Looking for your dream home? Don't forget to have an inspection!
Find A Professional Home Inspector
Over the past 6 months, house prices in Michigan have been sky rocketing. There are more buyers on the market than we have seen in years, and everybody is clamoring to find their new home. Banks are lending, mortgages are getting approved, things are really turning around. If you are in the market for a new home, there are some very important things to keep in mind.
For starters, find yourself a reputable home inspector. In Michigan, there are no licensing requirements to be considered a 'home inspector', so make sure you do your research before you hire somebody. A professional inspector should have a checklist that they go through, inspecting all the basic elements of the property. Many of them even take pictures to go along with their report. Don't be afraid to ask questions and request references.
A home is a major purchase and should not be taken lightly. Keep in mind that although a home inspector can help you find major issues with the home, they are not usually liable for problems found later, so make sure they are reputable. A great home inspector might cost $500, while a discount home inspector may only cost $350, but the $150 that you save could cost you thousands in the future.
Buying a home is a very emotional experience. When you are looking for your forever home, it's easy to get caught up in the size of the kitchen, the number of bedrooms, or the color of the carpet. When you walk into the home of your dreams and fall in love, be careful not to forget that there is more to the house than meets the eye! This is why it is very important to have a trusted, reputable home inspector come and take a look before you sign on the dotted line.
Can't I Inspect A Home Myself?
Like many people, when your Realtor recommends that you hire a home inspector, you might think "Why can't I do it myself?"
While it is true that you can turn on a faucet, flip some light switches, and poke your head in the attic, there is a lot more to inspecting a home than you may think. For example, a home inspector may go into a basement and notice a small stain on the wall indicating a dormant water leak. He may check an attic and see that the R-value of the insulation is not up to code, or notice slight discoloration around an improperly vented bathroom fan indicating mold growth. You would be amazed at the things that your inspector will find that you missed, even things that seem completely obvious. It is very easy to overlook things when you fall in love with a house!
Attic mold isn't always obvious
It's Not Always A Big Deal!
That being said, a lot of things that an inspector will find don't necessarily need to kill the deal. He might find a couple of outlets that aren't grounded properly, or inadequate attic ventilation. Things like this are very easy to fix, and you may even be able to get the seller to cover the expenses. Sometime buyers start to panic when the inspector starts listing problems with the home. Unless you're buying new construction, there is probably going to be a problem with every single home you look at. This is not necessarily something to be really concerned about. The inspector is just doing his job, which is to find problems with the house. A lot of issues are minor and easily corrected, so just because your inspector keeps writing things down isn't necessarily a reason to worry!
However, there are often times more serious defects with homes that may not be immediately obvious to the home buyer. For example, older homes often times settle and begin to sag in certain areas. While it may not be noticeable when you are just walking through a home, an inspector will be looking for things like this. When homes begin to shift and sag, you will see problems with doors and windows not closing properly, floors and walls looking a little crooked and corners not being square, foundations cracking, porches pulling away from the home, as well as many other signs. A problem like this can be very expensive and difficult to correct. Discuss any defects thoroughly with the home inspector so you understand exactly what the situation is. If you really like the house, don't be afraid to ask the seller if they will be willing to repair the home before purchase, or if you can have a contractor out to give you an estimate on repairing to defect so you can make an educated decision.
Structural cracking due to home shifting
Even things that work might soon need replaced
An inspector will also be able to tell you when aspects of the home are reaching the end of their useful lifespan. For example, a roof that is 15-20 years old may need to be replaced within the next couple of years. This is a substantial expense that will need to be planned for, and it best to know ahead of time before you buy a home. In an older home, there may be the original electrical wiring throughout the home, sometimes even with old fuses instead of breakers. While it may be completely functional, there are other things to consider. Oftentimes, older homes only have one outlet per room, and they are not usually grounded. They also often don't have ceiling lights. Are you going to move your dream home, only to realize that there aren't enough outlets to supply a modern day lifestyle? Rewiring electrical in older homes can be costly and time consuming, and is something that is easily overlooked during the purchasing process.
This roof is reaching the end of it's useful lifespan
Don't cheap out
As you can see, having a second set of experienced eyes look over a house before you buy it can be invaluable. That is why we never recommend attempting to save money by doing the inspection yourself. Do your research, hire a good inspector, and thoroughly review the inspection after it is completed.