Buying or selling a home is a huge financial decision, whether it is your first home or your fifteenth. Each investment is unique with its own history, charm, and maintenance concerns. While not every home is perfect, some homes can appear beautiful on the surface while hiding dangerous problems just waiting to break.
Home Inspection Tips for Buyers
Buying a new home is a huge financial decision, whether it is your first home or your fifteenth. Each investment is unique with its own history, charm, and necessary maintenance. No house is perfect. It’s good to keep things in perspective. However, some homes may appear cosmetically beautiful on the surface, disguising potential safety concerns or needed repairs.
A certified and experienced home inspector is a great asset during the home buying process. Even if you find a great deal on a house in your ideal neighborhood, you would be wise to hire a certified home inspector to take a second look.
Here are our top 3 home inspection tips for buying a house:
1. Don’t Skip the Home Inspection
If you think skipping the home inspection is going to save you money, keep reading. A home inspection can actually save you money in several ways:
- You’ll know exactly what you’re buying and if you should expect any major future expenses, such as replacing a roof within a few years.
- You’ll have the confidence to walk away from a deal if a serious issue is found; or you may choose to proceed, but fully informed of what you’re investing in.
- If you do move forward on a house in need of major repairs, you can use the findings in the home inspection report to negotiate a lower cost.
Hiring a reputable home inspector will help you proceed through your transaction with confidence and peace of mind.
2. Choose your Home Inspector Wisely
Hiring a qualified home inspector is a great way to protect your investment. No two home inspectors are alike. Some home inspectors crawl through the crawl space, others don’t. Some inspectors peer into the attic from the access door, while others traverse to every corner of the attic. Some inspectors finish an inspection in 2 hours, while others are more thorough and take upwards of 4 hours to inspect an average size house. In addition, every home inspector offers different ancillary services and prices their home inspection differently.
Having a home inspection is crucial to a buyer’s decision-making process because it gives you a clear picture of the condition of your potential investment. Choosing the right home inspector will give you a better understanding of the state of the home and how much you can expect to spend on upkeep and repairs.
3. Ask Questions
Your home inspector is there to help you make sure you’re purchasing a high-quality house that’s free of major defects, so ask any questions that you have! A good home inspector will be happy to answer any and all of your questions.
Here are a few questions to ask your home inspector:
- What kind of maintenance will this home require?
It’s really important to remember that, just like a car requires regular maintenance to avoid costly repairs, your home will too!
- What are you most concerned about?
It is normal to feel uneasy when items are called out in the inspection report. You’ll be surprised to hear that most houses have similar issues and that they’re usually not deal breakers. Remember, no home is perfect and every home requires maintenance and repairs as time goes by.
Be mindful of the common temptation to focus on minor cosmetic issues. Focus on the most critical aspects of the home that could be expensive to repair or replace like the electrical, plumbing, or underlying structure. Leverage the expertise of your home inspector by asking questions, so that you feel informed to make a sound decision and equipped to take great care of your largest investment.
Home Inspection Tips for Sellers
If you’re selling your house, you might be wondering how to prepare for the home inspection process. We all know the perfect home doesn’t exist. A home that has been lived in usually has some damage or needed repairs, and they may not be visible to the untrained eye. That’s why buyers typically hire a professional home inspector before buying a house.
For sellers, having a clear understanding of the home inspection process and preparing your home for the day of the inspection will not only help the transaction go more smoothly, it can even help protect the deal!
Here’s our top 3 tips to prepare you for your home inspection and prevent the buyer from backing out of the purchase.
1. Consider a Pre-Listing Inspection
Avoid surprises by getting a pre-listing inspection. At first mention, this may sound like a waste of money, but consider these advantages:
- A pre-listing inspection can reduce the stress of selling your home. You have the advantage of discovering problems in advance with ample time to obtain reasonable repair estimates and fix what is necessary at your convenience. You can also decide not to make repairs but disclose them to the buyer upfront. This demonstrates to the buyer that you’re dealing in good faith and it builds trust.
- Get top-dollar for your home! If you get your home inspected prior to listing, you’ll know exactly what condition it’s in and what repairs need to be made. Budget these costs ahead of time and repair what you can to avoid giving the buyer reasons to negotiate a lower selling price.
- Speed up the sales process. Nothing drags out home deals like finding unexpected issues during the buyer’s inspection. Having a pre-listing inspection allows you to fix any issues ahead of time or disclose them upfront so there are no surprises.
Selling your home is stressful, but you can limit the level of stress by being prepared. A pre-listing inspection makes the process a lot easier.
2. Know What to Expect
A home inspector evaluates the overall condition of the home at the time of the inspection to ensure that its major systems and components are installed and working properly. Some of these include:
- Electrical systems
- Plumbing systems
The home inspector evaluates the condition and quality of the home objectively and then documents those findings in a report.
Prior to the home inspection, it wouldn’t hurt to go around your house and look for anything that needs minor repair. Get your appliances and major systems serviced to ensure they’re in good shape. Some due diligence here could mean you’ll have less to worry about come inspection time and it will show the buyer that the home has been well maintained.
3. Avoid Common Deal Breakers
There are a multitude of reasons why some home deals fall through, but many of them can be avoided. Here are some common examples of scenarios that cause a buyer to back out of a deal and what a home seller can do to prevent it.
- Structural issues
- Overcome potential objections by disclosing structural issues upfront prior to listing the home and set the selling price accordingly.
- Check for moisture in your basement. Make sure downspouts extend at least 4 ft to direct run-off water away from your home’s foundation. Lastly, The grading around your house should slope away from the perimeter by 1/2 inch per foot for 6-10 feet to protect your home structure from moisture.
- Safety Issues
- Make the necessary repairs to ensure your home has no safety hazards.
Test for radon, possibly mold if suspected, and if necessary, hire a mitigation company.
- Pest Problems
- Before putting your home on the market, check thoroughly for any signs of mice, ants, or other pests that may be inhabiting your home. If you happen to find any bugs or critters, hire an exterminator or pest control company immediately.
Selling your home is a big life decision and process, but it doesn’t have to be a hassle. Avoid these common mistakes and you might close the deal faster than you thought was possible.
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