Your home inspection list of 7 missteps to avoid
Once your offer has been accepted, you may wish to think about having a survey undertaken. As the buyer, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared & know what to expect.
We’ve compiled a list of the seven biggest home inspection missteps that cost buyers money. Read them over to make sure you go into this process with your best foot forward:
1. Skipping the inspection entirely
When you buy a property you don’t have to get a survey, your mortgage company may require you have a valuation inspection but this is for their benefit and is not a survey although you will find you often have to pay for it. If you decide to not have a survey, you’re essentially agreeing to buy the property, regardless of any damage that may be present. You’re also agreeing to take financial responsibility for the necessary repairs.
In contrast, if you elect to have a survey done, you’ll have the opportunity to walk away from the deal, if the damage is too extensive for you to handle.
You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons to decide whether not the extra bargaining power is worth it.
Ask yourself: Is this your dream home? Will you be devastated if it goes to someone else? Are you financially equipped to handle potentially-costly, unexpected repairs? Would you feel more comfortable looking at another home where electing to perform a home inspection is not a deal-breaker?
2. Hiring someone uncertified
As the buyer, you’re responsible for hiring the surveyor of your choice. There are a range of people who might offer that service but who are they? The most likely professional that you would use would be a Chartered Surveyor. You can check the surveyors professional status on the RICS website to be working as a Chartered Surveyor they must be properly registered, insured and up-to-date on their continuing professional development.
There are other professionals offering home inspections but these are less common.
3. Neglecting to read reviews first
That said, being properly certified isn’t the only quality that you should look for in a home inspector.
Just as you would with any other contractor, you should do a little research to get a sense of their work history before hiring the person that you feel is the best fit. Personal recommendation is a great way to find a Surveyor.
It is useful to speak to the Surveyor, get an idea whether they are familiar with the type of the property you are buying. Most Surveyors are happy to cover specific issues for you if you ask beforehand.
4. Having unrealistic expectations
The term ‘home survey’ can be a bit vague, so it’s not all that surprising that many buyers aren’t sure what to expect. It’s important to know what the report does and doesn’t contain.
There are a range of Survey products from the basic HomeScore Report, the very common RICS HomeBuyer Report through to the more in-depth RICS Building Survey (previously called a Structural Survey).
While putting your offer together, you should ask the agent you’re working with if any additional inspections are appropriate.
5. Skimming the inspection report
Sometimes inspection reports can get a little long and dense, so buyers will make the mistake of skimming it rather than reading the whole thing. Unfortunately, this can have unexpected consequences, especially if you should happen to miss a huge – or expensive – issue.
The reality is, the inspection report is your get-out-of-jail-free card. If a problem is discovered during the inspection that’s too big for you to handle, you can walk away from the deal and get your money back – as long as you cite the problem during negotiations. If you don’t mention it, but discover the problem later, there’s no going back. Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into before your money is on the line.
6. Negotiating poorly
Most buyers wish that they could ask the sellers to fix all of the problems found on the inspection report. While that would be ideal, it’s also unrealistic. Negotiations are a give-and-take, after all, and it’s a much better idea to make sure that sellers feel compelled to fix the most important issues with their home, rather than letting them cherry-pick the easiest ones from a long list.
When negotiating, it is often recommend that you focus on the two or three problems that are most important to you and chalk the rest up to the cost of homeownership.
Keep in mind that structural or mechanical issues are often big-ticket fixes that you’ll want the seller to handle. Smaller fixes that can be done by a handyman can often be taken care of at a later date and at little cost to you.
7. Forgetting to collect documentation
If your seller does agree to do some repairs, you’ll want to be sure to collect any documentation on the work that was done. Contractor invoices can give you reassurance that the repair was made by a qualified professional and will also give you someone to turn to in the event that there’s another problem down the road.
A version of this article originally appeared on OpenListings. PeteFlintMurrayLtd is sharing this article as a point of interest. The article was originally written for an American market and some changes have been made. There is no financial reward or benefit to the article being published.