The cost of homeownership certainly doesn’t start and end with the monthly mortgage payment. When it comes to buying a home, the old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” applies.
A home inspection is a small expense to pay upfront for a thorough inspection of your new home. It will identify any existing problems with plumbing, electrical, roofing and other home improvement matters, or what issues may arise in the near future.
First and foremost, whether the home you’re having inspected is newly built or an older home, hire a professional inspector. Just because your home may be a new construction does not mean that the house is perfectly built or that it does not or cannot have problems.
Review the Seller’s Disclosure
Start by reviewing the seller’s disclosure of the property. The current owner of the property, by law, must disclose anything that he knows is currently wrong with the property. The property owner is also required by law to let the potential buyer know of any past problems he knows about or has had with the property. While this review should not be in lieu of having a professional inspection, it may clue you into problems that could be costly or even some things that will set your mind at ease.
For example, if a hurricane blew through the area and tore off some of the roof tile, which led to a leak in the roof, the owner must tell you this. They must also disclose if there were repairs and how the repairs were made, such as producing the invoice from a licensed roofer. If the roof was completely replaced two years ago, this too is a disclosure factor, especially since it is a positive one. All of this information gives you an idea of when or if you may have upcoming repair or replacement costs if you buy the property.
[Mortgage Help: Get your free credit report and see if your credit score is mortgage qualified]Hire a Professional
Ask your real estate agent or obtain a referral from someone you know to find some potential home inspectors. Do your homework to ensure that the inspector is licensed, and if it is someone that your real estate agent or friend has worked with, find out how thorough the inspector was. You want to hire a professional inspector that evaluates the home from top to bottom, from inside to out, to identify any current or potential problems with the home.
Review the Inspection Report Carefully
A professional home inspector will provide you with a written report of his findings – be it good or bad. Read and review this report very carefully to identify any problems. But even if you come across potential problem areas, it does not necessarily mean that you shouldn’t buy the home. It can be used as a negotiating point on the purchase, or at the very least, provide you with the knowledge that in a couple of years, you may have to replace the air conditioning unit, or make some other repair.
When you start to look for a home to buy, figure a home inspection into your plans. While a home inspection may cost anywhere from $200 up, it is money well spent to find out if you are really buying the home of your dreams or a money pit.
Get more home buying tips and tools at Quizzle.com, where you’ll find free home loan recommendations so you know how much home you can afford and an affordable credit improvement program in case your credit could use a little work before you start the home finance process.