Opening Doors: Home Inspections Important for the First-Time Home Buyer

Jun 21. Posted by: Guild EDGE, Author
Opening Doors: Home Inspections Important for the First-Time Home BuyerBuying a home is the largest purchase that most people will make in their lifetime.

That’s why it’s important for home buyers – especially people buying their first home – to have as much information as possible at their disposal before making the final decision and signing (many times!) on the dotted line.

Completing a home inspection before the transaction closes can provide valuable information about the condition of a house and can help home buyers make sound decisions regarding their home purchase.

How to find a qualified home inspector

One way for home buyers to find a qualified inspector is by talking to friends, relatives or business associates. Often, someone you know can recommend a trustworthy, competent home inspector. Another way to get a referral is to ask your real estate agent or loan officer at Guild Mortgage.

Finally, you can contact a professional organization such as the American Society of Home Inspectors or, depending on where you live, a similar state organization such as the California Real Estate Inspection Association. Both have online referral services on their websites.

The ins and outs of home inspections

It’s important to note the distinctions between a home inspection and a property appraisal. The latter seeks to establish the market value of a property, while an inspection is focused on the home’s structural and mechanical systems.

Home inspections are not mandatory, but you can eliminate a lot of surprises and buyer’s remorse should you go ahead and complete the buy somewhat blindly and emotionally, which can happen. One approach is to include a home inspection contingency in your purchase offer, which would allow you to withdraw your offer if the inspection reveals major problems that neither the buyer nor seller wants to fix.

Generally, a home inspection report will cover the condition of the home’s heating and air conditioning systems; interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; and the foundation, basement and other structural components, including walls, beams and roofs where termite damage might hide.

What will an inspection cost?

The cost of a home inspection varies by location, size, age and optional services or features such as septic, well or radon testing, swimming pools or tubs.

Make sure that the inspector you hire is fully qualified for the job; the lowest price may not always provide the best results. Review sample reports to get a feel for the quality of their work. Generally, buyers are responsible for paying for the cost of the inspection.

Tag along with the inspector

Although buyers don’t have to be present for a home inspection, it’s in their best interest to watch the inspector at work, see first-hand what the inspector is identifying as an issue and ask questions. This approach provides the most bang for your buck, including getting ideas from the inspector about the estimated cost of any needed repairs, and learning more about ongoing home maintenance.

Get a written inspection report that details any issues regarding the house so you have documentation from an outside source for any future negotiations with the seller.

Using the information you obtain through a home inspection

It is rare for an inspection to find no problems whatsoever; after all, no house is perfect. But just because an inspection turns up needed repairs or maintenance, it doesn’t mean you should walk away from the deal.

Instead, use the information to help you decide whether the purchase is right for you. Determine how much needed repairs will cost, whether you can afford them, and if the agreed-upon purchase price makes sense in light of the new information. Sometimes a seller will be willing to make the repairs to ensure the sale goes forward.

Hiring a qualified professional to conduct a thorough home inspection can provide peace of mind for all home buyers, knowing they are better equipped to make informed, unemotional decisions as they go through the process.

Michelle Castle provides mortgage loans to all of North Texas and Southern Oklahoma. Call Michelle Castle at (903) 892-1998 if you are looking for a home loan in North Texas and Southern Oklahoma. Click here to visit Michelle’s website and apply for a loan.

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