Homebuyers often dread the home inspection, because finding out what's wrong with the home of your dreams can make purchasing that home a bit daunting. If your home-to-be has just been the subject of an inspection with scary results, the following tips will help you understand the report and react accordingly.
Put it in Perspective
When the inspection is over, it's important to keep a healthy perspective. You can expect that any home that isn't new construction will not be perfect. Pipes deteriorate, walls crack, and gutters age and over many years; older homes change in strange and unexpected ways. Once you start digging for problems in an older home, you're sure to come up with a handful of issues, some of which might be quite expensive if you choose to make all the suggested repairs.
Chances are, many of the inconvenient truths revealed in the home inspection are not dire emergencies. Homeowners can live for many months or years using the same old plumbing, wiring and roof while they save up money for repairs and upgrades.
After reading your inspection report, you may feel like walking away from your purchase, but remember that, typically, no home will be repair free. Turning down this house now will mean buying a home with somewhat different problems down the road. Unless your home inspection is unusually bad--and your realtor will help you decide if it is--you're probably better off finding a way to make this deal work, rather than walking away.
Get Estimates and Second Opinions
After taking some time to digest the results of the report, make a list of every problem on your home inspection. Organize the list in two categories: problems you can live with and problems that must be fixed--either by you or the home seller. Unless a repair is required by your mortgage lender or a necessity for making the home safe for occupancy, all repairs are optional.
Start calling contractors and repair professionals for estimates on repairs and upgrades. If possible, meet with each contractor and repair person personally, and ask questions as they assess the problem. Ask questions like:
- How serious is this problem?
- Can I live in the house if this isn't repaired?
- How soon does this need to be addressed?
Finding out the answers to these questions can help you decide whether or not the inspection results were accurate, how much it will cost to repair, and whether or not the problems outlined in the inspection need to be addressed within the first year of living in the home.
Work with Your Agent
Once you know how serious the results of the inspection are and which problems need to be addressed immediately, then it's time to work with your realtor. When the most dire repairs have been identified, your realtor may be able to help you negotiate repairs or a lower price for the home.
Some sellers are highly motivated and cooperative, others are not. An experienced realtor will be able to identify the differences between these two types of sellers, and can help you negotiate a fair deal. For more information about your home's inspection, and for more information about the best way to proceed, contact your realtor.
Getting the inspection back can be intimidating, but as long as you do your research and know your options, you should be able to navigate through with little to no stress.