Home Inspections Avert Future Headaches

You never know what you’ll find in a home when you put in an offer to buy. A house can look good on the outside but be hiding devastating and expensive defects where you can’t see. Without a home inspection, you may end up finding you’ve purchased a money pit with constant repairs draining you of money.

No Surprises

Surprises can be fun but not when you’re buying a home. A coat of paint, new window coverings and a few simple updates can make a house look good. What’s hidden underneath might not show to the naked eye. That’s why a home inspection is so important before you commit to buying a home.

Generally, a realtor will recommend a home inspection when you put in an offer and include it in the contract. A home inspection includes all of the major systems in the house, including the following:

  • Heating and air conditioning
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Roof
  • Attic and basement
  • Foundation
  • Walls, ceilings and floors
  • Windows and doors

An inspection can tell you if any problems lurk hidden in the home. It will also tell you the estimated installation date and potential need for replacement for the various systems. The inspector will also include recommendations about how to address any issues found.

Choosing an Inspector

If you work with a real estate agent, they will have a list of recommended home inspectors. You can ask your friends for names as well. Since your agent has likely worked with these inspectors, consider their advice because they know who has the best reputation.

Prices won’t vary too much between inspectors, but don’t let the cost encourage you to skip the inspection or to choose the lowest price. This process will be well worth the cost and could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repairs. It may even cause you to end the contract and avoid getting into a bad situation.

Learn about Your Home

Many times sellers don’t know all of the facts about their homes, especially if they haven’t owned it for very long. This hinders the buyer from making an informed decision. An inspection can provide the information they need. Inspectors can provide an estimated installation date based on their experience. They can tell you of expected repairs.

If you choose to be present during the inspection, you can often ask more questions about the home. This can help you learn what you need to know to care for your home.

What You Won’t Get with a Regular Inspection

Be aware that an inspection only covers what can be seen. While the inspector will crawl around in attics and through crawl spaces, they can’t tell you about what’s underground, such as septic systems or underground wiring.

A home inspection won’t necessarily tell you about termite damage or asbestos. If you are concerned about these problems, you can request a special inspection.

What Happens After an Inspection

Once you receive the inspection report, you can review it and decide whether to proceed or withdraw your offer. Many real estate agents include a clause in the contract that gives you a limited amount of time to decide after receiving the inspection report without losing your escrow money.

You can ask the seller to make repairs based on the inspection or to reduce the price because of the issues discovered. The seller has the right to accept or refuse. Many sellers will agree to make the major repairs because they know they won’t be able to sell the property as it is. Minor repairs will be viewed as wear and tear and generally the buyer will be responsible for them if they want changes.

Examples of major repairs:

  • Foundation issues
  • Water leaks
  • Knob and tube wiring
  • Damaged roof

Your agent will help you determine which repairs should be made at the seller’s expense. In the end, the decision is up to you. You never want to purchase a home you don’t feel good about, but you shouldn’t be surprised to find a few issues with almost any home that isn’t a new build.

An inspection is an important part of most home purchases. It pays to become familiar with what they are and how they work, so you make the right decision on which property to purchase. These inspections can save you money and trouble by providing you with valuable facts before you close on a home you will regret buying.