One crucial part of the home-buying process is the home inspection, in which a licensed inspector examines the home for significant problems and (usually) prepares a report for the buyer. This enables the buyer to know if there are any significant flaws in the home, and that knowledge may lead to a lower negotiated price or a request for certain repairs.
Typically, the buyer should hire the home inspector. The home inspector is responsible to whoever is writing the check, and as the buyer, you want the inspector to be liable to you.
Simply put, you’re going to want a good home inspection, one that finds any major flaws that exist in the home and makes them very clear to you, the buyer. Doing that can save you a lot of money in the long run, either by helping you to avoid a house with a lot of problems or by pointing out minor issues that the seller can resolve for you before the sale.
So, how do you handle a home inspection? If you have an agent representing you, you can start by asking for their recommended home inspector. Beyond that, I’d also ask around my social network for a recommendation.
Once you have an inspector and a time and date for the inspection set up, be sure to attend that inspection. There are many reasons for this.
First, you want to be aware that the inspector is actually examining the home thoroughly. With the client present, the home inspector is going to be much more sure to do a thorough job of inspecting the home. Most home inspectors will do a great job with or without the client present, of course, but your presence helps to ensure it.
Second, you’re going to want to ask questions during the home inspection. Ask about anything that you don’t understand or that doesn’t look right to you. This will not only provide peace of mind for you, it might also help to point out a flaw that the home inspector might have missed. There is no such thing as a dumb question.
Finally, this will give you another chance to examine the home and make sure that it is actually a home that you want to purchase. Typically, you’re not locked in to the deal at the point when a home inspection occurs.
Typically, you’ll receive a report of some sort on the home after the inspection (usually in a few days). The report will identify problems found in the home, if any, and perhaps offer suggestions on how to resolve those issues.
Ideally, your report will be clear and the expense of the home inspection will have been well worth it in terms of your peace of mind.
However, if the home has issues that are significant, you need to request that the seller resolve these issues before you buy. It’s up to them as to what steps to take at that point, but you don’t want to buy a home with significant problems that you cannot easily resolve yourself.
A home inspection is a valuable part of the home buying process. You owe it to yourself to be present during this inspection, even if it’s not convenient.
This post is part of a yearlong series called “365 Ways to Live Cheap (Revisited),” in which I’m revisiting the entries from my book “365 Ways to Live Cheap,” which is available at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere. Images courtesy of Brittany Lynne Photography, the proprietor of which is my “photography intern” for this project.