Nine times out of ten, a home inspection is a waste of money. The problem is, if you’re that 10th buyer, a home inspection can save you thousands of dollars, extensive repairs, or influence your decision to purchase a home.
Having watched hundreds of home inspections take place over the years, here are my top 5 things that you should always do as a buyer.
1. Hire the right inspector.
Get the names of 2-3 local home inspectors and google them. Read their reviews. Don’t be afraid to interview them over the phone before you choose one
Make sure you hire an inspector that carries the following tools. Without these, the inspector may miss critical issues.
- Non invasive moisture meter
- Carbon Monoxide/combustible gas meter
- Arc fault/ground fault testers
- Temperature gun – tests air conditioners and refrigerators
- Drywall electrical tester – can see wires behind walls
- Thermal imaging gun – energy use auditing
If you don’t already have an inspector in mind, contact me and I can recommend one.
2. Attend your inspection.
As a buyer, a home inspection is your opportunity to learn about your new house. Home inspections take a minimum of 2 hours but usually not more than 3 hours. Bring your check book as the inspector gets paid on the spot.
The price and amount of time an inspection takes will depend on the size of the house. The bigger the house the more it will cost and the longer it will take. On average, a home inspection in our area will cost between $300.00 and $400.00.
3. Focus on the big stuff.
Keep a copy of your inspection report. Use it as your checklist of things to work on after you move in.If the inspector finds a big problem, call in a specialist and get a quote to fix it. A home inspector knows a little bit about everything, but is not a specialist in any one particular thing. What they think may cost thousands of dollars may be a simple fix. Besides, it is always worth getting a second opinion.
NOTE: beginning January 1 2017, all lenders on any type of home loan (conventional, FHA, VA and RD) in Genesee County require a water test, not just the ones in the City of Flint. A water test can easily be done by your inspector. If you don’t have a water test during inspection, you will need to hire a separate company to do the water test which can delay the closing. Homes that do not pass a water test will require remediation before a lender will consider the loan.
4. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Only concern yourself with health and safety issues and/or deal breakers. Sellers will not repair “cosmetic” items that were obvious during the showing.
Do not make instant decisions about the results of the inspection. Sleep on it and then report to your Realtor what issues you cannot live with. Let him/her negotiate for you a satisfactory outcome.
5. Negotiating a final price.
Large repairs shouldn’t stop you from buying a house, but they should either be fixed prior to closing or be reflected in the final selling price.
If a house needs a major repair, do not panic…EVERYTHING can be repaired or fixed prior to the closing. However, don’t expect the seller to fix something that works, no matter how old it is. If a mechanical items or appliance is at the “end of their life span” but are still working properly, you can ask the Seller to provide a home warranty. This may put your mind at ease if it fails in the first year.