Maybe you have been in the market to buy a new home for a while now, however, you keep coming up short with your offer. Afterall, the market to buy a house can be a competitive place, offers above asking price with minimal contingencies seem to be a win for sellers. When sellers win, a buyer can be left holding the bag on what they thought was their dream home turning into a financial nightmare.
Lately, signs show a market shift to a favorable market for buyers. With inflation and interest rates pointing in the upward direction, this leaves some buyers pumping the brakes wondering whether they should buy a house or not. For sellers, they might be more hesitant to list their home knowing they might not get as much money as they would have in the last two years and that sale may come with more contingencies. Regardless, there will always be people needing to sell and buy a house.
You’ve decided to throw your hat in the ring and buy that house you’ve been dreaming of. Interest rates are higher, but you plan on not letting that stop you, after all, you can refinance later if given the chance. Your buying power may be less, but you are still determined. The price range you find yourself in to buy points to houses that might be older and needing more work. How do you prepare yourself for such a purchase? Let me first tell you, in 7+ years inspecting over 1000 homes, I’ve seen the good, bad, and ugly and not one house was perfect, they all needed something fixed. No house is perfect.
First, buyers you should always opt for a home inspection contingency, no matter how nice your prospective house looks. Remember, up until now, looking for that home you have only seen how the house has been marketed and viewed by the realtors involved. Everyone thinks it’s beautiful and has tons of character. But that house was built in 1920, that’s over 100 years of history, wow, if only these walls could talk right? A lot can happen in 100+ years, modifications, repairs, additions to the structure, remodeling, weather events, you name it. You’ve done the right thing and opted for a home inspection, now what? You may wonder, what is a home inspection really and what will it reveal about my prospective home purchase? Will a house from 1920 end up being as beautiful as everyone says it is?
A home inspection provides you with an unbiased evaluation of this house, which means my job is to observe and report my findings to you in a non-alarming and unbiased manner. Therefore, home inspections are not concerned with the cosmetics of the house. A home inspection is not a building codes inspection either, it is solely based on the safety, operation, and condition of the components inspected. Often a home inspector is the first person in the purchase equation to tell the buyer the truth about the house. Sellers may not knowingly or properly disclose things and realtors aren’t trained to be home inspectors. That is why buyers need to have the right expectations when buying an older house. If you buy a ten-year-old car with 100K miles, you can’t buy that expecting there will be nothing wrong with it and that it will last forever and need no repairs, the house you purchase is the same way. It is important to go into a home inspection with an open and clear mind knowing all homes have defects and everything found can be repaired. Your home inspector should encourage you to attend and engage during your home inspection as they are a huge resource knowing about how a house works and is maintained. Attending also allows them to explain any defects and how they are repaired. These defects may not come across to you in your report in the same light.
So attending your home inspection with the correct mindset is important. Your inspector is going to point things out to you that need maintenance and repairs (remember, there’s no perfect home). Next, everything the inspector talks about can be repaired and you may have the option to have the seller make those repairs or you may receive a credit at closing to take care of those repairs yourself after moving in. Items of concern to you will usually need the further evaluation by a qualified contractor. The contractor is the expert in their field and they will be able to determine the full scope of the repair needed and its estimated cost. Its important to communicate any items in the home inspection report concerning to you to your agent or lawyer, they are your advocate to see that negotiations for these repairs are brought to the table. Remember, home inspections protect your health, safety and financial interest.