Buying a home can be a very exciting time, but get one thing wrong and it can turn your life upside down. Performing a home inspection is one of those things that some buyers think they can forego. However, the home inspection is a vital part of knowing that you are getting a quality home with as few defects as possible versus getting a money pit.
The only way to know if you are getting a good solid, quality home is through the home inspection report. The home inspection report will help give you an accurate picture of the maintenance required to preserve the home, as well as, what may need to be repaired before you can move in. Alternatively, it could give you an “out,” without forfeiting your earnest money, if the inspector uncovers any major flaws in the home.
Always use a licensed home inspector and not your best friends cousin who is a handyman and thinks he is a home building specialist. A licensed inspector is required to attend classes and pass a test before he is able to become licensed.
Generally, the home inspection only takes a few hours and will cost between $200-$400 dollars. The inspector will start by checking the physical condition of the exterior by looking for cracks in the walls and any signs of water damage, etc. He will then inspect the electrical, HVAC, plumbing, appliances, water heater and any other features of the home for damage or potential problems.
The home inspector will then report any visible defects; however, they usually don’t notate the condition of things like buried pipes, etc. Although, they will notate if they see any standing water in the yard that could indicate an underground leak in one of the underground pipes.
The home inspection report will allow the buyer to request that the seller fix the items found on the inspection report before the sale of the home has been completed. The seller, however, has the option of refusing the repair request and offering the home on an “as is” basis or lowering the price of the home to compensate for those repairs. If the repairs discovered through the home inspection process are major, it’s generally advisable that you walk away and find another more suitable home for you and your family. Otherwise, you may be looking at bigger problems later on down the road as the problem grows.
If you don’t want to start the entire home search over again from scratch, you could opt for a 203K loan or something similar to have those repairs fixed. Talk to your realtor about what he recommends. Your realtor may know of another property that would be perfect for you versus going through the time and hassle of any major repairs that are needed on the current home you are interested in.