Buying a home is a big investment (if not the biggest) and the last thing you want is to end up with a dud. Like any first-time home buyer, the excitement when scouring through the listings can be overwhelming. Soon, you’ll find there’s so much to be done, and the excitement quickly turns to anxiety. In this rollercoaster of emotions, many homebuyers end up making a poor choice. One way to avoid getting a lemon in first-time home buying is emphasizing professional home inspection.
No, a home inspection isn’t a casual tour by your friend of that beautiful home. Instead, this is a comprehensive examination of your potential new home’s physical structures and major home systems. Now, let’s delve further into the gist of home inspection, the benefits, what to expect during key must-check areas, and how to leverage the home inspection report to get a better deal.
Importance of a Home Inspection
A home inspection thoroughly examines the home’s structure, systems, and components to identify any issues that may need repair or replacement. This stage in the home-buying process gives a first-time home buyer a clear understanding of the condition of that potential home.
Ignoring a home inspection is one of the biggest mistakes in first-time home buying. This is how you may end up with a lemon. If you have listened to those horror stories from home buyers, you’ll likely find they waived a home inspection or overlooked the report. Well, you don’t want to be the one giving traumatic home-buying experiences some years down the line, do you?
In summary, a home inspection helps you with the following:
- To make an informed decision about whether or not to purchase
- To identify potential problems with your potential first home
- To minimize repairs needed after closing
- To smoothen the buying process
- To give you leverage during negotiations if structural or other damages are found
A beautifully staged home may look perfect on the surface, but it could hide many problems that could cost you thousands of dollars in repairs. When we shopped for our first home, we identified myriad issues glossed over with beautiful paint and plaster. This has made me an advocate of home inspection; after all, you even get a chance to negotiate the offer or you have a good reason to walk away from the deal!
What to Expect During a Home Inspection
A home inspection may take a few hours to complete. A homebuyer arranges and pays for the inspection. During the inspection, a licensed home inspector assesses the functionality of the heating and cooling system, plumbing and sewage system, and electrical works.
Also, the inspector will look for any signs of damage or wear and tear, such as foundation cracks, plumbing leaks, or faulty wiring. They will check for any safety hazards, such as mold, asbestos, or radon.
After the inspection, you’ll get a detailed report of their findings. These will help you decide whether to move on to closing, renegotiate the sale price, request repairs, or back out of the deal.
5 Must-Check Areas During Your First Home Inspection
When it comes to home inspection, there are five must-check areas that you should pay special attention to. Let’s take a look:
The roof is one of the most essential parts of the home, as it protects the rest of the structure from the elements. A damaged or leaking roof can cause severe problems down the line, so it’s important to have it inspected thoroughly. The inspector will check for signs of damage or wear, such as missing shingles, cracks, or leaks.
The foundation is the base of the home, and any issues with it can cause serious structural problems. The inspector will check for cracks, settling, or other signs of damage that could compromise the structure’s integrity.
The plumbing system is responsible for bringing water into the home and removing waste. The inspector will check for leaks, clogs, and other issues that could cause water damage or sewage backups.
- Electrical Systems
The electrical system is responsible for providing power to the home. The inspector will check for faulty wiring, outdated components, and other issues that could pose a safety hazard.
The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is responsible for heating and cooling the home. The inspector will check for proper system function, age, and maintenance and add the findings to the inspection report.
What to Do If You Find Issues During Your Home Inspection
If the home inspection uncovers any issues, you have a few options. Typical defects that are also costly include:
- Leaks: Foundation cracks or faulty plumbing, roofing, and gutter issues can all cause house leaks. You might have to overhaul the plumbing system.
- Mold: Mold is a major health hazard in a home and a primary concern to look out for in your home inspection report.
- Electrical faults: Efficient supply of electrical power is not only convenient but also safe. An outdated electrical system puts your family at risk and may require costly repairs to avert safety hazards.
With the inspection report, you can negotiate with the seller for repairs before you close on the home. The report can also give you leverage to renegotiate before closing, or you can decide to leave the deal. While a home inspection is crucial, this is not a pass-or-fail test but a tool to help you make an informed decision about the home.
How to Negotiate with the Seller after the Home Inspection
So you have the inspection report, and there are issues with your target first home. What to do? If you decide to negotiate with the seller, first understand the issues emerging from the report and the cost of repairs. This is where the role of a qualified real estate agent comes in handy. The best real estate agent guides you through this process to ensure you get the best deal.
Common Home Inspection Mistakes to Avoid
A home inspection makes all the difference when shopping for your first home. Some common pitfalls to avoid when it comes to home inspections include:
- Hiring an unqualified home inspector to save on cost
- Waving the inspection contingency
- Failing to attend the home inspection to ask questions and get a better understanding of the issues
- Skimming through the inspection report
- Not having negotiated repairs inspected
So, you have your eyes on that beautiful home? But have you considered what lies beneath the nicely painted walls? For such a huge investment, there can be no taking chances here. A home inspection is a critical step in home-buying and makes all the difference. This is the only way to avoid getting stuck with a lemon. Paying attention to the five must-check areas during your first home inspection gives you crucial information to determine how good the home is. Well, this is just one of the many tips in the long-winding home-buying process.
To learn even more about home inspections and other aspects of first-time home buying, check out the best first-time home buying course in town!