You’ve found your dream home, and you’re ready to buy.
Not so fast.
Before you sign on the dotted line, you need to make sure that you have a home inspection completed.
Even if you are buying a new construction home, it’s a good idea to get a home inspection. Just because a home is new, it doesn’t mean that something won’t go wrong.
Catching Problems with Your Home
The most important reason to get a home inspection before you close on your home is so that you can see if there are problems with the home. A home inspector might find problems, including structural issues, foundation problems, or other problems. Your home inspection might turn up plumbing or electrical issues.
These problems can be costly to repair on your own. However, in many cases, if problems are found with the home, the seller is required to correct them before you close. The home inspection can also result in a price adjustment if it is costly to fix.
You want to know if something is wrong with your home so that it can be addressed before you move in. Paying an extra $400 to $600 for a good home inspection can be worth it the long run, since you will either get something fixed, or you will have a bit of peace of mind.
The Home Inspection Contingency in Your Buyer Agreement
When you make an offer on a home, you might be locked in. If you try to back out, you could forfeit your earnest money, or pay some other fee.
The home inspection contingency in your agreement with the seller allows you to walk away from the deal if something significant is uncovered in the home inspection. While it needs to be a major issue for you to walk away without penalty, it’s nice to know that you have that option.
A home inspector will let you know if a problem is major, minor, or a safety issue. On top of that, you can also find out if something needs to be replaced or serviced. Before you sign any agreement, make sure there is a home inspection contingency. If there is a safety issue and you don’t want to mess with it, your contingency allows you to back out.
Basic Home Maintenance
If you’re a first-time homebuyer, your home inspection can be a very helpful learning experience. Follow the inspector through the home and ask questions. A good home inspector will tell you about what he or she finds, and can also recommend regular maintenance. Some home inspectors let you know if a water heater will need to be replaced in the next five years or if there is some maintenance you should perform on your air ducts.
In some cases, a home inspector can recommend specialists to take care of some of the work. Your home inspector can’t fix broken pipes or a leaky faucet for you, but he or she can provide you with information about who might be able to help you. Talk to the home inspector about people in your area who are good what they do so that you can find people who might provide you with the services you need.
A home inspector won’t catch everything wrong with a house, and there are some things he or she can’t speak to. However, a home inspection is an important part of the homebuying process. The home inspection can help you be reasonably sure that the house is up to code and in safe condition. And, if something needs to be done, a home inspector can help you figure out what that is — before you are in too deep with the home sale.