Home Buyer Tips
From the desk of Mae Nowak, Realtor®
It's easy to get swept up in excitement when you've made an offer on your dream home and it has been accepted by a seller. You're anxious and ready to move in immediately. However, there's one more thing you need to do to know exactly what you're buying - a home inspection.
A home inspection is a thorough examination of a homes systems and structures, the things you can't necessarily see when you first walk through a house. It is completed by a professional and neutral 3rd party. This examination is a crucial investment that can either warn you away from a bad purchase or provide you with a list of deficiencies you can use to negotiate with a seller. Most inspectors will provide recommendations for minor repairs, common maintenance and also life expectancies for larger systems like your AC or roof. Here are a few common mistakes you can avoid to boost confidence in your purchase:
Mistake 1: Hiring the cheapest inspector. We all love to save money, but do your research. Make sure you're hiring a credible and experienced home inspector. Your realtor can help you with this! Choosing the cheapest option may not indicate the best option.
Mistake 2: Not attending the inspection. It may not be mandatory, but it is wise to be attend the inspection. Even looking at a detailed report is not the same as being present for the inspection. Don't lose your opportunity to be face to face with the inspector and ask them questions. Of course if you cannot make it, your agent should be there!
Mistake 3: Skimming over the report. Don't just glance at the report. Inspection reports can be quite lengthy and tedious, but you don't want to miss the details. Now is your time to address and negotiate repairs, so set aside time to read the report carefully.
Mistake 4: Avoid asking questions. Don't feel like you're bothering your inspector when you ask them a question. Some buyers tend to feel embarrassed or like they may look foolish for asking questions. Inspectors expect questions. In fact, that is part of their job. Many of the inspectors I work with enjoy teaching buyers and sharing their expertise.
Mistake 5: Expecting a perfect report. This is not a pass or fail test. It's an inspectors job to point out everything from small minor repairs to larger concerns. Inspectors look at numerous items, so don't be surprised when you see multiple deficiencies noted. The key is to understand which items are simple fixes and which items require a more extensive repair.
Mistake 6: Focusing on the wrong things. Not all deficiencies are equal. When you start nickel-and-diming a seller, they can start to feel offended. Sellers are generally more receptive when they're given a reasonable list of requests. Pick the items that are most important to you by focusing on the items that keep the house sound and functional.
Mistake 7: Forgoing additional testing. Sometimes an inspector will recommend further evaluation by another trade. Foundation or mold are two examples. Some professional will provide a free evaluation, but even if they charge, this small investment should be made so you are not paying more further down the line.
Mistake 8: Skipping the re-inspection of repairs. Once repairs are completed, you should have the inspector review the work. Make sure everything was done completely so you can have peace of mind at the closing table.
If you're in the market to buy a home, I can help you navigate through the purchase process and inspections. Contact me today if you have more questions or want to get started :)