Once you agree to purchase a piece of property, and your seller is on-board, your real estate agent will order a home inspection to ensure everything is shipshape.
After all, it’s nearly impossible to see and know everything about your property-to-be with the naked eye.
And if you’re not a professional, you’ll miss things, even seemingly obvious stuff that in hindsight you’ll be shocked you missed.
Home Inspection Ordered During the Contingency Period
Fortunately, you are given time to order and review the home inspection before fully committing to the deal, or in other words, relinquishing your earnest money deposit.
This is one of the many real estate contingencies designed to protect home buyers from the unknown.
In California, the contingency period to conduct a home inspection and other important tasks is 17 days.
Because the real estate market has become so competitive, many real estate agents are putting in offers with shorter inspection periods to entice sellers.
So you’ll want to order the home inspection as soon as humanly possible to get the ball rolling once your offer is accepted.
[Common home buying mistakes.]
Those days will go a lot quicker than they sound. You’ll also need to secure financing, assuming you’re not one of the lucky ones who can pay for your house with cash.
Importantly, if your home inspection isn’t “all good,” you won’t want to go spending money elsewhere on things like an appraisal.
Why waste $400 on those items before you actually get the green light to buy your pad?
TIP: Don’t listen to pushy mortgage lenders who tell you to order the appraisal before the inspection is completed to your satisfaction.
Be Present and You Won’t Be Disappointed
Okay, we’ve provided some background on the home inspection and why it’s important, but the main point of this article was to recommend that you actually go to the darn thing.
So go! Yes, it’s a pain in the rear, and it takes time, and it may not be scheduled at a time that is convenient for you.
Sure, you might need to bring your newborn. But guess what? Home buying isn’t all that convenient, and it’s also not a decision that should be taken lightly.
And things you overlook early on will stay with you for a long, long time if they aren’t addressed at the onset.
Along with that, you’ll learn quite a bit if you go to your home inspection. Most of these home inspectors are really nice, smart, insightful people.
They’ll let you accompany them around your new home (or entire grounds if it’s a condo), and you can ask questions the entire time.
You might even learn some DIY stuff along the way.
[Should I buy a house or a condo?]
TIP: If it’s a condo complex, take a look around to see how many Supra keys there are. And look at how many of the power supply boxes are shut off. This will give you a clue as to how vacant the building may be.
Yes, inspections last for hours, but the more time they spend inspecting, the better off you are.
You’ll learn all types of useful stuff, such as how to fix common household problems, even if the inspector doesn’t necessarily find anything wrong.
On top of that, you can ensure the home inspector doesn’t overlook anything in their report if you’re actually present.
For example, they may miss something that only you noticed. And if it’s not in the report, you’ll never know if you don’t show up.
That seemingly small detail could also be a deal breaker, so make sure you’re there, otherwise you’ll deal with a lot of heartache later on. You may also make a purchase you’ll later regret.
Your real estate agent probably won’t go out of their way to point out anything wrong with the property, so the onus is on you to be there.
It’s also not a terrible idea to bring a spouse, sibling, parent, etc. to get another set of eyes on the property.
You’d be amazed at how many things go unnoticed the first time around. With more eyes on the prize, there’s a greater chance you’ll spot more issues. And if you do, you’ll have more opportunity to ask for money from the seller.
You May Need Multiple Home Inspections
These days, a lot of fixer-upper properties are making their way to market. Why? Because long-time owners see a great opportunity to sell for a tidy profit and move on, without having to update their homes.
They know inventory is tight, which allows them to list their properties somewhat as-is, even if they have lots of delayed maintenance.
This makes it all the more important to get inspections done. Yes, plural. Aside from the basic home inspection, there are also pool and spa inspectors, roof inspectors, chimney inspectors, sewer inspectors, and so on.
As a result, it can get expensive in a hurry to really go over the home with a fine-tooth comb.
To keep costs down, but still get an accurate picture of the home, you can call vendors and ask for free quotes for things like a new roof or a new pool deck if you see obvious damage.
In a bid to get your business, contractors may be happy to come out and give you a free quote, and a lot of free insight at the same time. Experts can point things out that you might otherwise not notice. Even the general home inspector might miss it…
Then you can present these quotes to the seller and ask for credits for closing costs or to lower the sales price. If they see real reports with real costs, there’s a higher likelihood you’ll actually see some money from them.
If you don’t bother getting these inspections, you could wind up with a money pit and no funds to cover the eventual costs. So while the upfront fees may seem like a burden, they could pay off big time in the future!