Picking out a house can be an emotional process. Perhaps you fell in love with one home because it had a weeping willow tree in the backyard that reminded you of your grandmother’s house. Maybe you feel a particular attachment to a property because of the beauty of the neighborhood. Perhaps ever since you were young, you wanted to have a house with shutters.
As difficult as it may be, it is essential to try to put your feelings for a particular property on the back burner until you receive the home inspection report. Once you have received the report, have a real estate professional help you look through it.
Agents will be able to point out any red flags in a report. If red flags exist, your Clever Partner Agent will advise you to either reduce your offer or walk away.
Your agent will not only keep you from buying a money pit, but he or she will also advise you on whether or not you qualify for a home buyer rebate.
Drainage and Grading
When you go to an open house for a property that just entered the market, one of the last things you may notice is the home’s drainage system. For a professional home inspector, improper drainage may result in a red flag for the property. The inspector will look at the gutters, the grading of the property, and signs that there has been standing water near the foundation.
Over time, water can be destructive on a home. It can cause rotting wood or the shifting of the home’s foundation. Repairing that destruction can be costly.
You may also have to haul expensive soil onto the property to correct the grading, so water runs away from the house. This may alter your landscaping, which will be another expense.
The home’s electrical system must be up to code. One common cause of residential fires is faulty wiring.
The home inspection report should see if there is an appropriate number of outlets per room. There should not be any exposed wires. It is also essential to know if the current homeowners did any electrical work on their own during a home improvement project.
Electrical repairs can be costly, but ignoring the recommended repairs can be dangerous.
Roof and Chimney
Even people who have never owned a home know that replacing a roof can be costly. Pay attention to the home inspection report to see if there is any mention of curling, blistering, lifting, splitting, damage, cracking, or rotting of the roofing materials. These are signs that the roof may not last long.
Also, make sure the home inspector has checked around the chimney. The edges of the chimney can be particularly susceptible to leaking, but it may be difficult to see unless the inspection is done on a rainy day.
Of course, your house needs to be safe for your family and pets. If the home inspection report mentions mold, mildew, lead, asbestos, or radon gas, talk with your real estate agent to see if this is a property from which you should walk away.
Even if the inspection shows that the mold or mildew is in the home’s crawl space or unfinished basement, this may be an indicator that you need to not put in an offer. Talk with your real estate agent who is helping you with the report to ascertain if the problem can be taken care of or not.
Leaky pipes can be disastrous, especially if there is a slow leak that has been ignored over time. If there are signs of faulty plumbing or leaking fixtures, you may be advised to ask the homeowner to repair the problems.
Make sure your inspection report also covers the plumbing leading into the house. Some home buyers do not understand that they are responsible for the plumbing on the inside and the outside of the home.
Heating and Cooling Systems
Heating and cooling systems are big-ticket items. Your home inspector may mention the age of the systems as well as how they are currently functioning.
Since heating and cooling systems can easily be replaced, perhaps the replacement cost can be a part of the negotiation process.
Be Present During the Inspection
Most home inspectors would be happy to have you follow along during an inspection. It is appropriate to ask a few questions during this process, especially if you are new to the world of home ownership.
Remember, you want the home inspector to do his or her best work. If you are too intrusive or chatty, it may cause your inspector to overlook something that could be crucial to the home’s value.
Keep Your Chin Up
Do not be disheartened if the home inspector uncovers a long list of potential causes for concern for the house you love. The current homeowners may be required to fix some items, and other potential problems can be negotiated in the price.
Since the process of picking out your first home is emotional, have your Clever Partner Agent on hand to make sure you aren’t reading the home inspector report with rose-colored glasses.