Do You REALLY Need a Home Inspection Before Buying? (YES!)
The home-purchase process can be time consuming and expensive. Many homebuyers, real estate agents, and mortgage professionals want to make the process faster and less costly by eliminating certain steps. One of the steps that is sometimes skipped is the home inspection.
While it makes sense to speed the process in certain situations, you should avoid purchasing without a home inspection. Yes, it costs money and takes time, but it can also make your purchase more affordable while giving you the information you need to make the right choice.
What Types of Inspections are Important?
There are a variety of inspections that you can have completed on your behalf. Most will want at least a general home inspection, which covers that home from top to bottom and looks for signs of damage and defects. If these inspections spot something significant, the inspector may recommend a specialist who can fully investigate and diagnose the problem.
While a general inspection briefly covers the wiring system, an electrical inspection will provide more detail on the quality and performance of the electrical components. A lead-paint inspection should also be considered for older homes, and you may want an HVAC inspection. In warm climates, a wood and insect inspection may be needed, and a foundation inspection could be important.
If the house has a pool or spa, consider having these inspected by a professional who specializes in these features. Homes in rural areas may also want a septic inspection. There are many types, but you should at least have a general inspection before buying.
Why You Should Rarely Purchase without an Inspection
There are many reasons why homeowners should avoid purchasing a house without a home inspection. From financial reasons to basic peace of mind, having an inspection may delay the process, but it will also increase your chances of long-term happiness.
Home Inspections Save Money
Home inspections cost money. The specific price will vary depending on the type of home you buy, the total size of the property, and the types of inspections you choose. For most people, you can generally expect to pay about $300 to $600 for an inspection, a large sum that may feel unnecessary.
But think of it as an investment.
If you skip the inspection, you may eventually discover costly problems with the home. Issues like repairing the roofs, updating wiring, fixing windows or a variety of other problems can all add up to tens of thousands of dollars. If these issues were discovered earlier, these costs may have been avoided.
A home inspection could also result in a lower purchase price. If certain problems are discovered during the inspections, you may be able to work these costs into your bid, potentially lowering the total amount you pay for the home.
Without a Home Inspection, Safety Issues Could Go Unnoticed
Perhaps the most important part of a home inspection is to make sure the property is safe. Inspectors will look at electrical systems and other components of the home to make sure it is in proper working order. You don’t want to live in a home with an unsafe electrical system, which could cause a fire that puts your family at risk. Outdated electrical systems could also increase your chances of an electrical shock.
Inspections can go over issues like radon, smoke-detector systems, and other issues that help enhance the overall safety inside your home.
Inspections Give You Negotiating Power
Directly tied to saving money is the issue of negotiating power. When you have an inspection performed on the house before you buy, it can give you more negotiating leverage. For example, if you are interested in a home that is just on the cusp of your price range, a home inspection may discover problems with the home that could give you bargaining power to drive the price down. You can also place language into the purchase contract that allows you to back out of the agreement if the inspection finds any significant issues. This back-out option puts more power in your hands, as you are not completely chained to the purchase.
No Inspection Means No Information
The ultimate reason to have an inspection is information. Without an inspection, you are left without this important information. An inspection helps you understand what you are buying, and the more you know, the less surprises you will experience. (When it comes to homeownership, surprises are rarely welcome.) A home inspection can give you the information you need to make the best decision for your property.
And the information doesn’t alway have to tie directly to finances. For example, an inspection may discover that the cabinets in a bathroom will need to be replaced in the next five years. For some homeowners, this is not a problem, as they can complete the project on their own. For others, this issue is beyond their DIY comfort level; they’ll have to hire someone to install new cabinetry, so they may need to factor this issue into their final bid.
Because Home Inspections Provide Peace of Mind
Peace of mind should not be overlooked. A report from an inspection helps you understand that quality, safety, and overall condition of the property you are buying. In the end, this can bring greater peace of mind, which may be the most important reason of all to get a home inspection.
Yes, You Need an Inspection for New Construction Too!
Some new-construction buyers feel that they don’t need a home inspection. They assume that because the house is brand-new, an inspection won’t be necessary. But there is just as strong a chance of a problem with new construction as with existing homes. If you have an inspection on a new property, there is a legitimate chance that at least one issue will be discovered.
From poor roof installation to cracks in the new foundation (cracks that haven’t been noticed or were overlooked) could all create major financial problems in the future. Plumbing leaks, poor drainage, loose cabinetry, and a variety of other problems can be found with new construction, so don’t avoid this potential problem.
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