Have you found what seems like the perfect home, and you’re ready to make an offer? Protect yourself and your investment by getting a home inspection first. While a professional home inspection is not required in every state, it is certainly one of the most important steps of the homebuying process.
How can you prepare as a homebuyer?
Understand the importance of a home inspection. With any large purchase, you want to know exactly what you’re getting before you invest your money. Buying a home is no different. “Once you buy the house, the house is yours,” said Talon Zinger, an agent in Long & Foster’s Columbia, Maryland, office. Any issues that come with that house are also now yours – big or small. According to US Inspect, a partner of Home Service Connections, a home inspection allows you to learn about the home, providing you with confidence and peace of mind before committing. Their inspectors not only point out issues throughout the home, but also discuss helpful tips and suggestions.
Find a qualified home inspector. “Lean on your agent. They should be able to recommend a reputable home inspector,” suggests Vern McHargue, an agent in Long & Foster’s Woodbridge, Virginia, office. All home inspectors are different, and while some are extremely critical on homes, others are less detailed. Find someone who is going to provide you with the highest level of service.
Go into the home inspection with realistic expectations. Walk through the home with your agent, so they can show you what type of items the home inspector will likely point out. Write down any observations you have made. “It is not about failing or passing – a home inspection is a breakdown of the home,” Zinger explained, “They are merely presenting the facts.” Don’t get hung up on the small things. Professional home inspectors will likely find flaws with every home, even a brand new build.
Decide what you will do if an issue arises. Be sure to review your comprehensive inspection report, looking at the recommended repairs, along with any ages and dates listed for items in the home. What are your deal breakers? Zinger suggests focusing on the high-ticket items – all the major systems of the home, including the HVAC, heating and cooling, appliances and roof. “Don’t be surprised when the seller does not agree to fix all the recommended repairs found throughout the home inspection,” McHargue said. It is important to work with your agent and the seller to try to come to an agreement. Your agent can then help you decide – are you going to make an offer or walk?