Ahh, home inspections. The can of worms in real estate. Most states have inspections after you enter contract, however, in the strange state of New York home inspections are typically the first step after negotiating price. They have the possibility to be an emotional earthquake that tears down a house, especially with first time homebuyers, who are already nervous about the process, and rightfully so. You're making the largest financial transaction of your lifetime, and you want it to be a sound one. Now, nothing in this world is perfect, and homes are no exception to that rule. Rarely, and by rarely I mean never, do you find a home that has no problems that show up during an inspection. Even new construction homes have their flaws, and it is the inspectors job to point them out. This post is to help you get yourself in the right mindset for Inspection Day and to know what to expect when you're inspecting.
Before you even go to the inspection, you need to choose a trusted inspector. Like anything else, shop around before you go with a solid decision. Ask your realtor for some referrals and then find reviews online about each one you're considering. A good inspector will have an established online presence with a multitude of reviews at their side. If you're going with an inspector that you've picked by yourself, run it by your real estate agent, as most likely they, or someone they know in the industry has worked with that inspector before.
Once you've picked an inspector and are at the inspection, be sure to keep an open mind. Things will go wrong. There will be at least one "major" problem in the inspection report that should be addressed, along with a multitude of "minor" problems, such as flashing needed around the chimney, incorrectly installed GFCI outlets, and insufficient grading around the house. These problems will arise in most houses, especially older ones. The minor problems are not ones to worry about, they are usually quick, cheap fixes and are relatively easy to do by yourself. You want to keep an eye out for the major problems, ones that pose an obstacle when it comes to structure, plumbing or heating. If the heating system isn't working and uses an asbestos boiler, you're going to need to replace it. If the heating system isn't working because of a faulty thermostat, well, most of the times replacing the batteries in the thermostat will do the trick. It's not always about the problem itself, but about the severity of the problem.
Mold. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Let's talk about mold, baby. Let's talk about you and me. Okay I'll stop. But take this one piece of information with you to inspections; every basement will have either mold or mildew in it. Fungi thrive in damp areas, and most basements are naturally damp and a little more humid than the rest of the house. So, expect it to come up in an inspection report. Addressing mold/mildew is more about remediation than removal, as long as the basement isn't coated in a layer of black mold. 99% of the time, your inspector will tell you the best way to prevent mold/mildew is to have proper ventilation. If there's a crawl space, a vapor barrier might be recommended as well. Both of these are not costly investments, and are worth it when the other option is to let your house get infested with fungus. So don't worry when you hear the word mold. It exists in nearly every house in the world, but you can keep it to a healthy level so no damage can be done.
So. The inspection is done. You're looking at your 31 page inspection report, drinking a bottle of sauvignon because all of these things look like they're going to cost you approximately 30 trillion dollars. Now you expect the seller to take care of every problem in the report, because hey, after all, it's their house, right? Wrong. Very wrong. Similar with negotiating the price of the home, you can renegotiate after the inspection. But the key part to negotiation is often compromise. What I tell my clients about renegotiating is that if there is a truly major problem with the house; one that needs to be addressed immediately or your safety is at risk, then we ask the seller to take care of it before closing, and we have the attorneys write an addendum into the contract to make sure it gets done. If you're going to try to get the seller to replace all the door hinges with hydraulic ones, refinish all of the wood floors, install brand new escutcheons, add an extra layer of insulation in the basement, install safety sensors on the garage doors, plus the other 15 minor things; most likely the seller will smile and move on to the next buyer in line. Buying a house will take work, and that should be one of the things you expect in your purchase.
In ending this, all I have to say is, don't worry. If you walk into the inspection with an open mind, knowing that some things will go wrong, you will be absolutely fine. A good inspector will talk you through the process, explaining everything they see and showing you exactly how to address certain issues. If you have questions about anything, simply ask. You aren't alone in this process, and have a wide array of professionals who will help you through.
Author:Thomas Ricapito Phone: 914-804-3048 Dated: November 18th 2016 Views: 3,735 About Thomas: I got into real estate sales by accident in 2006. At the time, I recently earned a Bachelor's Degre...
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