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Inspect the Inspector's Inspection
You’ve all heard the saying “buyer beware” or “caveat emptor.” It’s true. It’s always the best practice to get a potential property inspected before buying. Depending on the market you live in, it will cost you.
Don’t be a tightwad. Get the house inspected. For all you know there are rats in the cellar and termites eating away at the rafters. The place might be a fire hazard or a money pit. Get it inspected!
I paid $265 for my home inspection. That’s about average for a small house in Yakima, Washington. It might be upward of $500 where you live, but don’t be cheap or think you know enough to do it yourself. Home inspectors know all of the up-to-date codes. You don’t. Unless you’re an inspector. They can catch things that need fixed before a sale. In a buyer’s market, the seller usually finances the repairs. Having my home inspected saved me thousands of dollars.
The inspector, my real estate agent, Mike Kerins, and I met at the house one sunny afternoon in early October. It’s always best practice to be present during the inspection. It’s a bonus if you have a real estate agent like Mike who’ll come along, too. Extra sets of eyes can be helpful. You need to do your best to inspect the inspector’s inspection. But don’t get in his way. Let him do his job. I went up on the roof, in the attic, and under the house with the home inspector.
The inspector checked the roofing, exterior, garage, interiors, structural components, plumbing system, electrical system, heating and air, insulation and ventilation, and built-in appliances. Mike and I followed and asked questions. But even with three sets of eyes, there were still some oversights.
The inspector noted that the circuit-breaker box needed updated. That saved me thousands of dollars. He didn’t notice a misaligned furnace exhaust pipe. That’s a forthcoming story about the hot-air heater guy, and it cost me a little. He noticed that the chimney flashing needed work. That saved me more money. He didn’t point out that the outlets in the house were the old two-prong style and could have been rewired before the sale. He’s human. He missed a couple of things.
If I’d known then what I know now, I’d have looked at things more closely myself. But I was a first-time homebuyer. I was excited. I was tired of renting the a place that was growing too small for my daughter and me. And the rats really were in the cellar of that old place.
The inspector wrote up his report. Based on the inspection report, Mike and I decided to ask for some repairs before the sale: the circuit-breaker box and the chimney flashing. There were some other small issues, but we decided not to ask for too much. The sellers had already taken $4,000 off the asking price, were willing to pay for Mike’s services, and were paying the closing costs. We didn’t want to offend them by asking for too much.
Do you have any advice about home inspections?
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