If you're like most people, your new home is one of the biggest investments that you're ever going to make. That means that you should do everything you can to ensure that it's a sound investment before you sign on the dotted line. Don't look at the home inspection as just another chore that you have to get through in order to get the house – it's an important factor in sizing up the investment you're about to make, and you should take full advantage of that. Here are some tips that can help.
Don't Choose a Building Inspector Based on Price
You know the expression, "you get what you pay for"? This is as true of building inspectors as it is of anything else. Don't just choose the cheapest inspector you can find. What you'll get is most likely the inspector with the least ability or the least experience.
Instead, look for someone who's competent, experienced, and most of all, thorough. You want them to do their best to find anything wrong with the house before you end up buying the problem. It's best to interview several inspectors before choosing one. Ask to see their credentials, and ask whether they carry errors and omissions insurance that will protect you if they make a mistake.
Tag Along on Inspection Day
Sometimes a written report just isn't enough to give you a full picture. If you rely solely on the inspector's written report, you may brush off potentially serious concerns that are downplayed in writing. On the other hand, minor problems can sometimes be blown out of proportion in writing.
Going along with the inspector gives you a context for the items that will be mentioned in the written report. You won't have to guess whether a problem is minor or major based on writing style, because you'll have seen it for yourself already. Being there when the home is being inspected also means that you'll have the opportunity to ask questions if you don't understand something.
Follow Up on Problems Noted in the Inspection
A building inspector may be able to tell you that the roof has weak spots, but they can't tell you exactly how long it will be before the rain is leaking inside the house. They may be able to tell you that the water heater is old and should be replaced before it bursts or stops heating correctly, but they can't tell you when one of those things might happen.
If your building inspector finds potential problems with the house, it's your job to follow them up with the experts. Call a roofer to evaluate whether you need a patch job or a new roof. Have a plumber come out and tell you if the water heater is already on its last legs. Following up with an expert can give you a clearer idea of how much you'll need to spend on the house right off the bat – and it may give you some negotiating room when it comes to the price of the house.
Remember, the building inspector is there for you – unlike the seller or the real estate agent, the building inspector gets paid whether or not the sale of the house goes through. It's in the inspector's best interest to give you the facts, no matter what, and it's in your best interest to pay attention.
For more information, contact Home Inspection Associate or a similar company.