Shopping for a new home can be an exciting blur of listings, neighborhood scouting and open houses. There’s so much to consider! You want a house in the perfect neighborhood with that gorgeous kitchen and great yard, all within your budget. And then, it all finally comes together and you think you’ve found your dream home. But don’t go “under contract” just yet! Before you officially become the new owner of the house, learn all you can about its general condition by having a home inspection.
A home inspection can set you back several hundred dollars, but it can easily save you thousands down the line. The inspector carefully examines the entire house and checks its systems, structure, and equipment for functionality and potential problems. Having an inspection contingency in your contract gives you a way to opt out even after you are officially under contract.
Here are some reasons you don’t want to skip a home inspection:
Find deal-breakers. A house may look fantastic, yet have major issues with wiring, roof, HVAC, plumbing, and more. A quality home inspection gives you the inside scoop. You might want to back out of the deal if the inspection reveals any large problems that may take heavy work or expensive repairs – or ask the seller to fix the problems before the closing date if you like the home too much to back away. Sellers sometimes agree to cover any major repairs or to offer the buyer a credit toward overseeing the repairs themselves.
Safety concerns. An inspection can reveal the presence of harmful substances like radon, carbon monoxide, and mold. Look for these hazards before the home is officially yours. You do not want any unpleasant surprises after it is too late.
Anticipate future costly repairs. A professional inspector can determine the age and condition of the home’s systems and equipment, and then forecast when repair or replacement may be needed. This might not be a big enough deal for you to back out of the contract, but it can help you budget for a major repair several years down the line. Alternatively, you may be able to use it for price negotiation.
Reveal illegal additions. An inspection checks for rooms, garages, and basements that were added or finished without following legal codes or obtaining the proper permits. Having an illegal addition in your home means owning property that does not officially exist. This can get you into trouble with home insurance and property taxes. It can also make it difficult to do more work on these areas in your home. You can ask the seller to obtain the proper permits if a home inspection reveals any illegal additions. This information can be used as a bargaining chip.
Obtain insurance easily. Lots of home insurance companies do not insure a home if it has not undergone a certified inspection because they do not want to take a chance covering a home that is going to need costly repairs in the near future.
Learn how to protect your investment. If possible, arrange to follow the inspector around the home as they complete the job. They are an invaluable source of information to you by providing tips and knowledge on how best to maintain your home, its systems, and its equipment. Knowing how to properly care for your home can save you thousands of dollars over the years.
Negotiate. Most home inspections reveal several problems. You can use them as bargaining chips to renegotiate the purchasing price of the home if these problems are minor enough to keep you interested in buying the house in its present condition.
It’s never a good idea to skip a home inspection no matter how perfect your dream home looks.