When you’re buying a new home, there are a few critical steps to take.
The first? Find a great real estate agent who will negotiate effectively for you throughout the process.
Then you’ve got to narrow down the neighborhoods you want to look at, handle repairs on your own home if you’re also selling your house, and get all your financials together to make the mortgage qualification process smooth and easy.
But one of the most important steps when buying a new home is: having a thorough home inspection by a licensed professional home inspector.
Home inspections can save you thousands of dollars in unexpected expenses.
Let’s say you skip the home inspection to save $400 during the purchase process.
Well, a few months after buying the home, you start noticing water damage in a part of your upstairs ceiling. When you call in a contractor to fix it, they tell you that part of the roof is deteriorating, and will need to be replaced, while the water damage also has to be remediated.
If you’d gotten an inspection during the purchase process, the inspector most likely would have noticed the roof damage, and you could have had it fixed by the seller before closing. Then you wouldn’t have had a huge repair bill, and what’s more, the repairs would have been less serious.
Home inspectors can spot potential problems that need further exploration.
While it’s true that home inspectors are generalists, they are trained to spot hard-to-notice problems that warrant a specialized home inspection.
For example, if they spot standing water around an HVAC unit, or smell a musty or humid smell in one part of the house, they’ll probably recommend bringing in a mold inspector to see if there’s a mold problem.
If the home you’re buying is old, the inspector may recommend something like a lead-based paint inspection or a chimney inspection to ensure the home is actually safe.
Home inspectors can also spot signs of pest infestation, from termites to rodents. Both of these pests are more than annoyances—they can actually damage the structure of a home. That’s why it’s so important to bring in a pest company or termite company if there are indications they’ve taken up residence in the home you’re buying.
Home inspectors can spot attempts to cover up problems.
While most home sellers are honest and disclose everything they know about a home’s problems, some do resort to attempts to cover up known or suspected issues.
- Making small cosmetic repairs that don’t quite fit with the rest of the home
- Claim they don’t know the history of the house or “haven’t lived here long”
- Use heavily scented candles or air fresheners to cover up unpleasant smells
- Keep the inspector from accessing certain areas, like a basement, crawl space, or breaker box
If you notice any of these things occurring, it’s time to look a bit deeper. Ask your sellers for a disclosure form, and urge your home inspector to be as thorough as possible.
Home inspections are a perfect example of how paying some money up front can save you thousands later on. Make sure you schedule yours before you close, and come with a good list of questions.
Mackenzie Kirk Content Marketing Coordinator, HomeLight