Anybody who decides to buy a home makes a long-term commitment. Most home buyers intend to make payments on their mortgage for decades. They also commit to pay for insurance, taxes, and of course, repairs and maintenance. It is important to get information about the condition of the home before settling on a sales price or even deciding to buy.
Sellers should disclose any issues that they know about, but average homeowners may not even be aware of some potential problems with the house that they want to sell. Consciously or unconsciously, they also might be motivated to dismiss other issues as unimportant or unlikely to get noticed. Getting an unbiased and knowledgeable third-party professional protects buyers from accidentally making a bad financial choice.
How Do Licensed Home Inspectors Help Buyers?
A professional home inspection provides a buyer with a good defense against paying too much for a home with damage or defects. A typical inspection costs between $300 and $500. The exact price depends upon the geographical area and size of the home.
If that investment protects a home purchaser from overpaying for a house with a cracked slab or major electrical problems, it will seem like a bargain. Leveling a house can cost thousands of dollars and so can a big rewiring job.
In some cases, major problems may deter buyers. They may hope to move in quickly and would rather just buy another house than have to wait to get repairs made. In other cases, uncovered defects in a house may give the buyer a chance to negotiate terms.
With real estate, almost everything is negotiable. A buyer might demand that major issues get repaired and reinspected at the seller’s expense before closing on the home. If the seller refuses to make repairs, it might also be possible to ask for a lower sales price in exchange for accepting the home as it is.
Is A License Home Inspector Needed For A Newly Built House?
Some buyers may not think they need to spend the money for a licensed home inspector on a new house, however, it is a mistake to think that a house that has just been built to code is entirely free of problems.
Even if the new home comes with a warranty, it is usually better to make sure that all issues get settled before closing. People who invest in a new house want to move in and get comfortable quickly. They do not want to spend time hassling with a warranty company and waiting for repair crews to show up.
In fact, many experienced home buyers actually think an older home is more likely to have the “bugs” worked out of it. A home’s age is not a good way to judge its condition. The important thing to remember is that a professional home inspection can ensure that you know exactly what you are paying for.
Getting A Professional Home Inspection
It is a good idea for the buyer to attend the inspection. Inspectors provide a written report, but they can provide more information in person. It might be a good idea to bring the real estate agent along, too. Prospective buyers might bring a notebook and camera along to record information about any defects the inspector uncovers.
If the inspector does note defects, buyers should be sure to get these issues evaluated in more depth before agreeing to close. For example, if the inspector finds a problem with the heater, bring in an HVAC company to learn how much the problem will cost to repair.
It is fine to shop around a bit to find a competitive price for a home inspection. It is also a good idea to learn about the inspector’s professional credentials and experience. Most established inspectors will also be happy to offer references.
About the Author
JD Stratis is debt-reduction specialist and a successful business operator. He owns a site, WillowbrookCredit.ca which is dedicated to finding solutions for people who are experiencing credit problems.