Buying a home is a big investment for most people. It is, after all, part of the American Dream. But, what you DON’T know about a house can land you in hot water! With your wife, significant other, and your wallet! You’ve seen the old Tom Hanks movie The Money Pit, right? What a home buying disaster! This isn’t meant to discourage you, though, because there is a way to protect yourself from disaster. A home inspection can help detect past issues with the home, current issues with the home and potential future issues with the home. Let’s look at 4 BIG reasons to have a home inspection completed on a home you’re interested in buying.
To Uncover Potential Problems or Issues
First of all, let’s face it, not all sellers are honest people. Having a home inspection completed on a home you’re interested in buying can help identify potentially problematic areas in the home. The seller may not want to tell you that, 3 years ago, his cousin’s girlfriend’s brother’s best friend was thinking about becoming an HVAC technician and jury-rigged the current system when the heat strips wouldn’t come on one cold winter’s night. And while the house hasn’t burned down….yet….do you really want to buy the house only to find out after the closing that you’re going to have to put in a whole new system?
And secondly, not all sellers have an accurate history of the home they’re selling. The house could have been left to the seller as part of an inheritance and, already having a home of her own, she has simply decided to sell the house. She never lived in it and only has a few records from the past few years. You can’t disclose what you don’t know. Or maybe the house is 50 years old but the current owner has only lived in the home for the past 10 years….and he didn’t keep the records from the person he bought the house from. As a buyer, a home inspection can help determine which components may not have been maintained properly, or may need to be serviced soon.
Furthermore, a home inspection can detect possible insect, termite and safety issues. Sometimes sellers themselves aren’t aware of everything in the home that may need to be addressed prior to selling the home. The presence of termites and insects might go unnoticed depending on where they are going their damage. Small water leaks or condensation issues in the crawl space could go undetected by the current homeowner. A home inspection can shed some light on areas many homeowners fail to maintain….like the crawl space.
Because Looks Can Be Deceiving
Now listen, this goes both ways.
First, the outside of the house could be absolutely stunning! Beautiful brick-work, wonderful covered porches, elaborate arched windows and rooflines to die for! And the house is only 5 years old! BUT…what you don’t see can cause the house of your dreams to become a heartbreaking money pit. That beautiful brickwork is missing weep holes which allow water to flow out from behind the brick. Without weep holes, the water is staying behind the brick and damaging the underlying framing and insulation. And moisture can mean mold issues. Those wonderful covered porches weren’t properly attached to the house and the use of sub-par building materials means the floors of those porches have soft spots. The elaborate arched windows weren’t properly sealed when they were installed leading to potentially more moisture issues. And the rooflines….well, without flashing in the appropriate places, you’d better have a ton of pots and bowls to set out to catch the rainwater when the roof leaks appear! You’ll want to pull your hair out if you buy this house!
But let’s look at this 30 year old house just a few blocks over. It doesn’t look like much on the outside, but the home inspection shows a solid built, well-maintained diamond in the rough! The roof is 2 years old, the HVAC system 3 years old and has a fantastic energy efficiency rating! New double pane windows were installed last year and the electrical system was updated 5 years ago. The plumbing is 7 years old. The home inspection reveals minor issues like the insulation level in the attic needs to be brought to current standards and the entry doors need caulking and weather-stripping. A few other things are listed on the report, but nothing of great cost or cause for alarm.
Negotiating Power is Placed in Your Hands
A home inspection can give you the ability to negotiate the price of the home. Maybe the seller will come down on the price to allow you to make the repairs after closing. Maybe the seller will agree to have the items on the home inspection taken care of before the closing. Either way, you have the knowledge you need to make a better decision about buying the house than you would have without an inspection. Without a home inspection, you might find yourself spending a lot more money making your house truly live-in ready than you were prepared to spend.
For Peace of Mind
Buying a home may very well be the largest investment you make. You want a home that is going to hold up as long as you live there. And while it isn’t realistic to expect no home repairs after you move in, those repairs don’t have to be costly. A home inspection can reveal some potentially expensive repairs before you buy. In the end, a home inspection helps you to know more about what you are buying. A home inspection can help you make the decision to buy based on your budget and future time needed to fix the home. If you’re in a time crunch or know you won’t have much time after the closing to fix the issues before you move in, you now have the option to look at another home.
So, when you’re actively looking for your dream home, don’t forget the importance of having a home inspection conducted on the property. It could save you a lot of headaches down the road! After all, you do want a home SWEET home!