Now it’s time to schedule a professional home inspection.
You’re tempted to skip the home inspection in the process because you don’t want to go looking for trouble. It was hard enough convincing a seller to accept your offer over all the others (find tips on how to do that here). What if an inspection finds something wrong with the house—then what? Why mess with success?
You’re willing to nix the inspection. But should you?
We asked that question of Ethan Williams, owner of Averson Inspections in Salado, TX and Kirbi Barbosa, a REALTOR® at Sojourn Real Estate in Temple, Texas. They both agreed that inspections can be intimidating (especially for first-time buyers), but they can save you thousands of dollars and a whole lotta heartbreak down the line.
Know what’s ahead
Barbosa especially advises first-time home buyers get a home inspection so at least they’re aware of what repair issues will pop up going forward. Even if you don’t intend to ask the seller to perform those repairs, an inspection will create a “honey-do” list of smaller fixes to handle yourself and a heads-up to save money for upcoming major repairs.
Follow these tips to get the most out of an inspection
In a normal market, sellers usually pay closing costs. As you could guess, that’s not the case right now. If you’re buying in hot markets like Belton and Temple, Texas, expect to cover closing costs (if your budget allows).
Tip #1. Find an inspector you can trust.
Not all inspection companies are created equal. The best ones offer satisfaction guarantees on their work. Check how long the company’s been in business—read online reviews to see what customers say about their professionalism and responsiveness.
Tip #2. Ask to see a sample report.
Is the report simple and easy to understand? Descriptions of problems should be backed up clearly with photos. Did the inspector use high-tech devices, like thermography or drones, to help identify problems that may exist behind walls, under floors, in the attic, on the roof? Ask how quickly you’ll receive a report after the inspection. Will the inspector be available afterward to answer questions?
Tip #3. Match the inspection to the house.
Opt for extra inspections for unique property features, like a pool, septic system, or well—even if you’ll pay an extra charge for these inspections. These features have the most potential for problems that could cost you big time after moving into a home. Find out if a termite inspection is included in the general inspection price (some lenders require proof that the home is free of these pesky freeloaders).
Tip #4. DON’T distract the inspector.
Good inspectors welcome input from the buyer on inspection day, but following along and peppering him or her with questions can be counterproductive. Allow the inspector to concentrate on the process—then have a conversation about what was found at the end of the inspection (it usually takes under 3 hours). The inspector can guide you from room to room to show you any deficient items that were found.
Tip #5. Schedule a separate inspection to assure repairs were done correctly.
If you or the seller agree to fix problems with the house, the extra assurance that they were done right will be worth the fee to double-check on workmanship.
You found some problems—so what’s next?
In a tight real estate market, asking a seller to make fixes could be futile—they know there are other buyers out there who won’t sweat the repairs. Rely on your REALTOR® to help you decide whether the seller is likely to negotiate. If the seller does agree to make things right, they can either pony up cash to remedy the problem immediately or give the buyer credit for a repair’s cost at closing.
If you do ask the seller for repairs, Barbosa says inspection reports with photos and detailed descriptions (like the ones Averson Inspections produces) make it easy to relay info to the seller’s representative during repair negotiations. “The way Averson puts reports together makes it so simple—we just go to that specific section of the report, do a screenshot, and send it to the seller’s agent to give them clarity on what exactly we’re asking for. That way I can negotiate better on the buyer’s behalf.”
Don’t ignore safety issues
“Big components of the house have a lifespan—roofs don’t last forever, septic tanks go bad,” says Williams. “But I feel inspections are critical from a personal safety standpoint. I especially look at electrical issues as a major red flag. They can cause major inconveniences, like when heaters break down or even fire hazards due to faulty or aging wiring.”
An inspection might not reveal any big problems at all! It’s could confirm that your new home’s a real winner. But whether or not the home sails through an inspection with flying colors, it allows you to sleep more easily knowing there won’t be any surprises once you’re handed the keys.
Our Sojourn agents are connected with several reputable, local home inspectors in Central Texas. We have the knowledge and tools to create a positive home-buying experience and help you make the best decisions for your family. Connect with one of our agents today!