So you’re buying, selling or coming up on the first year of living in your new home and the question is asked, “Have you set up your home inspection yet?”
What? Do I need a home inspection for that? This question is asked all too often and almost on every transaction the results are the same. As you will see in my reference below, that 85% of home owners get a Home Inspection. So let me shed some light on what I think is some good “need-to-knows” about the inspection process.
First let me congratulate you! You made it through the bidding wars and your offer was accepted. You’re going to be a homeowner! After you’ve made all your phone calls to share the big news and sipped on a glass or two of the finest bubbly, it’s time to move on to the next step in the home buying process; the home inspection. Generally speaking, inspections are a great idea. They give you an idea of a home’s problems before you buy it and most times will allow you to have negotiating power with the seller to cover the cost of some repairs. Essentially, they give you an idea of whether or not you’re equipped to handle this property or if you should move on to another that better suits your needs. So we can all agree a real estate inspection helps to reduce some of the risk involved in purchasing a home. A must in every business/investment transaction. And let’s face it, your new home is an investment . One of the largest possible you will ever make. That’s why the home inspection plays a big part in the buying process.
If you’re on the seller’s side of things you might want to think of it this way….
According to the U.S. General Accounting Office, more than 85% of homebuyers who applied for a mortgage also requested an inspection — no big surprise there. So, instead of chewing your nails while awaiting the results from your buyer’s inspection report, why not get ahead of the game and schedule your own home inspection? Think about it! The final selling price is determined long before the inspection is even thought about. This leaves a huge question mark lingering over your negotiations. Are you going to be asked for concessions at closing? Will you be asked to lower the price of your home again if a problem is uncovered by the inspection? By being proactive, you have the leading advantage of knowing before hand and having the opportunity to address any unknown issues. This allows you to set your asking price fairly and confidently, therefore, if the negation wars begin you can be ready to play hardball.
But wait….. What if you’re building new you ask?
Too easy! I am doing at least one new construction inspection every week, either pre-pour, frame punch or final walk through. In most every situation, the line, “You don’t need a home inspection” comes up or is used. Usually, it starts with the sales agent representing the builder. “You won’t need a third party inspection.” Then comes the construction supervisor, “You won’t need a third party home inspection. This house gets inspected every day by me. Or, “ Your home goes through 13 different home inspections from the city inspectors and they’re the final say on how it’s done!!” This is true to some degree, however, few if any municipal inspectors spend anywhere near enough time in the home to fully check it out. Furthermore, there could be problems with the home that are not necessarily code violations, yet have serious consequences for you, the new home owner.
Ninety percent of what I find in new homes, honestly, is poor craftsmanship. Not necessarily the builders fault but the trade its self. For example, doors or windows that are not flush and a year or two down the road squeak like a stuck pig or rub and pop when the door jamb closes. You know what I’m talking about moms! The infamous squeaky door that is out to get you and that new born baby. The one that wakes your precious tightly wrapped sleeping ball of swaddling goodness (which minutes before you YouTubed “how to swaddle a screaming new born baby”) and that you just spent the last three hours putting down. Or the chimney cap flashing that is not completely sealed and after about three years you’re shelling out $600 to $1000 to a handyman to re-side your chimney. All the while you hear the words echoing in the back of your head from the construction supervisor “You won’t need a third party home inspector. This house gets inspected every day by me!” Ha!!! Where were you then Mr. Builder? Never mind the fact that on most new home constructions, the supervisor changes two or three times. Why not invest a little now and save so much later?
How about getting a year-end inspection before your first year of living in your home is up? Well this is simple. I’ll leave it to John, a happy customer, who replied to the same question asked by Mike in one of the last online classes I held called, “What to expect in the new home buying process”. The question was asked…
Mike: My warranty is about to expire. Is it worthwhile to have my home re-inspected just in case the inspector finds any new issues that didn’t manifest themselves during the first inspection? Or would that just be a waste of money? Over the past 10+ months, I found several minor things that the home builder fixed. Now, everything looks good, but I’d like advice from those who have been in a similar position as I am. Thanks!
John: Hello Mike! Having been in your position with a national builder I have to say YES! I would absolutely have a “year-end” inspection. The inspector will see things you won’t even think of looking at assuming it’s a good inspector, and this is your last chance to get them fixed without cost to you. What if your foundation has slipped a little? Would you notice? What if, what if, what if???? I think it’s a small price to pay to protect the biggest investment you will ever buy, don’t you? My neighbors hired an inspector in the 11th month (just before our 11th) and the inspector noticed ripples in the vaulted ceiling. Turns out all the sheet rock had to be torn out and replaced due to a faulty install. Once he pointed it out you could see where every rafter was. In addition, the inspector checked the siding for buckling, roof for water leaks or sheeting problems, doors not square in the frame and general things that happen when houses settle. And they all settle!
So in the final months of your first year in your new home I would have to agree not just as an inspector but as a new home buyer myself that a year end inspection is well worth the investment.
Which leads us to the final question. Do you know where I can find a great home inspector? One that I can trust to do a great job that crawls in every nook and cranny and on top of the highest roofs. I would have to say your realtor is a great place to start. He or she probably has a few reliable contacts from past transactions. The Internet, is always another option. Either way, be sure to ask the inspector if they are certified and keep up with any continuing education credentials. And if crawling and climbing are in their bag of tricks. You would be surprised at some of the answers you get.