Occasionally you hear the sad story of a new homeowner who finds him/herself the owner of a money pit. In some states, sellers are required by law to disclose to buyers any known problems with the house, such as roof damage or plumbing faults or potential hazards in the area, such as floods, earthquakes, fires and the environment.
But even if the seller does not disclose any defects, you need to do one thing.
- Home inspectors usually follow one of two methods. Some are checking to be sure a house meets the minimum housing standards, while others want to discover as many defects as possible, to give the buyer a true picture. Those who stick to the minimum may do so because of the litigious nature of our society. By limiting the scope of their inspections, they limit their liability. If you want a true picture of what you're getting, ask to see what the report will include.
A professional inspection should take two or three hours for the job to be done right. Depending on where the house is located, what size it is, and foundation type, it'll cost you $300-$500, but could save you tens of thousands of dollars in the end. Accompany the inspector as much as possible so you can ask questions and learn details about the house. You may want to arrange special inspections as well, such as for termite damage, mold, asbestos, and other health or environmental hazards. Be sure to ask for the reports in writing.
If the inspections turn up problems, you can negotiate with the seller and possibly have the price adjusted to compensate for the repairs, or arrange for the seller to initiate and pay for the work.
Finding a Reliable Inspector
Bank on a well educated, established and dedicated inspection company with a long history of being a consumer advocate. Though most of the agents are probably good people, some can have a financial interest in closing the deal. Too often homebuyers have relied on the advice of a bad realtors who may be influenced by the prospect of the sale, and instead of being happy homeowners, they have horror stories to tell.
To find an inspector and to get answers about home inspections, click below:
American Association of Professional Inspectors