by Michael Hills, Vice President of Brokerage at Atlas Real Estate
Once your offer to buy a home enters into contract, a home inspection is the pivotal event for deciding whether to move forward with the contract, kill it all together, or renegotiate based on inspection findings. An effective home inspection can reveal critical information about the apparent and underlying condition of a home, making you, the buyer, aware of maintenance, repairs, and overall costs the home may require immediately and over time.
Oftentimes, home buyers think (wishfully) that the house they want to buy is going to be perfect. However, that is never the case. Even with new builds or recently renovated properties, it is important for buyers to realize there are going to be changes that need to be made, whether they are cosmetic or functional.
Cosmetic changes are typically based on the buyer’s personal preference, such as carpeting, paint and other stylist choices. A home inspector should also look for cosmetic flaws that would result in needed repairs such as broken windowpanes or cracks in drywall. While cosmetic issues are important to be aware of and consider, it is the functional issues identified through a home inspection that can lead to major changes in a contract.
Depending on where you live (i.e., dry or wet climate), some of the key functional areas to consider in a home inspection are: roof, foundation, plumbing and pipes, electrical, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and cooling) systems, leaks, mold, rotting wood and termite damage, radon, asbestos, and certain building code violations. These areas will entail the repairs or replacements necessary and can also be associated with health and safety issues down the line; therefore, they are the focus of an effective inspection.
As the potential home buyer, once you receive the inspection report, it is essential to have it reviewed by an industry professional. These reports can be daunting to read and interpret, ranging from 30 to 80 pages and filled with industry terms. It is important for you to not panic when reviewing an inspection report. It is the inspector’s job to note every single minor detail during the inspection process.
Even if your inspection report is 50 pages long, it does not mean the home is going to fall down. On the bright side, the report findings may provide ample ammo for contract negotiations and will undoubtedly provide you with the information needed to plan financially for the pending sale and future property needs.
Michael Hills is the Vice President of Brokerage at Atlas Real Estate, a full service real estate company specializing in investment brokerage, property management and institutional acquisition.