Most buyers make their offer to purchase a property contingent upon a complete home inspecton…for good reason. If you are like most people, buying a home is the biggest single investment you will ever make. It makes sense to protect that investment by having a qualified, professional inspector take an in-depth, unbiased look at your new home before you buy.
A professional home inspection will:
- Evaluate the structure, construction and mechanical systems
- Identify items that need to be repaired or replaced
- Help you know what to expect in terms of maintenance and repairs by assessing the useful life of the major systems, equipment, structure and finishes
- Provide an education on home ownership for first-time homebuyers
- Click here for a detailed list of what you can expect your buyer’s inspection to include
The inspection is usually completed within a week of coming to an agreement on a property. Plan on 2-4 hours for a complete inspection. If the property has been winterized, as is often the case with foreclosure properties, be sure to include as part of your offer that the seller agrees to de-winterize the property prior to the inspection. You don’t want to move in and find out that pipes are broken…or even missing!
Although both the inspection and report can vary from inspector to inspector, you should receive a detailed report following the inspection. It could range from a report of a few pages that you get at the house right after the inspection…to an extensive report of 50+ pages including photos that you can access online the morning following the inspection.
After reviewing the report you have three options: (1) accept everything as is and proceed to closing; (2) ask the seller to fix specific things prior to closing or give a price allowance for you to have them fixed after closing; or (3) cancel the purchase and have your earnest money refunded.
With so many foreclosure and short sale properties on the market, it’s important to know that option (2) above is not an option with those purchases. When a bank is involved, you are buying the property ‘AS IS’…which means you are buying it ‘warts’ and all. After closing you have no recourse if you find major problems with the property…which makes the inspection even more important to protect you as a buyer. Have the inspection so you make a wise decision on whether or not to buy the property and you know what you’re getting into. Don’t expect them to fix anything.
Sometimes people will not have their offer subject to inspection to make their offer more attractive to sellers, especially when in a multiple offer situation. Sellers like offers that do not involve an inspection but it’s risky for the buyer, especially when buying a property in ‘AS IS’ condition. There are some instances where this makes sense, especially if you are already planning a complete renovation of the property or if the price is low enough and you have the cash available for unexpected problems…but don’t make the decision to buy without an inspection without considering the consequences. Ask yourself if there would be any inspection findings that would make you change your mind about buying the property.
Most property inspections don’t find major problems, but some do. It is your right to be sure before you buy. Click here for information on choosing an excellent home inspector.