained eye, such as Pest infestations, HVAC problems, Roof damage, Blocked chimney, Electrical or plumbing problems, or Structural defects Hiring a home inspector means teaming up with an experienced third party who can identify problems you likely wouldn’t otherwise notice.
Have an idea of future repair or replacement expenses
Other defects found by home inspectors may not necessarily present a safety hazard or be an immediate concern, but you’ll still want to repair or replace them in the future. Buying a home is an expensive process, to say the least—so it can be extremely discouraging to discover surprise repair costs within the first year or two of moving in. Your inspector should give you a thorough report of all their findings, from major to minor and everything in between. You can use your inspection report to get an idea of what to plan and save for in the future, whether it’s a roof that will need to be replaced in the next few years or a water heater that’s on its last leg.