The home of your dream hits the market in your favorite neighborhood, and you drop everything to be the first through the door to see this prized jewel. Upon arrival, you want hide the real estate agent’s sign, take their phone and prevent anyone else from making an offer… You walk through the property dazed and inebriated with the giddy desire and anticipation of owning this amazing home, and you turn to your agent and ask, “where do I sign, this is the one?!” You want this house and you are willing to do anything to get it. Great! Anything? Even skipping out on the SO VERY IMPORTANT HOME INSPECTION? As an agent…., I would give you my professional opinion that such a move is ill-advised, reckless, and not in your best interest.
When evaluating whether to hire an engineer, or professional home inspector, let’s first re-examine the basics of why we engage one when buying a single family home. Buyers inspect because whatever might physically go wrong after buying a home is the buyer’s financial problem. Rarely will a seller retain liability for a water heater that breaks down after the closing, or a roof that starts to leak and needs replacement. The analysis is easy: since all the problems of homeownership become your problem once you close, it makes sense to hire a professional to evaluate the systems of the house to see how things look, and figure out what might be on the horizon. Jerry M. Feeney Residential Real Estate Law
That perfect dream home can become a nightmare is in 2 seconds. What happens if you find there is an issue with the electric, plumbing and foundation? What happens if you find the septic is ancient and the roof is even older than that? Before you know it, your dream home is a black hole of despair, and you could have avoided this with a home inspection. It is your due diligence for your own sake to do your homework and be as informed as possible.
It’s easy to prevent the severest home buyer mistake possible, and that is to take the time and a little bit of money, and benefit from the home inspection contingency that is in the body of the Purchase and Sales contract. It is there for a reason. So, unless you are a home inspector or you have working knowledge of the fundamentals of the house structure and all its systems, do not take the chance. The home inspection will give you an immediate understanding of the health and maintenance history, and, or issues with the home. If you don’t care, great. But, at least you know what you are buying. That is the most important part. You Will Know What You Are Buying!
Buyers assume the seller will be more forthcoming about the condition of the home, providing all the details in disclosure paperwork. Even if the seller is completely honest within the confines of the Seller Disclosure, what if there is an existing problem(s) the seller is completely unaware of? Roofs leak and the water maybe running off some place that is not evident at the moment. But a home inspector will check things out to see the conditions and if there are water stains, rot, etc.… But with no home inspection, there will be no investigation. As an agent, I cringe when a buyer talks about not spending the money and it can go towards the money to buy the home or furnishings after the home purchase, etc.… But if you buy a home that has $20,000.00 worth of issues that need to be resolved, and it would have cost you anywhere from $500-$1500 to find this out. You do the math! Spend a small amount of money to find out what the actual condition of the home is in.
Furthermore, if the listing agent is talking about other offers coming in with no inspections contingency, well good for them. But if there is an issue, and those uninformed and crazed buyers do move forward with the purchase and sale of the home, and there is a major issue. Shame on them for not taking the time to do their due diligence, and it could quickly escalate into a law suit. Who needs that? No one!
Protect yourself, protect your money that you have saved in order to even contemplate buying a home. You need to step back and consider the advantages of a home inspection. It can help you with negotiations if something is found that needs to be repaired, is the home up to code and quality? Were permits taken out to do work on the home? Did the homeowner do the work or did they hire a professional? And the inspection will give you an understanding of what home repairs will need to be addressed in the near and far future. This is part of being a home owner, and it needs to be taken seriously.
What should you inspect?
There is a general home inspection that covers the structure of the property and the major systems. So the roof, foundation, electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling systems will be checked, and water quality if it is a well, and the inspector will look for cosmetic or more paramount issues as they walk through and inspect the property.
A general home inspector will advise you to hire licensed professional if they spot a defect that goes beyond their scope of knowledge or experience. You may also seek out specific inspections for a home that may have specific features, such as wells and chimney, septic system, pool, and such. Types of specific inspections you may have performed:
- Hazardous Materials
Taking the necessary precautions when buying your dream home falls on your shoulders. It is your investment. It is your money that you are spending. It is your time and credit that you are jeopardizing if you do not do everything you can to investigate your largest investment. Your agent is there to help guide you and walk you through the process. But it is you that has final say. Be wise and patient. If you are meant to have this home, then the sellers will welcome a buyer that takes their future investment seriously, and takes advantage of the opportunity to find out as much as they can about the home. An informed and prepared buyer is the best buyer. It not only protects you the buyer from future unexpected problems, but it protects the seller from any unwanted issues in the future, after the sale is completed.
Inspect. It is as simple as that.