A home inspection will give you a chance to discover more about the home before you purchase it. In case there are serious problems with the foundation, roofing, plumbing, mold issues, or underground leaks, you will be prepared to address repairs, ask for a price reduction, or walk away from the property.
The Importance Of Home Inspections
Finding a home does not mean that your investigative duties are over. Although most states do not have required inspections, your lender may require at the very least a pest inspection that will need to be conducted before they agree to approve your mortgage loan. If you are buying with an FHA or VA loan the lender will require that the property gets an inspection. If there are termites or other insects, the homeowners will have to take care of the problem before they sell the home. If the roof has a leak, it will need to be repaired.
But what about full home inspections? Are they worth it? In most cases, the answer is yes. Although you will have to pay for a home inspection, it may save you a lot of money in the long run.
A thorough home inspection will include checking the following:
- A/C and Heating
If you are buying a new or used home, it is best to have a home inspection before signing the final paperwork. Once the inspection report comes back, you will the opportunity to ask the homeowners for a price reduction, go ahead and buy the home anyway, or ask the homeowners to make the necessary repairs.
You will receive a varied reaction from homeowners. Many times, they will agree to lower the price a little.
When drawing up an initial offer for the purchase of the home, you should include a statement that allows you to withdraw your bid if any repairs are not taken care of or the price is not lowered due to the findings by the home inspector.
In the event that the agreement does exclude this, at that point you can, in any case, pull back from the offer, however, you may owe the specialist commission expenses.
Having a home examination will give you significant serenity when you are purchasing a home. Since you will take out a home loan, it is critical to recognize what you will purchase, and the measure of cash you should contribute in the wake of obtaining the home.
A home examination will likewise enable you to settle on your official choice whether to buy the home or to continue searching for another.
How To Find A Home Inspector
There are a few places to turn to when looking for a home inspector:
- Your real estate agent
- References from friends and family
- The phone book, and
Ask around and see if you can get references of other homeowners that will give you a good report. Many home inspectors work freelance and only work certain days during the week. They are trained in-home inspection and many are retired contractors, builders, electricians, and plumbers who know what they are looking for.
When you find a few home inspectors, give them a call and ask the following questions:
- How long have you been inspecting homes?
- How much do you charge per hour?
- What do you look for when inspecting a home?
- What types of reports should I expect?
- What days during the week are you available?
- Do you offer septic system inspections?
- What type of licensing do you have?
A thorough home inspection should take an inspector about three hours to complete. This will give you an idea of how much the inspection will cost.
Once you have asked these questions, find out if your lender has specific inspections that the home must pass before you will receive a home loan.
If the inspector can complete these inspections along with the home inspection, then it is worth the time and the money to have the inspector complete all inspections on the same day.
The next step after choosing an inspector and finding out which inspections will be needed by your lender is to make sure the homeowners will be home for the inspection. Usually, your agent will arrange a time for the inspector to perform the inspection.
It is up to you if you would like to be present for the inspection or not. Many times, the reports will be enough to give you a clear idea of what needs to be done. After the inspection is complete and the reports have been completed, it is up to the homeowners to either make the repairs necessary or lower their asking price.
If the repairs are minor and will not require too much money to repair, they will usually agree to make the repairs. If you would like to absorb the costs of the repairs, then you can offer to do so.
You should receive this decision in writing so that there is no confusion during the final walk-through before the closing. At the closing, you should have all of your paperwork, including the home inspection reports with you in case there is a discrepancy.
What To Expect From A Home Inspection
A home inspection can unearth many problems you did not notice during your visits to the home. Typical findings include:
- Crumbling foundation
- Structural damage to floors, walls, and ceilings
- Water damage inside and outside the walls
- Termite damage
- Porch railings or posts in poor condition
- Heating and cooling systems need to be cleaned or do not work properly
- Roof needs repair
- Broken or leaking pipes
- Electrical wiring not functioning or broken
- Broken water fixtures or light fixtures
- Windows that do not open
- Uneven doorways
- Improper insulation
- Water contamination
- Septic tank issues, or
- Hazardous chemicals
Most homes will only experience a few minor issues, but some older homes may have more problems than they are worth.
The damage to the homes could cost you thousands of dollars if you are unaware of the damage prior to purchasing the home.
While disclosure of some problems is mandatory, many homeowners do not even know that some of these problems exist until they try to sell their homes.
On the day of the inspection, you should expect to hear about some problems. You should be given a detailed report of the findings that will outline drastic problems and those that can be fixed easily.
Some lenders will not approve the home loan until the problems are fixed and another inspection is conducted.
