The home inspection procedure is a critical part of the home buying process. If the seller is skittish about having one done, that is a definite red flag. A certified home inspector will be able to ferret out any problems with the property. Realtors usually have particular ones that they use, but, as a buyer, you are certainly free to choose whomever you want. Get recommendations from others and read online reviews. It does not have to be a home inspector near you; you want to be certain that he or she is qualified, so if it means going outside of your area, so be it.
To save yourself headaches down the road, be as diligent as you can when choosing a home inspector. Check references and ascertain that he or she is licensed and insured. Examiners are trained to look beyond the glam and glitter on the surface and really see what is going on behind the walls, in the attic or basement, and on the roof. The attic is as important as the roof because it could reveal hidden issues which may be problematic, such as insufficient insulation or an improperly vented fan. The inspector will provide a written report of the findings, but it is equally important for you, as the potential buyer, to accompany the inspector so that you have first-hand understanding of any current or potential problems.
The inspection report helps you plan for the day a potential problem will come to light. For example, if you know that the water heater is already 15 years old, you can logically assume that it will need to be replaced within a few years. Including home maintenance in the budget is always wise, and that is true whether you buy a new home or one in which someone else has lived.
You may not understand all the ins and outs of what you are seeing, but a good inspector will clarify any questions you have and explain what you are seeing as you walk through. Do not be afraid to ask for fear it will sound foolish. You will save yourself time and money when you know what to expect down the line. If the property is vacant and the utilities have been turned off, it will behoove you to bear the expense of having them turned on so that the home inspector can perform a thorough scrutiny of the home.
If your inspector finds a possible problem that is better diagnosed by a specialist, such as radon or lead, it may be wise to spend the money for that second opinion. Once you pay for an inspection, actually use the information to determine whether you want to go forward with the sale or back out. The seller may be willing to make the necessary modifications in order to keep from losing the sale. If that is the case, take it into consideration before you decide. Your Realtor can help with the negotiations. Even if you are buying a new home, err on the side of caution and have it inspected. Sometimes new homes will pass the required codes, but will have defects that should be brought to light before you move into it.
Regardless of how minor an issue is, the inspector must include it in the report. If you are present during the assessment, the inspector can help you determine if the issue is a major or minor one. In addition, your presence allows you to familiarize yourself with areas of the house to which you normally would not see. He or she can also assist you with how to adjust different essentials, such as the water heater or the furnace, which may come in handy at some later date. If, for any reason, you cannot be present, at the very least, your Realtor should be.
Do not expect a flawless report; every home has shortcomings. The inspector will help you understand the importance of what he or she finds. The most important point for you is to decide the differences among minor repairs, items that you can overlook, and those issues that may be a deal breaker. The various minor deficiencies should not send you into a tailspin or cause you to back away from a home that is suitable for you.
Determine what is worth mentioning to the sellers. Obviously, costly items like the roof, the HVAC system, or issues with the foundation are definite red flags, and those can be real causes for not purchasing the home. Insignificant matters, such as a loose handle on the shower door or scuffed baseboards, may only serve to irritate the seller if you present a long list of such inconsequential repairs that you insist upon having repaired before going forward with the sale. Arrange for a follow-up inspection when all the repairs have been completed. Do not assume they have been done simply because the home owner says so.
First time home buyers may feel especially vulnerable, but all the same rules apply. Some of the major issues found during the inspection may make a good negotiating tactic. Maybe you have some skills that you can apply. You may be able to negotiate the price downward and make the repairs yourself, saving money on the repairs as well as getting a bargain on the house. Sellers have different motivations for selling their homes. If you can provide the right incentive after the inspection, you may find a diamond in the rough.
Understanding all the ramifications of the deal will help you make a clear decision. The important thing is not to become so enamored of the property that you overlook issues that can come back to haunt you. Those shiny hardwood floors, elegant fixtures, or marble countertops will not be as wonderful if the foundation collapses or the next big rain causes leaks throughout the home. Maintain a right perspective, consider the inspection report, and discuss any impediments with your Realtor, whom you chose for his or her knowledge and experience.
Do not ask for trouble by foregoing an inspection. Owners may be unaware of current or potential problems, and the Realtor may only know what is on the surface, as well. Discuss with the Realtor any concerns you have regarding the various items on the report, and he or she will help you determine who should be responsible for the repair, especially the minor ones. If you really want the property, decide which battles are worth fighting and which ones you can handle yourself.
So, spend the money to have peace of mind if you are serious about buying the home. Focus on what is important and use the pictures that are supplied with the report to make requests of the sellers that will assure the home is in move-in condition. Do not forget the all-important step of verifying that important repairs have been completed satisfactorily and that they are up to code.
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