Most of my clients want an inspection but every so often I get this question. It usually comes from someone who is fairly handy and does a good job of looking at the home prior to buying it. However, I still think an inspection is one of the cheapest ways to ensure you are getting a good home and not a money pit.
I recently was watching an episode of Income Property on HGTV and during the episode, the contractor found so much mold and about a dozen dead birds in one of the basement closets. I had to ask myself, did the buyers not have the home inspected when they bought it? I know that when you buy a home, between down payment, closing costs, and home owners insurance that one more item to pay for can really stretch your money. But, for about $250 to $350 you can get peace of mind.
Currently one of the inspectors that I use, Rob Rehm, who sometimes is a ghost writer for me on this blog has a $100 off coupon for my clients or a free radon test. This makes the price even better for clients.
I also hear this question when a client is building new construction. They think it is new so what could be wrong. Again, I will tell you that the builders out there (and many of them are excellent) build according to city code and BAGI standards, but they sometimes do miss things. We are all human after all. I think a second pair of “trained eyes” is worth the dollars it costs.
Inspectors typically will walk a roof, pull the electrical door off the panel to have a look, evaluate crawl spaces, run faucets and other areas to ensure no leaking is present, check for mold (not through a test but again through their trained eye) and look over the foundation, chimney and other prime areas where money can be spent to fix things. They provide a detailed report with pictures categorizing the items into Major Concerns and Consideration Items.
The two best questions to ask an Inspector during an inspeciton are
- What happens if that doesn’t get fixed?
- What is it likely to cost to fix it?
With those answers you will be in a good position to negotiate what items you want fixed prior to closing. I would recommend that all items be repaired PRIOR to closing. There is the option of escrowing the money for the repair vendor, but what if the repair ends up costing more. The seller will likely not pay additional monies after it is closed and you the buyer will end up paying for it.
As part of our First Time Buyer’s Class, we have Rob at our meeting. He spends about 20 minutes going over the inspection process and gives out a sample report. He along with me and a lender spend about an hour educating first time buyers how to approach the home buying process. We have them each month typically on the last Thursday of the month. We hope to see you there!