Are home inspections for home buyers necessary? In light of the endless possibilities of home defects it is in your best interest to use a home inspector before you purchase a home.
Large defects are very costly but small defects can become costly, if not repaired in a timely manner. Once you have closed escrow, the home belongs to you, and the burden of the repairs is on you, so it is wise to minimize the possibility of home defects before you buy.
1. HIRE YOUR OWN
Hire your own quality home inspection service, not one recommended by your realtor. The inspectors recommended by the realtor will want repeat business from the realtor, so they will have a strong tendency to rush the inspection and overlook crucial defects. Find your own quality inspector by asking others in the area or go to the American Society of Home Inspectors website.
2. HIRE INDIVIDUAL TRADESMEN
I prefer to hire individual tradesman, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and roofers to inspect within their trade. Most will inspect for free or a very small fee.
3. CRUCIAL AREAS
The most expensive repairs occur with structural damage, buckling of uneven walls and uneven floors, inside or outside the home. You may seriously rethink your decision to buy a house with major structural defects, for this is a strong sign the house may need to be rebuilt. Other major structural defects include major plumbing problems, electrical, air conditioning (new air conditioners can run an average of $2500), and roofs ( to go from a leaky roof to a good roof on a small house can cost $10,000 or more).
4. DON’T IGNORE THE ADVICE
Now that you’ve had an inspection, take it seriously; get three contractors to estimate the repair job. Ask the homeowner to pay for the repairs before you close escrow or leave money in escrow to cover the repairs. If the repairs are in excess of the value of the home, or horribly unreasonable compared to the value of the home, ask the homeowner to reduce the price of the home or you should strongly consider buying a different home.
5. BUYING A NEW HOME
Some folks think new means perfect, good, great, or in the best shape. This is not necessarily the case. Many new homes have problems, because despite the required inspections, subcontractors and contractors make minor and even major mistakes that sometimes go unnoticed. Don’t close escrow until the home has been inspected AND the needed repairs are made.
6. BUYING A USED HOME
Used homes present unique problems, they must be inspected by tradesmen who are very honest and experienced in their field. There are many hidden problems with older homes that are fixable but must be addressed before closing escrow.
I have purchased both new homes and used homes that I had inspected before purchase. One beautiful new home I purchased was built by a quality builder and had more defects than the used homes I have had inspected in the past. The contractor blamed all of the defects on his subcontractors work when he wasn’t looking.
In any event, I had the contractor fix every single problem pointed out to me before closing escrow. For a few years after closing escrow, I found a few other problems, which the contractor fixed.
Contractors usually warranty most homes for at least five years. Be sure to contact your builder as soon as you find a problem. Don’t let minor problems become major problems by putting off the repairs for a later date. This is why it is crucial to have home inspections for home buyers.