After months of walking through house after house, you have finally found your dream home. The house matches all of your criteria and you are confident the search is over… But wait, do you really know anything about the house beyond its perfect location, well laid out floor plan, and great decorating scheme.
As you were walking through the house admiring the view and the gleaming kitchen counters, did you happen to notice the little bit of mold that was forming in the washroom, or the water stains in the basement that had been covered up by the nice new carpet.
Sometimes, because we are emotional creatures, it is difficult to see beyond the aesthetics of a home, and our hearts tell us to sign on the dotted line. This is when a home inspection can bring things back to reality.
Home inspectors see things that the average home buyer will generally overlook, and can give an unbiased opinion of the true condition and value of the property. House buyers may be averse to inspections for a couple of reasons: 1) they feel they are too costly 2) they do not want to hear that their dream home has problems and that they should not go through with the deal.
First off, the costs of home inspections, when compared to the cost of the home, are relatively inexpensive. Prices vary depending on the level of inspection but generally run you $300 – $800; not much compared to the $400,000 list price of the home, and a small price to pay for the peace of mind they provide. Secondly, a home inspection is rarely a deal breaker.
Almost every home, even brand new ones, have issues or deficiencies, but that does not mean you should walk away from the deal, it just means you have more negotiating power. Beyond negotiating power, a home inspection can be very educational for the home buyer. The inspector does not just identify problems; they look at the overall workings of the home and can help to set up a maintenance plan for the new owner.
In many cases the home buyer will never meet the seller and may miss out on valuable information about the home, i.e. Location of shut-offs for gas, water, etc.., how to operate the sprinkler system, or any other general maintenance issues. It is for these reasons the potential home buyer should accompany the inspector throughout the process.
A home inspection can also benefit the home seller. If the seller chooses to have an inspection done once they have listed, it shows their confidence in the condition of the property. If there are deficiencies they can have them addressed or adjust their asking price accordingly. Many home buyers will make an offer with a “subject to inspection” clause, so if the home seller has already had one done the process could go much quicker.