9 Home Inspection Tips For Buyers

Certified Mortgage Advisor
NMLS 1701021
Published 
January 1, 2020

9 Home Inspection Tips For Buyers

Let's talk about nine home inspection tips for buyers. So when you're looking to buy a house, the last thing that you want to do is buy a home that has a lot of hidden problems that you're not aware of until maybe a year or two into the future. And that's one of the biggest fears. It's almost like when you go used car shopping and you buy a car and then it turns out to be a really bad deal because you're just spending thousands of dollars repairing that car because it had problems that you didn't know were there.

What can home inspection do for you

So home inspection just that it's going to protect you against that problem and make sure that all of the faults and errors and fixes that, that home needs that way you can come back to the seller, get those things fixed and addressed and know what that home is going to look like in the future. So you can make a solid investment in your house.

Home inspection costs about $500 upfront on average. And that's going to be money out of pocket if you walk out of the deal. But anytime we have clients who are debating a home inspection, we always suggest that they find an independent inspector to go look at the property because if they walk away it's disappointing to always walk away from a deal.

Nine Tips

And you're out some of that money, but they save thousands of dollars by not having to fix those repairs in the future. And what ends up happening is they always end up finding the house that they love, which you know, having an inspector. Knowing that home is going to be safe and secure for you and your family. It's going to give you confidence in the future. So let's walk through nine tips that you need to consider when you're getting a home inspection.

1. Inspection contingency

Number one is you're going to want to look at an inspection contingency. This is where in your contract, when you submit an offer, you're going to say that you want around maybe 10 to 15 days to inspect the property, bring out inspectors, maybe just one inspector or specialty inspectors to make sure that everything with the house looks good for you.

So that inspection contingency is time for the inspector to come out and inspect the property. And then for you to renegotiate that contract with any repairs that you're going to ask the seller to fix or pay for.

2. Mentally prepare

Also, you want to mentally prepare for a full inspector inspection, a good inspection. Should it feel like the sky is falling? A good inspector is going to pick out all of the very small details. They're going to show you big red flag problems and small little problems, even down to errors in some of the caulking or errors in just minor electrical problems. They're going to show you every single thing.

So when you get that inspection report back in its multiple pages. Calm down. It's okay. Read through that. Ask your inspector any questions that you have, and then formulate a plan that you're going to bring to the seller to get that fixed. But it's going to feel rough at first, but there's, every home is going to have issues, so just expect to see a lot of things coming back from that inspection.

3. Attend the inspection and ask questions

So that inspection is probably going to last anywhere between three to four hours if you're using a really thorough inspector. So don't hover over them and get in the way of their job, but ask them questions. If you're curious about things or they bring up something on the report that you're not sure of asking them to clarify things.

They might not be able to give you recommendations just depending on some of the licensing. But ask as much as you can, that way you can be clear and confident about some of these repairs that are going to be asking for.

4. Focus on the contract, not on a wish list

So what I mean by that is don't risk a deal. Over just things that you want. The inspection contingency is all about fixing things that you need done in the home before you move it. Okay. It's not about things that you want to happen like certain paint or different fixtures or anything else cosmetic like that. It is only focusing on making sure that this deal closes.

5. Consider specialty inspections

Also, look at some specialty inspections. You can have things like a pest inspection, inspection, a radon inspection, depending on the inspection company that you go with that may or may not be included in the primary inspection. So for instance, you might have a primary inspection and then you need a specialty chimney inspection if there's a fireplace.

So in that inspection contingency period, that's where you can bring in the main inspector and any specialty inspectors if you need to do.

6. Trust your agent - in negotiations and referral

This is a big one. Trust your agent. You're not doing this alone. You have a real estate agent for a reason, ask them for referrals for inspectors. You obviously can go search for an inspector on your own or maybe somebody that you know, but your agent has closed several deals, most likely.

And they work with inspectors and they know which are the good ones and which are the best. Ask them for a referral from the home inspector and also trust their advice when going through the negotiation stage. It's very easy again, to see this big inspection report with a slew of repairs that are needed, and then to feel like you have to get all those fixed. Ask your agent. Your agent is going to give you good advice and recommend what to ask for it to be repaired and what not to ask for it to be repaired.

7. Don't risk your deal over cosmetic issues

For instance, if there is a let's say there's a railing that has some dents in it, don't risk a seller backing out of the contract because you asked for small things to get fixed. The inspection repairs are all about the big-ticket items that you need to be able to move into that home cosmetic repairs or things for you to fix, don't risk that deal over just these very minor things.

8. Focus on red flag issues

Also focus on red flags, mainly. Again, small things sometimes you can ask for them don't risk the contract over that. But you want to focus on the bigger items, things like the roof, the foundation, HVAC, anything that could cost several thousands of dollars within a timeframe of the next three to five years is going to be the main thing that you want to focus on because what you want to do with inspection is make sure that the home is worth the value that you're paying.

If you're buying a $200,000 house and it has a $15,000 roof problem, you need to go back and look and see is $200,000, $15,000 too expensive for this property. You don't want to overpay and inspections are gonna help you find those bigger ticket items if there are any issues with the property.

9. Follow-up on repairs

You want to follow up with repairs and you want to do this in two ways. You could have a re-inspection with an inspector and that's a possibility it's probably going to cost you money.

Receipts

But what you could also do is get receipts for any repairs that were finished, then do a 24 hour walkthrough.

24-hour walkthrough

A 24 hour walkthrough is 24 hours before closing, you walk through the home and make sure that everything was completed. If it wasn't, then you're probably going to delay, closing and wait for that to happen.

Make sure the receipt match the repairs

But if you do ask for repairs from the seller, make sure you get receipts that way you have it documented, then make sure you also do a walkthrough to make sure that those things actually happened. And the receipts match up with the actual work that was done.

Buying a home should not be overwhelming. Shouldn't be scary. But if you don't get a home inspection, you're not going to be entirely certain of the surety of the home that you're buying. You're not going to have confidence that this is a good investment. So make sure you get a home inspection, read through that report, request some repairs for the seller, if you need it, and then move forward in confidence with your house.

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Only for educational usage. All calculations should be verified independently. Win The House You Love LLC is not a lender, does not issue loan qualifications, and does not extend credit of any kind. This is not an offer to lend and should not be used to make decisions on home offers, purchasing decisions, nor loan selections. Not guaranteed to provide accurate results, imply lending terms, qualification amounts, nor real estate advice. Seek counsel from a licensed real estate agent, loan originator, financial planner, accountant, and/or attorney for real estate and/or financial advice. Read the full disclaimer here.