You only get one shot at a home inspection before the sale. At least unless you want to pay for it twice. So it pays to get it right the first time.
How can you get it wrong? Stumble through one or more of these 4 missteps:
#1: Hire the First Inspector You Find
Most home inspectors are great people who want to do a good job for their customers. But just as one bad apple can spoil a whole bushel basket, all it takes is one poor performer to ruin the purchase of your new home.
Take a little time to research your home inspector. If your state licenses inspectors (not every state does) ask for their license number and call up the licensing board. You’ll find out if they’re in good standing and up-to-date with continuing education requirements.
If your inspector belongs to a state or national association, give them a call, too. It’s better to find out early if the inspector has a sketchy past. But the most likely scenario is that you’ll gain some peace of mind.
#2: Don’t Attend the Inspection
There was a time when most inspectors did their work solo. But times change, and home buyers want to be informed. Clear your calendar and plan to attend the inspection. Working RE Magazine says your agent might want to tag along, too.
While on-site, you can walk through the house with the inspector and learn about the different home systems and how they operate. If there’s a defect, your inspector can explain what it means and give you a better idea about whether or not you should worry.
Give your inspector plenty of space to do the work, and remember that there will be times when the inspector needs quiet to listen for mechanical issues. Chances are, you’ll learn a thing or two about the house. If major defects exist, you could find a bargaining chip for a lower price.
#3: Tuck the Inspection Report Away
You’ll pay a few hundred dollars for your home inspection report. So the first thing you should do is review it.
If you can’t attend the inspection, a prompt review can help you get the best answers. The more time passes the more your inspector will forget the details.
For questions about defect repairs and replacement costs, considering taking the report to a contractor. Make copies if you think you’ll need more than one, such as a furnace technician, roofer and flooring refinisher.
Remember that you aren’t required to share the report with the seller. But many buyers do, especially if the home has serious defects.
#4: Skip the Inspection Entirely
Perhaps the worst mistake that any home buyer can make is skipping the inspection. You can hope for the best, and you might be right. But defects hide in the most unlikely places, especially to the untrained eye. Investopedia says, “Don’t skip this important step in the home-buying process – it’s worth every penny.”
Certified home inspectors have tools and experience that the average buyer doesn’t. For example, they can tell if the polarity of an outlet is reversed or if there’s no GFCI protection.
Compared to the total expense of buying a home, the inspector is a small price to pay for confidence. Whether you move ahead to the closing table, renegotiate the terms or back out of the sale, a home inspection helps you make important decisions based on facts, not hopes or fears.
The home inspecting industry exists to empower customers with knowledge. For buyers, it helps with informed decision making. But sellers can also get inspections so they’ll know what they’re up against. Homeowners with no intention of selling get inspections, too.
Homes are made up of numerous systems, all of which can fail in time. The more you know, the better you can plan and budget for the future. Take advantage of your home inspection, and it will be money well spent.
Ready to find a pro? Let Hire an Inspector find a qualified home inspector near you.