Home Inspection Tips when Buying a Home
You’re this close to buying a home. You’ve put in an offer, the seller has accepted, so what’s next? In many cases, the home inspection. In your excitement to become a homeowner, the inspection might seem like something you can skip. Don’t — an inspection can reveal things about the home or property that may make you want to walk away. Home inspection tips can help the process go more smoothly and can help you avoid buying a house that has lots of expensive problems.
Find a Qualified Inspector
Your home inspection is only going to be as good as the person you hire to inspect it. One of the most important home inspection tips to pay attention to is to hire a qualified inspector. Don’t just go with the person the seller recommends. Ask around and get recommendations from people you trust. Then, make sure the inspector is a member of a professional organization, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors, which requires members to pass an exam. You also want to make sure your inspector has a license, which means he or she has performed a certain number of supervised inspections and passed an examination.
Be There, and Ask Questions
You don’t have to be at the inspection, but it’s a good idea to attend. If you aren’t there, you’re giving up the chance to learn more about your potential home and to ask any questions about potential issues with the property. An inspector might not be able to tell you “don’t buy this home,” but he or she is able to help you see if the property has certain issues that will make its cost of ownership considerably more than you had expected.
What type of questions should you ask during the inspection? If an inspector is looking at an area and you don’t understand what the issue is, ask. You can also ask what a particular problem means for you and the home and what it will cost to fix.
A basic home inspection looks at the plumbing, the electrical, the roof, and the home’s structure. But don’t be afraid to dig deeper and order additional inspections to be on the safe side. If you’re buying an older home, it might be a good idea to order a lead paint test and to test for mold. A water test can also be a good idea, to make sure there aren’t high levels of mold, lead, or other contaminants in the water. Although the city’s water is regularly tested and treated, there’s the chance that older pipes in the home can contaminate the water as it flows out of the tap.
Don’t Assume “New” Means You Can Skip an Inspection
Your town might have plenty of older or historic homes. But it also has plenty of new construction. It’s easy to assume that because a home is new, it will be problem-free. Sadly, that’s not the case. A newly constructed home can have issues, too — even if it meets all the city’s codes and requirements. It’s better to err on the side of caution than to risk buying a new house that has structural issues.
What happens if your home inspection turns up a considerable number of concerns? You have a few options. You probably had a contingency clause built into your offer, which means you can walk away without consequence and find another house. Or you can negotiate with the seller to cover the costs of correcting any issues before you buy the home.