Buying a home can be both an emotional and financial roller coaster ride which can sometimes cloud our judgement. Once you find that perfect home you have been searching for and get it under contract you immediately begin your due diligence or inspection period and start writing checks for different types of fees (legal, realtor, inspection, etc.). Often buyers are tempted to skip the home inspection and its $200 to $1000 fee, but there are at least ten reasons why you should always get one.
Here are the top ten reasons why you should get a home inspection:
1. Obtaining Insurance
Insurance companies may not insure a home without the presence of a wind mitigation and four-point inspection which can be done in tandem with the property inspection and will often save buyers time and money by getting them all at the same time.
2. Negotiation Tool
A professional home inspection report presents an opportunity to ask for repairs, request a price reduction or a credit from the seller. Work with your Realtor® or real estate agent to understand what reasonable requests can and should be made to negotiate a better deal.
3. Reveal Illegal Additions or Installations
A home inspection can often reveal whether extensions, rooms, altered garages, enclosed florida rooms or other portions of the home were completed without a proper permit or did not follow code. If a property has illegal room additions or un-permitted work it may affect your taxes, insurance, usability and most importantly value of the home as you are essentially paying for something that legally does not exist. If you purchase a property with these issues you as the new homeowner will in essence be taking on the financial property and liability of having to fix these issues.
4. Identify and Determine Deal-Breakers
The process of getting a home inspected often helps buyers identify how much effort and money you are willing to spend to bring the home from its current condition to one that is acceptable to you. If you are unwilling to address the issues that are presented in the inspection report or feel that they are not property priced into the property than you may not be ready to stop searching for the right home.
5. Reveal and Analyze the Bigger Picture
Buyers are often entranced by a property and focus on the color of the walls, the location of the home, or that new claw foot tub while turning a blind eye to the issues that can quickly turn purchasing a dream home into a nightmare. A professional home inspection can identify the nuances of what is likely to be the biggest purchase you ever make.
6. Forecast & Budget Future Costs
The home inspector(s) can approximate the installation age of major systems throughout the house such as HVAC unit(s), appliances, plumbing, fixtures, pool equipment, roof, septic tanks, etc.. Additionally they can diagnose the structure itself and point out the “shelf-life” of the individual components. By thoroughly understanding the “shelf-life” and when item will require replacement are able to make educated budget decisions and better determine what type(s) of home insurance coverage or warranties you should consider.
7. Piece of Mind
Home inspections should be viewed as a critical part of any real estate purchase especially when you are buying an “as-is” foreclosed property, short sale or property which has not been occupied by the owner and does not come with a completed seller’s disclosure. Dwelling which have been vacant for extended periods of time or even boarded up often develop hazardous mold problems which can be costly to remedy and may pose serious health concerns for future occupants. Furthermore these kinds of properties can often be the target and squatters alike which often remove copper piping and HVAC coils in order to sell them to recycling facilities for money.
In additional to simply getting a piece of mind when purchasing a property, home inspections can detect other safety issues such as radon, carbon monoxide, mold, defective drywall and other hazards which may not be detectable to the untrained professional or without property equipment or lab testing.
9. Learn to Protect Your Investment
In additional to receiving a detailed home inspection report from your inspector(s), they can often suggest specific tips on how to property maintain the homes in additional to outlining preventative maintenance that you can perform now that can ultimately salve you thousands of dollars in the long run.
10. The Ability to Back Out of a Contract
An inspection period in your initial purchase contract along with a quality home inspection can not only reveal critical information about the condition of a home and its systems making the buyer aware of what costs, repairs and maintenance the home may require immediately and over time but usually present one last opportunity to back out of the purchase contract.
Lets Bottom Line It
It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to understand as many details as you can about the property you may soon call home. No matter how knowledgeable, experienced, or confident your agent may be it is imperative that you understand that he/she is NOT a licensed home inspector and usually has no prior knowledge of a property’s condition or history even on properties that they list unless otherwise disclosed in writing by the sellers in the seller’s disclosure. Home inspections are outside of their scope of knowledge and the best they can do to assist is recommend at least three local inspection companies for you to call and speak with.
As Alex Tegov, Prestige Waterfront Realty’s managing broker always tells his prospects, customers and clients alike “I sell dozens of homes each year, I buy properties for personal and investment use, own numerous investment properties, even renovate and flip properties, I will always get a home inspection on every property I buy.
Even when the competition for the right home is so fierce that I place offers with no inspection period or finance contingencies to ensure that my offer is selected I will try and keep my initial deposit low and still get a home inspection. No one likes losing money but sometimes you are better off walking away with a small loss than becoming the owner of a property with major issues. That being said, getting an inspection and title insurance are the two things I ALWAYS spend money on”.