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A Home Inspector Is A Home Buyer's Best Friend
After weeks, maybe even months of searching, you’ve finally found your dream home. It’s everything you wanted and more. You’re already envisioning how your favorite chair will look in that charming little corner by the window. But before you move in, it’s important that you get better acquainted with the property you’ve fallen in love with.
While the hardwood floors are to die for and you love the bay window in the den, some of the things that may not be visible to the typical buyer’s eye need to be taken into account. Are the electrical systems up to date? Is the home properly insulated? Are there any signs of deterioration on the exterior of the home? Are there any areas of concern in the crawl space or basement such as mold or fungi? These are all questions that should be asked. However it will take a trained professional to answer them. That’s where your new best friend, the home inspector, comes in.
A home inspector is trained to diligently assess damage, deterioration and potential danger in a home. “A complete home inspection covers all of the major systems of a house, including structure, exterior, roofing, electrical, heating, cooling, insulation, plumbing and interior,” says Scott Dana, owner of Dana Home Inspections in Roswell, Georgia and an officer in the Georgia Chapter of the National Association of Home Inspectors. Once a home inspector evaluates the home, he or she writes a comprehensive report, including photos, which explains in detail any defects or hazards that are apparent. Unfortunately not every report will be favorable and high hopes can suddenly become deflated due to bad news. But regardless, a home inspection is critical to the safety, security and sealing of the deal in any real estate transaction.
Naturally with every major transaction there are risks involved. Even home inspectors can’t guarantee every aspect of the property. “Inspectors are limited by what they can see and touch. Thus, there may be issues inside walls or in inaccessible areas that may have problems that inspectors will not be able to see,” says Scott Dana. However, as the buyer you can rest easier by doing your due-diligence and taking every measure to ensure that your dream home doesn’t turn into an unfortunate nightmare.
While style, location and affordability are all important factors when purchasing a home, safety comes first. There’s nothing more important than being assured that the property you purchase will be free of harm for you and your family. A home inspection will help you determine that there are no hazardous conditions. Something as simple as a defective safety reverse mechanism on a garage door or a garage door opener installed lower than the manufacturer recommended 60 inches from the ground would probably not be noticed by an eager buyer. But these oversights could be potentially dangerous for a small child in the home. Buyers also may be unaware of problems in crawl spaces or basements such as pests, infestation or hazardous substances such as mold. Inspectors will know to look in these areas and determine if there is cause for concern.
“When an inspector finds something that appears to be mold, they typically tell their clients that they have detected a "mold-like" substance and that further testing is needed by a company that specializes in mold detection and remediation,” says Scott Dana. These precautions are critical and are imperative in determining that the home you’re buying will be a safe and healthy environment for your family.
Because your home is one of the largest investments you will make, you want to be sure that your investment is secure. What may seem initially like a charming fixer-upper could turn into a money pit if substantial needed repairs are not discovered before the deal is closed. A home inspection will allow buyers to make more informed decisions about the soundness of their investment by determining exactly how much work and money may be required to resolve any issues. Homes that are in need of a little TLC can still be great deals as long as the repairs required are primarily cosmetic and affordable rather than structural and costly. Major issues can be a real deal breaker.
“By far the biggest deal breakers are those requiring the most money to fix, including problems with the foundation or structure of the home. Conversely, deal breakers can also be lots of little cost items that, when taken as a whole, cause the buyer to not feel good about the home. Lastly, if a house has a more-than-minor mold problem, or high levels of Radon gas detected, that might cause the deal to fall through,” Scott Dana remarks.
SEALING THE DEAL
Once your home inspection has been completed, what next? If the home inspector’s report doesn’t note any serious problems, you’re well on your way to moving into your dream home! If the report lists a number of issues and areas of concern, you still have a few options. Firstly, you can ask the seller to make repairs. A motivated seller may be eager to appease a willing buyer and work to remedy areas of concern noted in the inspection report. Secondly, you can negotiate. “[Buyers] can get estimates of repairs and place a bid on the property taking into consideration those potential costs,” says Scott Dana. Lastly, if the inspection report lists a large number if issues, you can continue your home search and find a property that will require less maintenance and attention.
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