Buying a new home is exciting, to be sure, but it can also be stressful. There are lots of things to consider and plenty of problems you want to avoid facing in your first year or two. One important way to make your transition to new homeownership as smooth as possible is to get a quality home inspection before you buy and make sure you follow up on the inspector’s recommendations. Follow these tips to get the most out of your home inspection.
Before you get an official inspection:
ALWAYS do your own check before you hire someone to do an official inspection. Know the biggest problems to look for. If an issue is big enough for you to spot on your own, then you won’t have to pay someone else to tell you this property might not be a good investment.
Ask the homeowner for disclosures first. A homeowner is required by law to disclose known problems with the property to potential buyers.
Pick the right company to do the inspection. Don’t go with the first name you hear; make sure you have a few recommendations to choose from. The cheapest you find on Google may not be the best or most reliable. And an inspector recommended to you by the realtor might not be entirely impartial.
Do a bit of homework and see if you can get referrals from other people who have had home inspections in the last few years and been happy with the results.
When you get the inspection:
First, ALWAYS get one. Even if the home is recently built, it can be worth it to find out if something isn’t as it should be. You definitely don’t want the disappointment of learning that “new” didn’t mean “problem-free.”
Be there for the inspection. You want to see what the inspector sees so you can better understand the condition of the home. You also want to be able to ask questions, especially if you noticed some things on your own walk-through that concern you.
The inspector will know what things are worth worrying about and what aren’t. Something that looks off to you might be perfectly fine and workable; something you can’t see (like a carbon monoxide leak) your inspector can point out and explain.
Pay attention to detail. An inspection won’t catch everything, and they’re non-invasive, which means they’re literally not digging around to see the real extent of underlying issues. They may recommend you have something looked at by a contractor to find out for sure.
After the inspection:
Take the inspector’s advice. If they say to have something looked at, have it looked at. If an identified issue needs further attention, get it done before closing, or you could wind up with a repair job that costs far more than you anticipated. You can also talk to your inspector to help you sift through contractors’ estimates for repairs.
Take our advice—and your inspector’s—and you and your new home will both be in good shape.