Finding the right home for you and your family is an exciting, though sometimes tiring, adventure. You're searching for a style you love, the right amount of bedrooms and bathrooms, and the perfect location, all because you want to find your ideal home. But what if, in all that excitement, you bought a house that had underlying issues you couldn't see for yourself? It sure would dampen the mood, and possibly your bank account.
Before closing on that dream home, get your prospective home professionally checked by a home inspector to make sure there aren’t any issues. With that, it's important to know that all inspectors aren't created equal, especially when few states regulate or license home inspectors.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
First and foremost, your realtor should recommend a home inspector you can trust. But just like inspectors that recommend contractors to work on your house, you should always do some research yourself.
For example, when looking through potential inspectors, it's OK to ask for sample reports they've done in the past. Based on the length of their past reports alone, you'll be able to determine if they provide comprehensive reports that highlight and address defects or problems, or if they're just "kicking the tires." A solid report rests somewhere between 20-50 pages. It's also OK to find out how long, on average, their inspections take. An inspector that is taking his/her time will average about three hours, depending on the size of the house. The more they rush the less likely they are to diagnose any problems.
Finally, if an inspector does make note of a problem, and the seller agrees to repair it before the purchase occurs, a good inspector will return to verify that the repair has been made, without charging for a re-inspection. Again, if you simply accept the seller's word that the problem has been fixed, you run the risk of it not getting done correctly, or simply not done at all.
What You Should Know About the Inspection
Knowing what your inspector is looking for can give you a better understanding of current or future problems. Without getting in the inspectors way, use this opportunity to ask him/her questions, particularly when it comes to defects or actionable items you should know about.
This will help you, especially as a first-time homebuyer, when it comes to understanding routine maintenance that helps to keep your house in tip-top shape. Inspectors can also help you understand where any safety issues or defects lie, and what needs to be replaced or serviced and when.
The bottom line is that finding a great home inspector can take time, and cost a bit more money, but if they're able to save you money in the long run, or keep you extra safe in that beautiful new house, you'll be glad you put in the additional bit of work. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you find your dream home.
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