Buying a home is a major part of the American Dream. It’s also likely one of the biggest purchases of your life. That’s why you’ll want to ensure you don’t buy a money pit and find yourself living in a nightmare.
A professional home inspection checks for issues with just about everything from the roof to the foundation, including electrical and plumbing systems. It typically costs a few hundred dollars, but the price varies depending on the size of the house and region, and some important tests, such as a termite inspection, may cost extra.
Are inspections worth another expense in the home-buying process? Many mortgage lenders require buyers to get a home inspection, but even so, here’s why you should never skip one before closing a deal:
First and foremost, you’ll want to ensure your new home is safe for your family. A thorough inspection not only verifies the home is structurally sound, but also detects common health hazards like mold, lead, asbestos, carbon monoxide and radon.
Don’t assume any home, including a brand-new one, is flawless. An inspection could help you avoid buyer’s remorse by uncovering hidden problems before it’s too late.
If an inspection finds big problems, it could give you bargaining power to negotiate a lower sale price. The seller might also be willing to make the costly repairs and save you the hassle before closing. However, it might be best to avoid asking the seller to fix minor issues you could handle yourself. Ask your real estate agent which requests might be realistic and worthwhile.
Homes are bound to have some issues, so don’t let inspection findings automatically scare you into backing out of your agreement. That said, make sure your purchase contract includes an inspection contingency, which would allow you to cancel the deal if you discover a home’s problems are too serious or expensive for you to accept. Because contingencies usually have deadlines and other terms, consult a professional to avoid legal or financial repercussions.
Even if an inspection doesn’t find large or immediate issues, all houses require maintenance and eventual repairs. An inspector could identify the current condition and expected lifespan of a home’s major components, which might help prepare you for future trouble. If you’re aware that the water heater is on its last leg or the roof needs to be reshingled in five years, you could budget for the repairs ahead of time.
For these reasons and more, make sure to get an inspection before buying a home.