When the housing market is on fire, one of the biggest challenges you’ll face – besides getting a seller to accept your offer – is doing your best to avoid getting burned in the process. It’s inevitable that issues will arise when you’re trying to close a deal and, when the pressure is on, you may be tempted to take shortcuts or bypass various aspects of the home-buying process.
One of those aspects is a home inspection. A good home inspection is more than just about providing peace of mind. It’s a complete interior and exterior inspection of a house – from top to bottom. It can literally mean the difference between acquiring the home of your dreams or being saddled with a money pit.
As a general rule, if you’re thinking of buying a home, your plans should include a home inspection. If the seller is really serious about selling, and has nothing to hide, they should have no problem agreeing to your terms – even in a hot housing market.
Don’t confuse a pre-list inspection with a home inspection. The first one is simply an inspection of the home before it gets listed. It uncovers trouble spots or deficiencies that should either be flagged or repaired by the seller.
It’s up to the seller to disclose what has shown up on a pre-list inspection and how those items have been addressed. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that a pre-list inspection benefits the seller while a home inspection benefits the buyer.
A home inspection scopes out the condition of your home – not just the inside and outside but also the interior workings of the house, such as electrical, plumbing, heating and ventilation systems.
A well-done home inspection will help identify a number of potential issues – from cracks in the foundation to water damage or improperly installed wiring. Knowing what those issues are ahead of time – before you agree to purchase – can also help in negotiations and, ultimately, aid in your decision to move ahead with the real estate transaction.
Reasons For Getting A Home Inspection
- You can budget accordingly for repairs should anything major come up;
- You can find out if there are any problems with pests such as rodents or insects;
- You can be assured that there are no outstanding safety concerns;
- You are made aware of illegal or improper installations, additions or renovations;
- Your insurance company or the conditions of sale have mandated that the inspection be completed.
If Major Issues Are Revealed
If something major comes up during the home inspection, you have a few options.
- You can negotiate a lower price, based on the appraised cost of repairs that are needed.
- If time and budget allow, you could call in another company to conduct a follow up inspection and get a second opinion.
- Depending on the terms of the sale, you could ask that the seller make the repairs or fix the outstanding issues prior to closing.
- Ultimately, if the issues that have been identified are deemed to be substantial, complex or costly, you can choose to walk away from the pending deal.
Buying a home is one of the largest, most significant financial decisions you will ever make. You owe it to yourself to make sure that what you’re buying is going to be worth what is being paid for. A good home inspection can ensure peace of mind while setting the stage for a smoother, less stressful home-buying journey.
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