The process of buying a home can be stressful. Inspecting a home before buying is supposed to give you peace of mind, but often has the opposite effect. You will be asked to absorb a lot of information in a short time. This often includes a written report, checklist, photographs, environmental reports, and what the inspector himself says during the inspection. All this combined with the seller’s disclosure and what you notice yourself makes the experience even more overwhelming. What should you do? Relax. Most of your inspection will be maintenance recommendations, life expectancies and minor imperfections. These are nice to know about.
When inspecting a home before buying, the issues fall into four categories:
- Major defects. An example of this would be a structural failure.
- Things that lead to major defects. A small roof-flashing leak, for example.
- Things that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy, or insure the home.
- Safety hazards, such as an exposed, live buss bar at the electric panel.
What happens after the inspection?
Anything in these categories should be addressed. Often a serious problem can be corrected inexpensively to protect both life and property (especially in categories 2 and 4). Most sellers are honest and are often surprised to learn of defects uncovered during an inspection. Realize that sellers are under no obligation to repair everything mentioned in the report. No home is perfect. Keep things in perspective. Don’t kill your deal over things that don’t matter. It is inappropriate to demand that a seller address deferred maintenance, conditions already listed on the seller’s disclosure, or “nit-picky items”.
Benefits to Home Buyers
- Know exactly what you’re buying––old or new.
- Provides peace of mind, helps you to make a sound home buying decision
- Reveals the need for repairs or replacements before you buy
- Limits the number of surprises you may discover after you move in
- Gives you invaluable details about your new home: the condition of the property, where the main shutoff valves to the utilities are located, how the house operates, and more!