It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of buying a new home and forget to make the important decision to have a home inspection performed before you sign the contract.
Home inspections are an instrumental part of the home-buying process that can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Here are eight reasons to have a home inspection before you buy:
- Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
Especially for those buying newer construction, a home inspection may feel like a waste of money. No matter the age of the home, there can be costly troubles unknown to the average buyer. Problems with wiring, plumbing and easement may not be visible during a showing and you’ll want to get an expert opinion.
- Save Money
Home inspections generally cost from $300 to $500 depending on size and age of the home. That may feel like a lot of money, but perhaps think of it this way: Those who skip out on the expense may realize in a few years that an inspection is much cheaper than rewiring the entire house. Having a home inspection can save you thousands in the long run.
- Uncover Safety Issues
The home inspection is the opportunity to thoroughly investigate the home you’re potentially going to be purchasing. It’s important to understand that a quality home inspector will find some issues with every home, even a newly built home. Some of the issues that are found may not be a big deal while some maybe serious safety issues.
Some issues that are discovered during a home inspection are actually quite common. Issues such as improper electrical wiring, aging roofing material, defective windows, and plumbing deficiencies are just a few of the most commonly found home inspection issues. The purpose of a home inspection is not to make sure that every last thing in a home is perfect to your liking, however, it’s important that the home inspection determines the home has no glaring safety issues.
- Discovery of Wood Destroying Insect “Termites” Problems
Wood destroying insect infestations can destroy a home. Depending on your location, the likelihood of having wood destroying insect problems will vary. There are many different types of wood destroying insects that can create problems in a home. Wood-boring pests and insects, such as termites, can be a huge problem if not discovered. Termites cause approximately five billion dollars in damage to properties yearly. Other common wood destroying pests include carpenter ants and powder post beetles.
Some home inspections will include a wood destroying insect inspection and others will not. Be sure to ask your real estate agent whether or not they have any home inspectors or pest inspection companies who can make sure the home you’re purchasing does not have any pest or insect problems.
One of the advantages of having a home inspection performed before you buy is the power it might give you to negotiate a lower price. If a home you’re really interested in is on the edge of your price range, information gathered during the home inspection may give you the bargaining power to talk down the price. You can also insert language into a purchase contract that allows you to back out of an agreement if the inspection turns up problems.
- Seller’s Repairs
Not only are you able to negotiate a lower price, many buyers include clauses in their contract requiring the seller to make the repairs necessary before any money is exchanged. If the seller is unwilling to complete the repairs, estimate the cost and ask them to take that amount off the total. Solid facts about the quality and condition of the home can give you valuable bargaining power.
- Know What You’re Buying
In the end the most important reason to have a home inspection before you buy is to really know what you’re buying. Research your potential home like you would any other major purchase. The more you know, the fewer surprises there will be down the road. Home inspectors can help you make a decision based on your current budget as well as your future time and money investment.
- Provides An “Out”
One of the biggest challenges that is faced during a real estate transaction is the home inspection phase. Many transactions will not be able to move forward after a home inspection for various reasons. The biggest reason a transaction doesn’t move forward is because a buyer and seller cannot agree on the repairs requested or the renegotiation’s from the inspection.
There are some circumstances where a buyer does not feel comfortable with the findings from the home inspection and will not proceed with the transaction, no matter what concessions and repairs are offered from a seller. The home inspection, in most cases, provides an “out” for a buyer if they are not comfortable, which is another reason for having a home inspection when buying a home. While it is rare that a buyer gets “cold feet” after an inspection, it does happen.
As you can see, having a home inspection is highly recommended when buying a home, for the many reasons listed above. While a home inspector is not perfect and can miss issues during a home inspection, they are going to inspect the home in much more detail than you and your real estate agent did during your initial visit.
Just like you should interview a buyer’s agent when buying a home, you should contact potential home inspectors to ask them questions. Some questions and things you should consider asking a home inspector include:
- Can you provide references or testimonials?
- Can I be at the home inspection?
- What does your inspection include?
- Can you send me a sample of your inspection report?