Home buying, on an emotional level, can feel eerily similar to love; when we find “the one”, we just know it. We do not want to hear anything negative about our new love and the same goes with opening ourselves up to hearing that our dream home may actually be a nightmare. But when it comes to buying a home, ignorance is not bliss!
Incurring the cost of a home inspection can ultimately save you time, money, and heartache. The home inspection process is designed to help the prospective buyer detect any issues that may be present in the major components and systems of the home. While it is easy to see the visible signs of a problem, such as a leaky faucet or water damage on the ceiling, there is the potential for larger problems to be present without obvious telltale signs. A qualified home inspector can assess the home for current or potential trouble spots that can be identified prior to your signing on the dotted line. In fact, a purchase contract can be written to include a contingency based on the findings of a home inspection.
If you are purchasing a home using your VA benefits, do not confuse the Minimum Property Requirements (MPR) that must be met to qualify for VA financing with the traditional home inspection. While the MPR's are put in place to uncover major issues that may affect the value or safety of the home, they do not dig into the hidden issues that a home insepction will examine.
A thorough home inspection can take up to 2 hours to complete and should include examination of the exterior/interior walls, foundation, grading, garage/carport, roof, plumbing, electrical, heating/air conditioning, water heater, kitchen appliances, laundry room, bathrooms, decks and stairs. Once the inspection is complete a report will be issued that will address any shortcomings found during the examination. The report will quantify those items that are minor defects, major defects or safety issues and whether or not they should be replaced, repaired, or monitored. If possible, a buyer should be present during the home inspection to see the areas of concern first hand rather than in a snap shot photo included with the report.
The terminology, “pass” or “fail” is often used when referring to the outcome of a home inspection. However, Jason Thomas of Ace Quality Home Inspections inNorth Carolina explains, “Failing a home is completely up to the buyer. The buyer makes the decision whether or not the home is right for their family”.
Depending on what the inspection uncovers, the buyer will have the option to ask the seller to make the repairs, reduce the purchase price, or negotiate a cash credit at closing that will cover the expense. As with any negotiation, it is important to have give and take. Carefully consider the items that are easily fixed and be willing to overlook those for some of the larger, more costly items. Neither party to the transaction wants a clogged drain to be a deal breaker.
However, if the inspection reveals major defects, the buyer does have the option to walk away, if their purchase contract was contingent on the results of the home inspection.
“I do believe the sellers should be given a chance to fix a home, but sometimes, I think if your gut tells you to walk away, no matter how much your heart is set on that house, it may be best to let it go.” Thomas says.
Spending a few hundred dollars on a home inspection, along with the other expenses that come with buying a home, may seem like adding insult to injury, but it may be the difference between a money pit and home sweet home.
Click below to download the Top 10 Reason to get a Home Inspection