The importance of having a home inspection prior to closing on a new home cannot be understated. However, the reality of today’s highly competitive market leaves many home buyers with a very difficult decision.
Many wonder if they should opt out of a home inspection to make their offer more appealing.
There’s little doubt that waiving an inspection period will increase your chance of getting an accepted offer. But before you say goodbye to due diligence, I thought I’d talk about what giving up a home inspection means for you as the home buyer.
Because knowing exactly what a home inspection offers you as a buyer will help you weigh the potential risks of skipping one.
Common offers on a home sale come with a contingent inspection period. A typical inspection period is 7-10 days.
This period is an opportunity for you to go through the house thoroughly or hire a trained inspector to go through the ins and outs of the house, checking everything from the electrical wiring to possible pest problems, water damage and rot.
To illustrate how important a home inspection is, let’s say the process of buying a home is like starting a relationship.
You see the listing online – or, if you have a great agent, she’s already sent you the listing. This is the “bump into” moment. You exchange looks with your love interest, maybe flirt a little, and he or she leaves their number.
The showing or open house is your first date. You fall head-over-heels for this house. You absolutely love it. You want to get married and have little house babies…
Not so fast, though! You’d be crazy to get married – to sign on the dotted line – after one date, right?
You need a little time to think this through before you walk down the aisle and seal your love for this beautiful 3-bedroom cape with pocket doors and a 3-season porch.
This is why you introduce your love interest to a friend. You bring in the cool, level-headed person to make sure your true love isn’t just a floozy crush. Is my 3-bedroom cape truly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen? Or has my judgment been clouded by the all-consuming power of desire?
This is where a great home inspector can clarify things for you.
A home inspection dives into your love interest’s past and gives you all the dirt. Nobody is perfect. No house is perfect. But determining the imperfections, knowing what needs to be fixed and what might need fixing in the future will help you decide whether or not you want to move forward with the process.
A thorough inspection report – like a good friend confiding their opinion on your new love interest – goes into all the honest details about the home, giving you one last chance to evaluate your decision.
Keep in mind that issues that arise from the home inspection can become negotiable items to be built into your offer.
Indeed, there are certain issues that a seller is typically expected to resolve. Take radon testing, for example. A high radon reading results in the seller usually being responsible for rectifying, either by having a radon mitigation system put in place or giving money back to you (to go toward such a system) upon closing.
No matter how crazy and chaotic the housing market is right now, buying a home is still a big decision, and the process should be thorough, deliberate and comfortable for you as the buyer.
Experienced home inspectors spend their work days crawling through houses. They’ve seen just about everything, both good and bad. They know what to expect when looking into a fuse box or checking wood sills for rot. You want one with you helping you decide if the 3-bedroom cape is really a dream or actually a nightmare in disguise.
It’s worth pointing out here that home inspections are not free, and you’ll have to foot the bill. Most home inspections cost between $300 to $800, depending on the size and type of property. But look at it this way: a home inspection is a protective measure on your home as an investment, and the cost of one is a small fee when considering the total price you’re investing in your home.
Finding a home inspector shouldn’t be taken lightly, either. You’re trusting and paying this person good money to go through an unknown home for potential concerns.
In the state of Maine there is no standardized license for being a home inspector. You want to make sure you find a professional with plenty of experience and training.
Not to worry, though. A good real estate agent is great for helping you find a trusted home inspector. Personally, I’ve worked with many home inspectors, both on the buying and selling side, and can offer reputable inspectors to put your mind at ease.
Your home is more than where you live – it’s your future, and no home buyer should ever compromise the security of their future. Taking the time and adding necessary steps like a home inspection to help you prevent or anticipate major issues and costs in the future is essential.
In the home buying process, you want to know confidently that you’re marrying the love of your life. Else you might end up the star of So I married an Axe Murderer…