New buyers might balk at the several hundred dollars it costs to hire a professional home inspector. But buying property is a major real estate decision, and you’d be foolish to jump into it without a thorough home inspection. After the fact, you’re almost sure to be glad that you had your home inspected; a full 97% of homeowners believe that their home inspection was a good value, according to one survey.
Still, there are a few things you’ll want to do to maximize the benefit of your home inspection:
- Hire a Well Qualified Inspector
Not all home inspectors are equally competent, so you’ll need to find an inspector you can trust. You don’t want to move into a new house only to find electrical problems or water damage an inspector should have spotted! The best way to find a great home inspector is by doing your research. Ensure that any inspector you’re considering is licensed (if your state requires it), carries insurance, and has many years of experience in the particular region where you’re buying. A few inspectors will offer guarantees on their work, and that’s a nice bonus.
- Tag Along on Inspection Day
If your inspector is fine with it — and most should be — go along on the inspection to get a better idea of what is being inspected and how. A thorough inspection will involve checking out not only the main living area, but also areas such as the attic and crawl space. The inspector will be looking for issues with the structure, wiring/electrical, water/plumbing, and more. You’ll probably learn a lot about the home that’s likely to be yours soon just by watching.
- Don’t Hesitate to Ask Questions
Once your inspector gives you his or her report on the home’s condition, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Although you don’t want to completely rely on the opinion of your inspector when it comes to how much certain repairs should cost, many inspectors have years of experience and can give you some ballpark figures that can be helpful in deciding whether or not the home is a good purchase — plus, that knowledge can give you some leverage when it comes to negotiating the final price of the property.
Where are you in the process of buying a home? Join the discussion in the comments.