Buying a house involves purchasing the services of several professionals: lawyer, Realtor, appraiser, mover, etc. So the last thing you may want to do is hire another professional. However, hiring a home inspector is absolutely essential if you want to make sure you’re getting a quality home that won’t constantly surprise you with ongoing repair costs. In making an offer on a house, most Realtors will recommend that you make the deal conditional on a home inspection.
There are several reasons why this is an excellent idea:
- The inspector will examine all visible and accessible areas, and provide a report outlining any health and safety concerns, current and ongoing maintenance requirements, and the condition of roof, foundation, walls, windows, doors, insulation, basement/crawlspace/attic, electrical, plumbing, heating/cooling, appliances, and more.
- Chances are you don’t have the technical skill to evaluate all these systems yourself. But even if you do, you may be emotionally invested in the house, which can influence your judgement. Much better to leave it to an objective professional.
- You can accompany the inspector, so you see everything with your own eyes and become familiar with the house.
- Because your purchase offer is conditional on a satisfactory inspection, you have options if the inspection doesn’t meet your expectations. You can back out of the deal without penalty, you can negotiate a lower price with the seller, or you can ask the seller to make the repairs.
However, keep in mind the realities of an inspection report. No home is perfect. Even though there may be 50 issues listed, that doesn’t mean the home isn’t worth buying. Rarely is there an obvious “pass” or “fail”. You have to weigh all the facts and use your judgment whether to buy or not. Inspection reports aren’t warranties. They’re only a snapshot in time, and other problems may still develop over time.
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