Specific Places That Should Be Inspected
When interviewing home inspectors, make sure to ask whether the following areas are inspected:
- Chimney and fireplace
- Attic and basement
- Crawl space
- Swimming pools, and
- Smoke detectors and appliances
These are important areas that can be very costly to repair once you have purchased the home. Many homeowners are willing to replace a chimney cap or remove mold from the basement. You should make sure that these areas are inspected prior to the closing. You should also inspect these areas during the final walkthrough.
Chimney And Fireplace
Inspectors should be looking for:
- Missing, broken, or intact chimney caps
- The mortar between brick chimneys is intact
- Metal chimneys are not bent or contain holes and have all screws in place
- Creosote – this is buildup caused by wood-burning fireplaces and is flammable if not removed
Attic, Basement, And Crawl Spaces
Home inspectors should be on the lookout for the following:
- Fire damage
- Rotting beams
- Damage from water, and
- Damage from animals and pests
When looking at the swimming pool, the inspector should look at the following:
- Swimming pool plumbing, and
- Swimming pool shell
Smoke Detectors And Appliances
- Make sure they work
- No leaks
- Check for broken hoses or connections
- Broken door handles
- Inadequate wiring
A termite investigation is a different assessment that will give you a thought of basic harm to the home that has been brought about by termites and different irritations. This examination is required by most moneylenders before they will promise you the cash to buy the home.
Termite investigations are not secured under the standard expense of a home examination, so you may need to pay for the assessment except if the property holders are eager to do as such.
The investigation should take about an hour and will involve the overseer looking underneath the siding, in storm cellars, upper rooms, and on the establishment of the home to check whether there are termites present or if there are different bugs, for example, ants, or growth that are annihilating the wood.
The controller will likewise lead a review inside the home also. Since termites can live in various climate conditions, you ought to have the examination done regardless of whether you live in a region that has lower temperatures than different districts.
Termites can be expelled utilizing a bug spray that is uniquely intended to execute termites and their eggs, however, the harm deserted can be gigantic. In the event that the home has been plagued for quite a while, at that point, it might be unrecoverable.
You will at that point need to examine a decrease in value, fixes being made to the property, or leaving through and through.
How Homeowners Will React
How the homeowner will react to the results of the home inspection could determine whether you continue pursuing the home or whether you let it go and find another one.
Homeowners have their own agenda when it comes to selling their home. These include:
- Buying another home
- Moving to another state
- Using the money to pay for family medical emergencies
- Retirement, or
- Making money on an investment property
This implies there are fluctuating degrees with respect to what they are happy to pay for and what they are not willing to pay for. On the off chance that the mortgage holder isn’t in a race to sell, at that point they may challenge the discoveries and decline to fix certain things. In the event that they have to get however much cash-flow as could be expected, they may consent to bring down the value a little or make fixes that cost the least on the rundown.
Property holders realize they are going out on a limb when selling more seasoned homes. In any case, shouldn’t something be said about new homes? In the event that your new home doesn’t pass the examination, it is dependent upon the developer to make the vital fixes. You should ensure this is incorporated into the agreement before marking it.
On the off chance that you are purchasing a home that mortgage holders have officially moved out of, you might have the option to get the fixes paid for without being excessively pushy.
On the off chance that the property holders are paying another home loan, they are anxious to sell and may select to pay for the fixes forthright or give you a value decrease.
This will depend on the circumstances. There is always a certain amount of luck that goes into buying a home.
Ways A Home Inspection Can Lower The Final Price
Even though you will have to spend money upfront for a home inspection, you may save more money than you anticipated once the results come back. This is especially true for older homes or new homes that were not built using the right materials or according to safety codes.
There are a few ways you will be able to negotiate a lower price on the home before signing the final contracts.
- Ask homeowners to make repairs
This is the most ideal approach to get a good deal on your new home. While you won’t see a decrease in the last cost of the home, you won’t need to make the same number of fixes not far off. Likewise, you won’t need to stress over the fixes once you have moved into the home.
While all property holders are unique, you ought to know that many would prefer not to make fixes except if the home totally can’t be sold in the condition it is in on the grounds that it will jeopardize the new proprietors. Indeed, even minor fixes may represent an issue for property holders. You ought to be firm, however agreeable when arranging this piece of the agreement. In the event that you would prefer not to make these fixes and you emphatically feel that the fixes ought to be made by the property holder, you can, in any case, leave the home and discover another.
You should allow mortgage holders seven days to consider making the fixes. Most property holders will settle on their choice rapidly in light of the fact that they need the deal to experience.
