Home Inspections: Are They Worth the Cost?

14 April 2016   Lora Lopas | West USA of Prescott

Important Tips for Buying or Selling Your Home

When buying a home, several things are offered for you to do at your cost. I often have clients ask “Well, do I have to do that? I’d rather save the money”. STOP RIGHT THERE! Buyers- A home purchase is probably the biggest and most important purchase of your life, and you want to get out of paying a few hundred dollars for a home inspection? Or save the $70 to not do a termite inspection? Sellers- are shocked at the needed repairs the buyer is asking for? Could this have been avoided? Let’s talk about inspections and why they are important.

First let’s talk about a Seller’s home inspection, and I bet 99% of you reading this will think “She’s crazy, why would I pay for a home inspection, which is the Buyer’s responsibility and cost!” True, when you go to sell your home, rarely does a Seller do a home inspection and yes it is the Buyer’s responsibility. But it is actually a great idea to do one as a SELLER. Why? Well, typically the inspection will show you what is really going on with your home, what maintenance has or has not been done, and the report will suggest repairs...this is also what the Buyer’s inspector is going to look for and possibly discover. It can SAVE the sale of your home to know and repair items BEFORE you list your home.

It also makes your home more appealing to a Buyer because you took the time and spent the money to make sure the home you are selling meets health and safety requirements. It gives a sense of “gosh, this homeowner is not trying to hide anything” when the Buyer can read that home inspection and repair report up front and see what has been done. It shows the Seller cares about their home.

For example, if you had a home inspection prior to selling, and the inspector discovered that you had a foundation issue, you have a chance to correct that immediately. If that is not discovered until a buyer has a home inspection, the buyer will likely walk, and even if they want to still buy the home, they are going to ask you to repair the problem. If they are getting a mortgage, it is highly likely their mortgage company is going to require for the issue to be repaired before they fund the mortgage. So the seller either loses the sale and is stuck with the issue and now that buyer is telling everyone they know about “the bad house” potentially making the sale of the home tougher, but also the seller is now going to have to repair the problem anyway! So why not do it right, have a home inspection before listing the home, and catch the problems that will kill the sale? Yup, it’s going to cost you approximately $300-$550 (inspectors typically charge a minimum fee based on square footage) but a potential buyer is likely to offer more if they feel the house is in fantastic condition, and the sale is not likely to fall through due to a buyer’s inspection down the road. In the end this saves you money, and saves you time…but more important it saves you a lot of grief! The sellers that have done this have thanked me in the end. It really can make a difference!

Now let’s talk buyers! Buyers should know they should do a home inspection. I have had buyers looking at brand new homes, directly for sale from the subdivision builder balk at my suggestion of doing an inspection. However, a builder is not perfect, they hire many “subs” and often do not have a detailed knowledge of the property in mass production areas (unless they are building one home at a time and doing most of it themselves and are on-site daily). Builders out there reading this please do not take offense! I had buyers that made an offer on a new home, the buyers agreed to do the inspection, and along with many other issues, it was discovered the home was not insulated! Yes, the buyer ran from that house. Need I say more on how important a home inspection is?!

Now many buyers think a home inspection is their free reign over the seller to ask for everything in that report to be repaired. That is NOT correct. A home inspection is to let the buyer know what they are buying; it is not a repair list for the seller. If there are health and safety issues, it is my opinion that those should be repaired and those are the items I recommend my buyers ask to repair, but if there are leaves in the gutters, that is just a regular maintenance item that yes the seller should have taken care of, but it not something a buyer needs to insist on being completed. What’s going to happen is the seller is going to get very upset and can say no to ALL the other items asked to be corrected. I have seen deals fall apart over items like that. Stick to health and safety issues! Most inspectors will note items that are maintenance items, things that could/should be corrected and things that really need to be corrected. Now sellers, had YOU done that home inspection first, you would know these things and could have avoided this situation!

Should you hire a general home inspector? Most definitely! But you also may hire individual specialists instead. It is easier to hire one person, but you are allowed (during the inspection period) to have anyone inspect the home. You can hire a plumber, electrician, roofer, etc to look at each specific area. I usually recommend hiring the specific field professional if the inspection report recommends that, however if the issue is that big, many buyers will just cancel the sale. But it is YOUR choice on how to handle the inspection period. Are all inspectors fantastic? Honestly, no, but we are lucky in Prescott, the ones I have used or have been involved in my transactions have been great. A good inspector will have photos in the inspection report and point out things to be repaired, ongoing maintenance issues, and even take the time to show you where the water and gas turn offs are.

A termite inspection is required with some mortgages. It runs about $65-$85, and even if you are a cash buyer, it is a good idea to have this inspection done anyway. I bought a home that had known termites and I still had an inspection done. The wood floor of my house had a few strips of duct tape, and when pulled back the termites were right there. The floor needed repairs anyway, and the treatment to the entire foundation was $900, so for the price I was getting the home for, it was definitely something worth doing and staying with the sale of the home instead of running like the previous buyer. So even if something comes up on any report, investigate it before panicking!

Buying and Selling a home is a very emotional experience, so use the experts to help take the stress off. It’s worth spending a little money to have some peace in your life!

Happy Buying and Selling Everyone!

Lora Lopas

West USA of Prescott

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