The Home Inspection: Paying Someone for Bad News
Who would pay for bad news? Real estate buyers. Now, I get it; no one wants the bad news and most, if not all, are looking for the good news. But you pay the home inspector to tell you as much about a home as possible, regardless of the sometimes shocking truth of it. But that news is what prompts the next step in a real estate transaction. If it's good news, you're likely to move forward in the deal; bad news and you may rescind the offer altogether.
Typically, most inspections land somewhere in the middle. There may be a few things that sellers could address and others that buyers have no problem dealing with after they've moved in. But in today's unique market, many buyers are forgoing the inspection altogether and while there may be some strategy in that, it's not always a wise idea.
Home Inspectors Tell You the Worse
And good ones will tell you without causing major alarm. I know that sounds kind of counterintuative, but alarmist home inspectors, those that tout doom and gloom that the house is going to fall down around you, tend to scare home buyers rather than inform them. The idea of a home inspector, at least a good one, is to inform the home buyer of all the issues and concerns that might occur if they owned the home. Their job is not to sway the buyer in any way but provide a non-biased, professional opinion of the integrity of the house or property.
Home Inspectors Tell You the Best
A good inspector will also tell you the best parts of your house. Maybe your furnace is top-of-the-line and excellent at energy efficiency. Maybe the current homeowner went above and beyond when constructing the deck ensuring stability even in gail-force winds and natural disasters. Perhaps the drainage system is more than adquate for the location and grade of the property. Whatever it is, home inspectors should point out the positive as well as the negative. You want to know if you're buying a lemon or a gem. Are you getting your money's worth, a screaming deal, or overpaying?
Home Inspectors Can Predict the Future.
Well, sort of. A lot of home inspectors are typically knowledgable in certain areas, such as pest control, HVAC systems, septic, or construction materials and while most know a little about everything, some know a lot about most things and those are the ones you want to call on. They will have a tendency to accurately predict that the roof has about 10 years left before replacing or recovering it; the heat pump has a good 5 years left or so; the siding will probably need to be replaced in a couple of years. You get the idea. While this is no guarantee, it can help future homeowners plan for what may, or what will be coming should they stay in the house long enough. And if not, strategically plan to move before those items become an issue (but then again, the next buyer may have just as keen an inspector and may ask you to pay for the items anyway). Regardless, you have a better idea of what your home maintenance is going to look like for the next few years or so.
Home Inspectors Should Be Talked To
We always recommend accompanying your home inspector through the property and hopefully you'll get a talker that really conveys all you want to know about the house. I mean, how will you know that the furnace has 5 years left if you don't talk to them and ask? That information is usually not provided on the report.
Home Inspectors Won't Tell You What to Do
Well, most of them won't. I can't say that for everyone. Some may say more than they should and slip in their own opinion like, "Oh man, I certainly wouldn't buy this house". But maybe you want them to. And that's okay! They shouldn't volunteer their personal opinion on whether or not you should buy the house, only their opinion on the inadamate objects they are inspecting.
The key is taking all the information you have learned and heading back to your buyer's agent and asking his or her opinion. Then you can weight the costs and decide what is the best plan of action moving forward. Your agent will have tons of experience as well and can help you navigate the report, decide what to ask for, if anything, and how to approach any counter reponses.
Home Inspectors Cost.....
The cost is really all over the board. You'll typically pay between $300-$800 for a home inspection based on location and size of property. Any additional inspections should be carefully considered. If your inspector suggests an additional inspection, talk to your agent. Lay out all the risks, pros, and cons to having an additional inspection. Maybe the home inspector sees something fishy with the septic system and advices someone that specializes in septics take a closer look. It may be more expensive, but so is a new septic.... much more. Each suggestion should be carefully considered.
Should you even bother getting a home inspection?
We have to talk about the market right now and how many buyers are waiving the home inspection just to get the chance at being considered for the house. I cannot in good conscience tell you this is a good idea - or a bad idea. It is a decision to be made on a case by case basis. Newer homes, buyers that will naturally fix up the home or are contractors themselves or buyers that are really, really .... REALLY sure they want to forgo the inspection. Again, this is something that should be carefully considered between you and your agent as every home and situation is unique.
Oh, and we have some awesome home inspectors that we trust to do a great job here in the Colorado Springs real estate area. But are you at that point yet? Maybe you're in the beginning stages of looking and need a buyer's agent first? That's what we're here for. Ready to get started? Check out all the newest listings in Colorado Springs or contact us for more information and to get started with a home inspector, buyer's agent or mortgage lender in our area.