Monday, October 19, 2015 / by Bill Berning*
As a potential home buyer, getting a home inspection done is the initial first step to purchasing a home. A home inspection report can actually help you decide whether buying is a sound decision.
A home inspection report is designed to provide you with an overall picture of the condition of the home that you are planning to purchase. If you are skeptical about the benefits of a home inspection, you should be aware that home inspection can actually save you from thousands in unexpected repairs after the purchase.
As a homebuyer, you want to have a clear picture of the home that you are purchasing. A home inspection is the first step to determining if the home is really worth the cost that you are willing to pay.
In many cases, buyers simply rely on the real estate agency to provide a referral to a home inspector. However, it is your job to find an experienced home inspector that can uncover problems that others might overlook. The experience of a qualified home inspector can save you thousands.
While you might think that the seller’s disclosures are enough, what do you do if you are planning to buy new construction or the seller has not disclosed any issues? Regardless of your situation, here are three reasons why you want to have your own home inspection done.
Uncovering Hidden Problems
If you discovered that there were problems with a home before you bought it, wouldn't you want to be able to change your mind? A home inspection report can reveal problems with a home's condition. This will allow you to determine if you can afford the costs of making repairs to the home before you close on the property.
In order to get the home to pass an inspection, some repairs will likely need to made upfront. With the home inspection report in hand, you can then obtain estimates from home contractors as to the costs of repairing the issues.
In addition, homes with defects may also have significantly higher maintenance costs over time. As all of these costs add up, a home inspection may prove that the home is not what you are looking for or is out of your budget.
A licensed contractor must perform certain types of work, including work done on the electrical or plumbing system. A home inspection can help to uncover work that has been improperly or illegally done. In many cases, a homebuyer may discover that an addition to the home was done illegally without acquiring the proper permits for the work.
As a result, the illegal changes to the home may require significant repairs in order to meet code requirements. Homes with illegal changes will not pass a home inspection and the buyer will be required to cover the cost of the repairs.
The effects of illegal changes to a home may also go beyond the costs of repairs. “If a house has illegal room additions that are un-permitted, it affects the insurance, taxes, usability and most of all the overall value. In essence, a buyer is purchasing something that legally does not exist,” says Chantay Bridges of Clear Choice Realty & Associates.
Your home insurance carrier may also want the results of the home inspect in order to determine your eligibility for coverage. Certain types of insurance, such as flood insurance, will require that your home is up to standards so that it is not at a higher risk for water damage than other homes in your area. Your insurance carrier may decide not to issue coverage if it is found that the home does not pass an inspection or has significant defects.
The insurance companies are also wary of issuing policies for homes with certain types of defects. “Roofs which are worn, damaged or otherwise obviously near end of their useful lives or are likely to be leaking were the problem most frequently cited by insurance agents as a potential underwriting issue.” says Michael Thomas of Paragon Property Services Inc. “Many insurance companies will decline to write a policy on this property, or will require roof replacement, and some may require an interior inspection for water damage.”
Insurers may also demand that repairs be made before a policy is issued in the case of faulty electrical wiring or outdated electrical systems. For older homes, some insurance companies may even want to see a complete upgrade of all of the systems in the home before an insurance policy will be issued.
Let a Home Inspection Guide Your Decision
A home inspection is a crucial research tool that can tell you more about the condition of a home than any other method. In addition, it will allow you to determine if the real estate agent and seller’s defect disclosures match up to the current state of the home. A home inspection may also reveal problems with the home that the seller was not required to disclose by law.
By having a qualified home inspector review your home before you make a purchase decision, you can decide if you are willing to accept the home in its current condition. You may find that there are “deal-breaker” issues that may make you back away from the deal.
Alternatively, you may find that the home is actually a hidden-gem that is just in need of a few repairs. Regardless of the findings, as a savvy homebuyer, you should never go into a real estate transaction without the insight that a home inspection report can provide.