Buying a new home comes with all kinds of surprises. It’s the work of a home inspector to ensure those surprises don’t end up costing you a lot of money down the road.
Here are a few of our tips and tricks for navigating a successful home inspection, and stepping into your new, no-surprises home.
Every home buyer should hire a licensed home inspector to inspect the major systems of a house — the structure, plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling equipment, windows, doors, kitchen appliances and more. Talk to your Brinkoetter realtor for recommendations. They’ll direct you to someone who is reputable, knows the market, and has a good understanding of local homes – how homes are built, how well they’ve been maintained, and potential red flags.
Each time you visit a house with your realtor, make time after each visit to discuss issues that could impact the home’s purchase. It’s important that you keep a list of these “red flags” and discuss these items with the home inspector.
For example, say you notice some subtlety painted patches on the ceiling. It could be that the seller has just made an effort to repair some naturally occurring scuffs and scratches. Or, it could be a sign of leakage and water damage. That’s something an inspector will be able to determine.
“Typically a home inspector will be in a home for 3-4 hours and will examine absolutely everything, from attic to basement,” says Tom Brinkoetter. “I recommend to my buyers that they arrive at the home an hour before the inspection is finished so that they can discuss any major issues or concerns directly with the inspector. That’s the time for honest questions and candid conversation.”
Once the inspector completes an evaluation, you will receive a report with the inspector’s findings. Don’t be alarmed if you see a lot of deficiencies noted; it’s the inspectors job to be thorough and note absolutely everything. Your realtor will receive a copy of the same report. Together, you and your realtor will review the inspector’s findings and go over what the seller is responsible for and how that might impact negotiations.
Home inspections are detailed, but most issues should be relatively small. While some issues might be easy to remedy – such as replacing a few window screens – others may be more involved and costly.
Your report may also describe repairs that should be made soon, and repairs that may be needed in the upcoming years. Repairs that can add up to mean big bucks include:
- Replacing the roof
- Major foundation issues
- Electric wiring
- Plumbing — low water pressure or sewer problems
- Environmental issues
If any of these issues pop up during the course of your home inspection, be sure to consult with your realtor to determine next steps. This may also be a good time to discuss a home warranty.
“I encourage all our realtors to put themselves on the other side of the same deal,” says Brinkoetter. “I ask them to consider, ‘If you were representing the buyer instead of the seller, how would you read the inspection report?’ We work for honesty, transparency, and assuming the best from all parties involved.”
At the end of the day, don’t let potential issues deter you from making an offer on the home of your dreams. As long as you keep your realtor informed of your top priorities, and heed the findings of your home inspector, you’ll be able to make a fully-informed decision and purchase your Home Sweet Home with confidence.