We have seen first-time home buyers make some critical errors in regard to the home inspection process that can cost them money and aggravation. We offer the following advice to help you avoid those mistakes.
- Not Having A Home Inspection: Some people do this to keep from spending 100s of dollars, but end up potentially costing themselves 1000s. It makes no sense.
- Allowing The Seller To Do Repairs On Home Inspection Findings: The Seller can use the lowest bidder or do the repairs themselves. In this case, the warranty on the work may not transfer to the new owner after the closing happens, then you are stuck with inferior work and little recourse. Sometimes real estate agents will ask us to inspect after a seller completes the repairs. We don’t recommend this as we often end up having to throw off on the repair, costing the buyer additional money; and making the agent and seller mad in the process. A better approach is to use our Repair Cost Estimate which is included with every home inspection, to estimate costs and negotiate. Then, hire your own contractor after taking possession of the home to perform the needed corrections. When you use licensed contractors and obtain proof of general liability insurance, the work is then “warranted” by State Law and done to your tastes, style, etc.
- Not Attending the Home Inspection: We often have buyers tell us that the agent said they did not have to attend the inspection, so they chose not to. The inspection is your opportunity to get a second look at the property, get some questions that may become issues later answered, and feel better about the process.
- Falling In Love With A House: We tell people that “the perfect house has not been built yet”. Letting your emotions guide you may cloud your judgment and keep you from being objective. Expect the home inspection to find many things wrong and be savvy about what to do with those findings. Think like an investor.
- Choosing The Cheapest Home Inspector: This is a bad strategy like the person who skipped the home inspection. As Ben Franklin once said: “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”. The best case is that you saved $100, but that low-priced inspector might miss a 5-figure defect! Not a great return! Like a good surgeon, great home inspectors are busy. Don’t expect the best inspector to be able to do the inspection when you want them because that is your only day off, etc. The buyer’s concerns and other issues should be brought to the inspector’s attention before the inspection to address all your concerns. Still, while encouraged, attendance at the home inspection is not mandatory. After all, would you trust your health to a doctor who just graduated from medical school, or would you want the best, most experienced, and highest-rated Doctor? Get the most experienced and highest-rated home inspector, not the cheapest, most readily available one.
- Skipping The Radon Test, Septic Test, Water Test, And Mold Test: This is your time to discover everything about your prospective home. Not only can skipping these tests result in a less healthy place for you and your family to live, but skipping can also cost you when you sell the property and the new buyer have those services performed.
- Not Following Up On Home Inspection Findings: Sometimes further investigation by a specialist is warranted and recommended by the home inspector. Do follow up! For example, not following up on structure, water, or mold issues can cost you big down the road. Also, please note that our Repair Cost Summary is limited to repairs with a limited scope. Structure, Water Intrusion, and Mold issues require additional investigations to determine the scope of repairs, and the cost is based on that scope. So, do your “due diligence” and Happy House Hunting!