- Ask homeowners for a price reduction
If the homeowners do not want to spend money on the repairs that you have requested, they may agree to drop the final price of the home. While the price reduction will not be too drastic, any reduction is a good one since you will have to make the repairs yourself down the road.
If the homeowners suggest a reduction in the final price, you should consider the offer and find out how much the repairs will cost you. If it seems like a fair deal, then take it. If not, you can always ask for a larger reduction. Most buyers and sellers eventually agree on a price that will suit both parties.
- Ask homeowners to pay for all closing costs
Another way to save money without relying on the homeowners to pay for the repairs is if they agree to pay the closing costs on both sides. This will free up some of your money so that you can make the repairs yourself.
You may have to have a separate contract drawn up that will explain what the homeowners are responsible for paying, and what you are responsible for paying. This will make buying the home much easier.
Any agreements that you make with the homeowners should be made in writing. Verbal agreements do not stand up in court and are not common practice among real estate lawyers and agents when they are closing a deal. Your agent should make this clear to you at the beginning of the home buying process.
Do not be discouraged if there seems to be a lot of paperwork. This is necessary and the usual standard practice for those who want to protect themselves from wrongdoing and lawsuits later on.
The Final Walkthrough
Upon the arrival of the end, you ought to have a last walkthrough whether you are buying another home or a more established home. Last walkthroughs are a route for you to decide whether there is whatever else you should talk about, get recorded as a hard copy, or have changed before you sign the administrative work.
The last walkthrough will incorporate you, the property holders, realtors, and if vital, your legal counselor. Shockingly, numerous purchasers skirt the last walkthrough fully expecting moving into the home rapidly. In any case, you ought to have one more walk through just certainly.
The advantages of the last walkthrough include:
• Ensuring all fixes that were yielded by the property holders have been made
• Be certain extra fixes are a bit much
• Dividers are flawless
• Pipes is flawless
• Carport entryway opener
• Test entryways and windows
• All apparatuses that were remaining are still in the home
• Apparatuses are in great working condition
• Electrical frameworks are working by turning on all lights
You will feel vastly improved after the last walkthrough for some reasons. You will get the opportunity to see direct the fixes that have been made, you will start to see yourself living in the home, and you will have the option to anticipate the future as far as what you need to keep in the home and what you need to expel.
Now and again, you will never meet the property holders. On the off chance that they have moved before putting the house available, you might manage the property holder’s legal advisor. It is as yet a smart thought to pose inquiries about the home before marking the last desk work.
The closing is your last chance to ask for changes to the contract, to bring up any concerns, and to ask the homeowners any questions you may have about the home and the property.
At the closing, you should bring:
- A notepad
- Financial notes and mortgage approval paperwork
- Signed paperwork you have received over the course of the deal
- Identification, and
- The home inspection report
At this meeting, you will be signing the paperwork that will make the home yours. This is a very exciting time, but you should maintain your composure to make sure that you are getting what you are signing for. If repairs have not been made, then you have the option to wait until they are complete.
When To Walk Away
Any time after the home inspection if you begin to have doubts about purchasing the home, you should contact your real estate agent and voice your concerns.
Many first time homebuyers need reassurance that they are making the right decisions. Your real estate agent will want the sale to go through, but they know that there are other properties they can show you, so they are not really losing money if you decide to not buy the home.
There are many reasons to walk away from a home sale. These include:
- A bad report from the home inspector
- The homeowners are unwilling to pay for necessary repairs
- You find another home that suits your needs
- The price for the home is too high
- You decide you don’t like the neighborhood
- Loss of your job, or
- A medical emergency
Walking away from a home is not giving up on your dream of homeownership. Unfortunately, there are times in life when buying a home is not possible. If the financial strain is going to be too much, for example, then you should seriously consider finding a lower priced home or a smaller home.
If you decide to walk away from a home, you should give yourself a few weeks to recuperate before going out there and finding another home. You should contact:
- The real estate agent
- The lender, or
- The builder
Let them know of your decision and that you will be in touch when the time is right. Many times after a bad report from a home inspector, it is just not worth spending the money on a home that will require a lot of repairs down the road. While all older homes will have some repairs, you should know the limits of what is acceptable and what will cost you too much money.
If you can get enough financing and you want to pursue the home regardless of the repairs that will have to be made, then go for it.
Sometimes buying an older home and fixing it up can be a fun activity for everyone involved. Only you can make these crucial decisions. A home inspection will help you realize how much work and money may be involved if you decide to purchase the home.