Finding the home of your dreams is a truly exciting and emotional moment, especially if you’ve been house hunting for a while. However, your perfect property can quickly turn into a nightmare if you fail to have a thorough home inspection.
Even a house that seems flawless could be hiding a money pit behind a seamless exterior. This is because anyone looking to sell a home is probably going to fix obvious flaws in appearance. Walls will get painted, flooring replaced, and cracked tiles repaired before buyers ever see a property in most cases.
What’s important is the problems you don’t see, or that you don’t necessarily know to look for. These are the issues that will cost you time and money down the line, and they are the reason to hire a home inspector. Without this essential service, you could be walking into a bad investment. Here are a few important reasons to get a home inspection before making your purchase.
Know what you’re buying
Transparency is an important part of any purchase, but it’s even more important with a big-ticket item like real estate. After all, it’s not like a blender or a blouse that you can return if it’s defective in some way. Once you buy it, there’s a good chance you’re simply going to have to live with whatever you’ve got.
This is why a home inspection is crucial. Even if something is terribly wrong with the property, you may still decide you want it and that you’re willing to perform needed fixes in order to have it. When you don’t know what you’re getting, however, you can’t make an informed decision.
Get a loan
Lenders don’t want you to get involved in a bad investment. If you end up with a money pit, you may be unable to pay off your loan, and if the property is worth less because of problems, they can’t even recoup their costs by foreclosing and selling the property.
In other words, lenders want to protect their investment, as well as yours. For this reason, most banks require a home inspection (often with their own inspector) before you can receive a mortgage loan.
A home inspection will cost you money, generally around $300-500. While your lender will often require that you use their preferred vendor, you’ll still have to pay. That said, an inspection could end up saving you an incredible amount of money, whether it turns out the current owners have to make fixes before the house can be sold or you elect to take on needed repairs but negotiate for a lower price on the purchase to offset these costs.
Outdated roofing, faulty wiring, cracked foundations, and other common problems can all come with major price tags. In many states, homeowners are required to disclose known issues that have occurred within a certain amount of time (such as a leak in the last few years, for example).
It’s better to know what you’re getting up front so that you can negotiate an appropriate price for the property. A home inspection gives you the leverage you need to negotiate.
Protect your investment
For most people, a primary residence is their main asset, an investment that will show a return down the line. This may not be the case if you purchase a property that needs major upgrades or repairs. The last thing you want is to end up owning a home that’s worth less than what you owe on it, so don’t forego the home inspection.