Ask any sports team and they will tell you that who is on the team matters. Each member of the team plays a key role in achieving the team’s overall success.
So when it comes to buying a home, perhaps the largest investment purchase one will ever make, it is imperative to choose your team wisely.
Depending on what part of the country you live in, the home inspector plays a crucial role in getting your home purchase to the finish line and how well you get there. Here’s why.
The role of the home inspector is to educate the buyers about how the house works as well as to identify what is not working, potential environmental and safety issues, and structural concerns. An understanding of how the house works and the ongoing maintenance that is recommended is especially important to first-time home buyers.
So imagine for a moment that you are all excited that you found a house you love, and with the help of your realtor, you successfully navigated the multiple offer process. And in this unprecedented hyper-competitive market with low inventory and soaring buyer demand, winning the multiple bid process is a celebration!
Fast forward to the home inspection which can take 2 to 3 hours. Up to this point, you only may have been in the house for 20 minutes, so you welcome the opportunity to spend more time and envision all the memories you will create in the years ahead.
And room by room you go with the home inspector. Your head begins to spin. There is so much to know about owning a home! You begin to hear some negative things and all you can think of is that your dream home has flaws!
It is at this very moment that you realize your choice of home inspector matters. This is because the home inspector needs to provide you with a balanced perspective about the home. Unless the house is brand new, the home inspector will find something. While most buyers will expect to hear some “bad news”, how the information is communicated varies from one inspector to another. Much like a doctor who delivers an unfortunate diagnosis to a patient, a professional home inspector with a good “bedside manner” will help smooth over the buyer’s emotional stress and anxiety when purchasing a home.
In addition to conducting the inspection itself, a very important role of the inspector is to prepare the home inspection report. A well-written and organized report is not just for documenting the findings. It is a communication tool used in negotiating home inspection issues with the sellers. The specific verbiage, along with photos, contained in the inspection report are typically shared in an attorney review letter to the sellers. In an inspection report that often can be in excess of 30 pages, having an executive summary that highlights the key areas of concern, with page reference to photo and description, will be advantageous in negotiating seller repairs and credits. A seasoned home inspector understands just how important this is.
Shopping for a home inspector is not like buying a pair of shoes. You cannot “undo” your selection. That wonderful love-at-first-sight impression of your dream home can be irreversibly tarnished if your choice of home inspector was driven by price. And when it comes time for negotiating home inspection concerns, your leverage may be compromised if the inspection report is not organized and is devoid of relevant photographs and meaningful descriptions.
What steps can you take to ensure you choose the right home inspector to be on your team? Here are the top 5 tips I share with my home buyers:
1- Seek out recommendations from your realtor, who is there to guide you throughout your home buying journey.
2- Get more than one name. The appointment calendar for many of the top home inspectors often fills up quickly.
3- Speak to your friends who may have recently purchased a home in the area you are moving to. If they had a great experience with that person, add them to the list. Ask them to share a copy of their home inspection report with you.
4- Look at the reviews online. If there are any red flags, move on.
5- If your dream home comes with an in-ground pool, you will want to hire a company that specializes in pools to conduct a separate “pool” inspection.
When selecting a home inspector, you want to keep in mind that the “good ones” probably are more expensive. As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for“. And when you are investing several hundreds of thousands of dollars on a home purchase, choosing the right home inspector truly does matter. So be flexible on timing. The right home inspector is worth the wait.
~ My Bird’s-eye View
Suzy Minken, July 2021
Curious about the story behind this article? I’d be happy to share the details along with more insights about the home buying and selling process. Send your comments to [email protected]