In the home buying process, knowing what you are buying is critical, but sometimes difficult to assess. Typically, a prospective home buyer only sees the property once or maybe twice before putting in an offer. With a price tag in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, this is one of the biggest purchases we ever make, but we hardly know what we are buying. By comparison, we typically spend more time researching the purchase of a TV or computer, than we do our next home.
Inspection Saves the Day
Part of the purchasing process is the opportunity to inspect the property, both personally and with the assistance of a professional home inspector. Your Realtor® will work with the seller to set a time to perform a home inspection. The buyer should always be at the inspection with their agent. This is the one time you get to look at every detail of the home before finishing the transaction.
There are a lot of inspectors to choose from, and the decision on who to select is ultimately yours. Your real estate agent will certainly have a list of people they like and use regularly. Ask your agent to recommend a couple of inspectors and then discuss the credentials of each.
Qualities of a Good Inspector
Not all inspection companies are created equal. When selecting an inspector, there are some common items to consider.
Everyone in an industry has to start somewhere, but this is one instance where using an inspector who is brand new to the industry could be detrimental. Knowledge is king. You only have one shot at learning about the home you are buying, so ask about their experience and length of time in the industry.
Through the growth of technology, most inspectors utilize programs or applications to do the inspection and create a final report. The programs also serve as a checklist for the inspector, so things are not missed or forgotten. In the end, you will typically receive a fifty-plus page report, complete with descriptions and photos. Speaking of photos, be sure your inspector isn’t shy about taking a lot of pictures. Photos are often your proof to the seller there is an issue to be addressed.
Again, through today’s technology, inspectors have more tools to provide in-depth information in your final report. We are now seeing more infrared cameras being used by inspectors. The hand-held device has the ability to differentiate between hot and cold areas. Hidden water leaks inside walls are instantly visible through this technology.
What did the inspector do in their previous jobs or careers? Someone with a construction background, or insurance adjusters will have even more knowledge and experience to rely on. All of this expertise benefits you!
Once you are at the inspection, a good inspector will let you follow them through the home and will stop to explain issues they find along the way. You should always feel free to ask questions. At the end of the inspection, you should get a verbal recap of what they found, and then the full written report within 24 hours.
Rely on Your Realtor®
Your Realtor® should be at the inspection as well. It is their responsibility to discuss your areas of concern from the inspection and prepare the Inspection Objection, which lists all of the issues you would like the seller to address. On the flip side, you really don’t want the seller to be there. This is a time when you, your agent and the inspector need to be free to talk.
In the purchasing process, you should ask a lot of questions. If anyone working on your behalf through the transaction isn’t communicating, consider finding a replacement. After all, in the end you are the one paying the mortgage. There is a lot at stake, and you should be well informed.
Jim Brown is a Realtor® and agent success leader at Private Label Realty in Denver, Colorado. He advises, assists and mentors agents at all levels to help them succeed and grow their real estate business. www.JimBrown.me