Congratulations — you’ve finally found a house in [area] that you love, and your offer has been accepted. Now what? The next step in home buying is doing your inspections. While this process isn’t extraordinarily difficult, it does help if you go into it as informed as possible.
Inspections are optional
Put simply, you don’t have to do any inspections if you don’t want to. Alternatively, you could choose to do some, but not others. It’s entirely up to you. Your comfort level should dictate which make the most sense for you to elect to perform.
Each decision has its own advantages and disadvantages. Typically, when people choose to waive inspections, they do so in order to put themselves in a stronger bargaining position with the sellers. When you agree to waive inspections, you’re essentially saying that you’ll agree to buy the home, regardless of any problems that it has. You’re also not going to ask for any fixes or money toward future repairs.
That said, going this route is scary for most buyers. After all, buying a home with problems unknown is a huge leap of faith. Most choose to take a happy medium, where they elect to do a property inspection, plus one or two supplemental ones for things like radon or wood-destroying insects.
Inspections are regulated
Once you’ve decided which inspections you’re going to perform on the home, your next step is figuring out which company you feel most comfortable working with. Know that these types of inspections can’t be completed by just any contractor. The job requires a certified inspector in order to be considered valid and applicable to the transaction.
The two societies responsible for certifying home inspectors are The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and The Professional Association of Building Inspectors (PABI). No matter who you ultimately choose to inspect your home, make sure they are a member of at least one of these two organizations. If not, save your money and look elsewhere.
In addition to checking certifications, you should also do some additional research to make sure that you choose the right company for your needs. Go online and read reviews from other customers to learn about their experiences. Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask inspectors some questions of your own.
Inspections are for your benefit
Inspections often get a bad rap because they come at a cost, but, ultimately, they’re there for your benefit. They show you what, if anything, might be wrong with the home as it is right now. They also give you the opportunity to negotiate any fixes that must be made before you buy the home.
They’re also your “get out of jail free” card. Inspections are contingencies, which means that, in order for the transaction to continue to move forward, they need to happen on time and be resolved in a way that both the buyer and the seller agree upon. Otherwise, you’re free to walk away from the transaction with your deposit money still in hand.