There is no doubt about it that anyone who skips a Windsor home inspection is asking for trouble. As someone who has been in the real estate industry for over 20 years, I think I have heard every excuse from buyers who don’t think they need to have a professional inspection:
“I love the house and I don’t care what is wrong with it!”
“I’m buying this house from a friend! They wouldn’t sell me a house that needs major repairs!”
“The house looks fine to me! Why should I pay for an inspection?”
We hear these statements often, but let me assure you that a home inspection can save a buyer thousands of dollars even if you think the property looks perfect. Home inspectors see a property through untainted eyes. They don’t care that the kitchen is great for entertaining or that the upstairs master bathroom has imported tile. In other words, they don’t look at your home emotionally, and that’s exactly what you need.
For example, here are some horror stories we have heard all too often in the real estate industry:
1. Crumbling Foundation:
A buyer poured her entire savings into a home with great curb appeal. She ignored an inspection because the home was exactly what she was looking for in a school district that is highly coveted. Unfortunately, when she noticed a spongy feel in her hardwood floors, she found out later that her home had serious structure flaws with repair costs looming into well over $100,000. If she had hired an inspector, he would have advised her never to purchase the house because she couldn’t afford to replace the foundation.
2. Outdated Electrical:
One couple fell in love with the historic charm of an old Victorian home. Despite the fact that the house was over 100 years old, they did not get an inspection. They felt it wasn’t necessary since they were buying from a family member who recently had it remodeled. Unfortunately, they later discovered that the electrical system was not only outdated, but also inadequate. They were lucky to discover this before a fire broke out. The cost? Approximately $5,000 on up.
3. Just Because Roof Isn’t Leaking Doesn’t Mean It’s Good!
Remember this: most roof leaks don’t leave any clues just before they start leaking. Next thing you know, you find out you need to spend thousands of dollars for a roof replacement. One first time homebuyer came very close to not getting an inspection despite his real estate agent’s warnings. Fortunately, his parents convinced him or they threatened not to help with the down payment. They discovered in the inspection process that the upstairs attic was leaking. There were no water stains below, but plenty of discoloration marks in the attic itself that could only be seen with a flashlight. The seller ended up replacing the roof and saved the buyer $10,000.
These are just three examples, but certainly there are many more. Every single buyer, even if purchasing a new home, should get a home inspection. And never hire anyone that doesn’t come strongly recommended.
How do you know you have a good inspector?
The key is to be prepared. Even if an inspector comes highly recommended, you need to do some research. Ask questions such as the following:
1. How long have you been in the business?
2. How many hours have you completed?
3. Do you have references?
4. What training do you have?
5. Are you a member of any professional organizations?
6. When will your report be done? How long will it be?
It is also strongly advisable that you attend the inspection as well. As a buyer, you will have all kinds of questions should the inspector find anything that needs attention. Usually, buyers immediately want to know how much a repair will cost. Inspectors are usually good to give you a rough idea and if a repair may be a deal breaker. With the example of the client above who found out too late that she purchased a home with a crumbling foundation, there is an excellent chance she would have run out of that house the minute she heard the dollar figure needed to repair that home. Now she is stuck with a home that is virtually worthless until she comes up with the money to fix the problem.
What I advise any client who doesn’t want a home inspection is to consider this:
Is it worth going broke to save yourself the approximate $500 of a home inspection?
Are the sleepless nights of wondering if any small problem you discover will turn into a larger one, because you didn’t get a home inspection?
Countless things can be wrong with a home and to discover it after the papers have been signed, can leave buyers kicking themselves with regret.