Whether a suburban masterpiece with a white picket fence, a trendy downtown condo, or a little beach house with an ocean view, finding your dream home is an exciting time. It becomes even more exciting when your offer is accepted and the reality that you are going to be living there sets in. Unfortunately, the purchase process doesn’t end there, and the next step in the process, although optional, is one that can be more important than any other.
Home inspections are not required for the purchase of a house, however are often encouraged because they can save a lot of time and money down the road. A home inspection is a visual observation of the house, during which an inspector will go through the interior and exterior looking for any issues. The inspector will create a report that lists all of the defects and hazardous areas, putting emphasis on safety issues. The most prominent problems they look for are water damage, plumbing problems, issues with the HVAC system, a damaged electrical system, structural or roofing issues, and pest infestation. You may think the home you have put an offer on is as safe as can be but getting it confirmed by the professionals is a good idea for many different reasons.
The first of these reasons is that it provides you with a way to get out of a contract if things are not up to safety standards. For example, many contracts will have a safety hazard clause in them, stating that if gases such as radon or carbon monoxide are detected, the buyer will be allowed to legally cancel the offer.
If you are buying an “as-is” foreclosure, a home inspection is a must. It is very common for houses that have been boarded up to develop severe mold issues and a home inspector can help detect it. It has also been found that many foreclosure properties will be missing outdoor compressors or copper plumbing as these appliances can be sold to recyclers.
One of the home inspector’s duties is to determine how long certain fixtures, such as plumbing and air systems, have been in the home. By determining the age of these fixtures, a home inspector can also estimate when they will start to have problems or need replaced. This allows you to develop a clear picture of your financial future as you will know when to expect to make big purchases and repairs. Home inspectors can also give you tips on how to maintain your home and its appliances for as long as possible, which should also save you money in the long run.
Many people buy a home with hundreds of ideas of how to improve it and make it more their own, this often leads to them building decks or sheds on their property. To build or make improvements on a property, the owner must apply for a permit, if they do not, then whatever they build does not legally exist. A home inspector can determine whether any improvements have been made without a permit and therefore determine if the taxes, insurance, or overall value should be affected by the illegal build.
If you are planning on insuring your new home, a home inspection may not be an optional practice. Many insurance companies require home inspections so they can understand what condition the house is in, for example, if there is heavy mold, they may not be willing to insure it. They may ask for certifications such as Wind Mitigation and four-point inspections, both of which can be carried out by a home inspector. It is important that you read the small print of your insurance policy before moving into the home to clarify what is expected of you.
Getting overly excited and caught up in a dream home is very easy to do, and it can often make you blind to some of the problems. A home inspection will give you an insight into the bigger picture and open your eyes to the parts aren’t quite so dreamy. This clarity will allow you to make the best financial decisions regarding your home, and maybe even make you realize that the home you think they love is in fact not what you are looking for.
Most importantly, home inspections open the door for negotiations. If the inspection report comes back rather unfavorable, it is the perfect opportunity to ask the seller to do repairs before you move in. If the seller is not willing to complete the repairs, it is more than reasonable to ask for a price reduction or credit so that you can have the repairs completed yourself. This will ultimately save you money during the purchasing process.
Made an offer on your dream home? Visit www.championtitle.com to see how we can help you with the next step.