5 Reasons You Should Always Have Home Inspections Before You Buy
If you’re a first-time home buyer, you may not be aware of the many costs associated with purchasing property. In addition to the price tag on the house itself, you’ll find yourself on the hook for closing costs, fees, and a home inspection. Even if you’ve previously bought a home and you’re looking to trade up or move on, you might not completely understand why you have to pay for some of the services linked to buying a home. While you probably understand the need for an appraisal (after all, you don’t want to purchase a home at the seller’s price only to discover it’s worth a lot less), you may question why you’re being asked to pay for a home inspection. If the house is up to code and the current owners have already completed an inspection to get it ready for sale, why should you have to go through the inspection process, as well? In truth, there are plenty of good reasons to shell out the relatively modest sum associated with a professional home inspection (a few hundred dollars, as opposed to the hundreds of thousands to buy the house). Here are a few that could change your mind.
- Get a loan. Most banks require a thorough home inspection before they’ll approve your loan application. The reason is that they’re taking a risk so that you can make an investment. If the house ends up falling apart, you can simply jump ship, so to speak. Although you may have to file for bankruptcy in the process, you can get out scot-free while the bank is left holding the bag for a home that is virtually unsalable. In short, they want to protect their investment. If you bail on your loan payments, they want a property they can sell in order to recoup their costs. It is for this reason that you generally have to agree to let the bank select the home inspector, even though you still have to pay for the service.
- New doesn’t mean problem-free. You may balk at having an inspection on a newly constructed property. After all, there have been building inspections galore already. What could an independent home inspector catch that city inspectors missed? You might be surprised. Although the building has passed all codes mandated by the city and county, you could find problems that change your mind about buying the home. For example, many new homes that are sitting empty are a target for thieves looking for copper plumbing and other valuable building materials. If the house has been vacant even for a short while, you want to make sure it’s still intact. And to be honest, some builders are not above making changes after the final building inspection, pulling high-end materials and replacing them with cheaper products.
- The naked eye is not enough. Sure you can walk through a home and probably spot some potential problem areas on your own, especially if you know what you’re looking for. But even if a home looks perfect cosmetically, the glossy exterior could be hiding major issues underneath. If, for example, there has been a roof leak in the home, the owners could just slap on some drywall or a coat of paint to hide the visible signs. But an inspector will go in the attic and find bulging, warping, and dry rot, saving you from buying a home that needs costly repairs.
- Bargaining power. You obviously want to pay the lowest price possible for a property, and you certainly don’t want to pay full market value for a home that is going to require expensive repairs. By hiring a home inspector you can determine whether the property is worth the asking price. If not, you’ll have the ammunition you need to negotiate for a better deal.
- Trust a pro. You want to believe homeowners when they say they’ve maintained their property, but their idea of upkeep may be very different from your own. And even if they’re smart enough to reveal problems as part of disclosure, they’re likely to downplay them. So you need to go in with a home inspector to get a look for yourself and make sure you and the seller see eye to eye. Whether you hire a certified inspector from All-American Home Services Inc. or you let your lender choose a vendor, getting a professional opinion on the state of a property will almost certainly determine whether or not you want to make an offer, and what that offer might be.