The home inspection: 4 reasons you need it
You already know this: purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial transactions you’re likely to make in your lifetime. Whether you use traditional financing and work with a mortgage banker or you use non-traditional financing, perhaps like contract for deed financing, the decision is still a very big one to make.
Chances are, you’ve probably already spent some time researching your neighbourhood, getting a ballpark figure for property taxes, and comparing lenders’ mortgage rates. And you’ve likely looked into homeowner’s insurance to protect your investment.
But have you gotten your dream home inspected? If you’re moving from, let’s say, a Minneapolis apartment to a new home in another city or even another country like Australia and you’ve never dealt with inspections, it’s important that you understand the reasons for an inspection and how it will help you in your homeownership journey.
Doing so can save you a lot of money — not to mention hassle — down the road. Here are four reasons to have another set of eyes on your potential home before you sign on the dotted line.
1. Older homes
You might be able to spot cracks in a house’s foundation, or obvious water damage. But home inspectors are pros at pointing out the harder-to-spot issues with any structure. Their larger frame of reference can help identify problems you hadn’t even noticed: Faulty plumbing, bad wiring, poorly-installed flooring. Especially with older homes, the line between “fixer-upper” and “major gutting needed” can be blurry, and a home inspector can keep you from unintentionally crossing it.
2. Poor workmanship
Home inspections aren’t just useful for older homes. In fact, they can be even more useful in new constructions because you’re less likely to see problem areas. Just because a house looks pristine, that doesn’t mean that there are issues under the surface. A home inspector will be able to show you where a fresh coat of paint might be hiding major problems.
3. Learn about your home
If you were buying a car, wouldn’t it be nice to have an independent mechanic look over the engine? In a real estate transaction, home inspectors are a disinterested party: They don’t stand to make money if the deal goes through. That means they can tell you things that won’t be on a real estate agent’s tour. Curious about the age of the second storey’s windows? Want a detailed assessment of the basement plumbing? A home inspector will be able to tell you. That could help if you’ve got DIY repairs planned for the future.
4. Negotiating tool
No one wants to find out that their dream home needs major surgery. But a less-than-stellar inspection result does have its advantages when it comes to negotiating a sale price. If your inspection has turned up some unforeseen problems, you’ll probably have leverage to drive a sale price down, or at least force the seller to complete repairs before you agree to purchase. Shelling out a few hundred dollars for an inspection could save you major money on your mortgage.
Research shows that 90% of homeowners deem inspections a necessity for home purchase. Still not convinced? In the same survey, 72% of respondents reported that their inspection helped them avoid future problems, and 64% claimed that their inspection saved them money. Clearly, it’s important to find a quality inspection team.
Mistakes to avoid
Once you’ve decided to take the plunge and get a home inspection done by a professional, it’s also important to realise there are certain mistakes you must avoid making. First, do your research and find a great inspector. Online reviews can be very helpful here. Find out how many inspections they’ve done, ask about certifications and qualifications and get a feel for the person. Once you’ve done your research, make sure you actually attend the inspection with them. Don’t blindly trust your inspector and make sure you show up on the date and time scheduled.
Author bio: Sam Radbil writes for ABODO — not to be confused with the delicious chicken seasoning, adobo — helps you find your next apartment. We started ABODO because apartment hunting sucked where we lived. We thought there had to be a better way, so we built it.