It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of purchasing a home. You’ll be eager to move in once you have an offer accepted for your dream home. It’s important to understand exactly what you are buying before making any major financial commitment.
A home inspector will conduct a thorough inspection of your property to ensure that it is in good condition. This is a good investment that will save you money over the long-term. The inspector can either warn you against bad purchases or provide a list of defects you can use to negotiate with sellers.
A report from an inspector will include minor repairs that, if done, can help maintain your home for the long-term. A good inspector will often be able to predict the average life expectancy of your HVAC and other large-ticket items, so you can begin planning for their replacement.
Many buyers make costly mistakes in the inspection process, leading to stress and loss of time. These eight buyer mistakes are easy to avoid. They will reduce your risk and protect your investment. This will give you confidence and peace of mind when purchasing a home.
MISTAKE1: Skip Your Own Inspection
Buyers often rely on the home inspector to identify problems with the property. You can still make an independent visual home inspection in Orlando before you submit your offer. This will allow you to factor in expected expenses. You can also choose to sell if there are major issues.
Check the ceilings and walls. Do you see any cracks? This could indicate a foundation problem. Are there any discolorations? Any discoloration? Yellow spots can indicate water damage, while black spots are usually mold. 1
Turn on the bathroom sink or tub and flush the toilet to check the plumbing. You should listen for any drops in water pressure, or gurgling sounds coming from the pipes. You can also run the water in tubs or sinks for several minutes to test for drainage problems. Look under sinks to check for leaks or drain pipes going into the floor.
Fogged or drafty windows may indicate that they need to be replaced. Check the roof for cracked, curled or cupped shingles. For evidence of rot, inspect sidings and decks.
Does the property appear well-maintained? If the seller is highly competitive, you should consider the property’s condition before making an offer. When determining your offer price, consult your agent so that they can factor in any repairs or updates you may need.
MISTAKE #2: Hire the Cheapest Inspector
While we all want to save money, not all inspectors will be the same. 2 Before you decide to hire one, you should research. It is good to prepare for inspections as they are often short.
Ask around for recommendations. Ask your friends, family members, and your agent for recommendations. Contact at least two to three inspectors to compare prices and service levels.
Ask about their experience and background. Also, inquire about the number of inspections that they have done. Check their credentials and certifications, and ensure they have the right insurance.
Ask about the inspection scope and whether they use the most recent technology. Request a sample of the report to compare the quality and detail. You should also feel confident about the inspector’s abilities, and be comfortable asking questions.
MISTAKE 3 – Missing the Inspection
It is important to attend the inspection. Buyers who miss their inspection miss a huge opportunity to learn valuable information about their new house.
You don’t have to spend your time choosing paint colors or talking with neighbors if you can’t attend the inspection. You can instead shadow the inspector. Instead, spend your time shadowing the inspector.
If you choose to tag along your inspector, use good judgement. You should not interfere with the inspection or become a distraction.
You can arrange to meet with the inspector in person or by telephone to review the report. This will allow you to ask questions and get clarifications about any issues you aren’t quite understanding.
MISTAKE #4: Read the Report
Inspection reports can be tedious and long, so it is tempting to just skim through them. Buyers who do so risk missing important information.
Instead, you should carefully read the report to ensure you don’t miss any important points. You have now the opportunity to address any issues. There is a short window of opportunity to ask for repairs or negotiate the selling prices. Don’t waste it.
You might also notice minor issues that your inspector doesn’t expect sellers to address. These small problems can lead to larger problems later on. You should read the entire report to be able to take any necessary actions.
MISTAKE 5 – Avoid Asking Questions
Buyers are often too embarrassed to ask questions about something they don’t understand in an inspection report. Fearing they will look stupid, some buyers avoid asking questions about critical issues that may affect their home purchase.
Questions are normal. Your inspector was hired for their professional expertise. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. For example, you might ask:
- What if you could fix this problem in your own home?
- It is urgent!
- What happens if I don’t fix it?
- Do I have a simple solution?
- Which type of professional should you call?
- Is it possible to estimate the cost of this repair?
- How much longer would you expect this system/structure/appliance to last?
- Which maintenance steps would your recommendation be?
Asking your inspector whether the property is worth buying is a waste of time. Use the information to help you make informed decisions. You can get more information from a skilled agent to help you make informed decisions.
MISTAKE 6 – Expect a Perfect Report
Buyers can be scared by lengthy inspection reports. A lengthy inspection report can scare buyers off. There are approximately 1600 items on an inspectors checklist. 4 It is important to know which problems need simple fixes and which will require expensive repairs.
You can ask your agent for help in deciding whether or not to contact the sellers about making repairs and lowering the price. You should focus your efforts on the main issues that the inspector identified. Don’t expect sellers to fix every detail. If they see your requests as reasonable, they will be more open to you.
MISTAKE 7 – Forgo Additional Testing
Sometimes, an inspector or agent will recommend bringing a specialist in to assess a potential problem. 5
Some buyers are scared by the “red flag” possibility and jump ship. They may ignore the recommendations for additional testing to save money or close the deal.
These mistakes can be costly. Sometimes, the specialist can offer a free evaluation which takes very little time. If not, the small investment could give you peace of mind and save you money on future repairs.
MISTAKE8: Skip Re-inspection Of Repairs
To prove that repairs were done correctly, most buyers want receipts. Most buyers request receipts to prove that repairs were done correctly. 6
Although most sellers will be open to selling their services, some may try to cut corners or hire unlicensed technicians. Re-inspection can help you ensure that the repairs are done correctly now so that you don’t have to pay for them later.
When requesting repairs, be specific to avoid being sent back to the sellers. Be specific when requesting repairs to avoid having to return to the sellers. 7
Some buyers prefer to skip this step entirely and complete the work themselves. They can request that the seller funds the repairs or lower the selling price. No matter which path you take, ensure that the work is done correctly to protect your investment and yourself.