When you are ready to buy a home, it may feel like you have dozens of hoops to jump through to get to closing. Some of the items on the list of settlement fees may be completely foreign to you, and when you see the bottom line, you may skim the list for any optional costs.
One cost that may be optional is the home inspection fee. Hiring a certified inspector to examine your house may not seem necessary to you. However, many people who have been through the homebuying process will tell you that it is a step you would be wise not to skip.
How low can you go?
A home inspector should access as much of the house as possible, from the attic to the crawlspace. He or she will examine the plumbing, electrical systems, appliances and structural components of the house. You may also see the inspector walking around the property to check for draining issues or walkway defects, or performing a radon test in the basement.
The entire process should take about three hours. The purpose of the examination is to uncover any defects that will potentially cost you thousands of dollars to repair or that make the home unsafe to live in.
A golden opportunity
After an inspector has examined the home you have contracted to buy, you will receive a lengthy document enumerating the findings of the inspection and listing the examiner’s recommendations. At this point, you and your attorney may wish to discuss the document and how it might affect your decision to purchase the house.
If the house needs vital, expensive repairs, you may opt to terminate the contract. However, if there are only minor defects, you may agree to allow the owner to make the repairs or accept a reduction in the sale price. A home inspection really can be a deciding factor in the process.
Your next move
A professional inspection can make or break a real estate deal. Because the acceptance of a contract may be contingent on the results of the inspection, both the buyer and seller have every reason to feel nervous on the day the inspector arrives.
One thing that should not make you nervous is going through the complicated process of purchasing a home alone. An experienced attorney can guide you through the daunting checklist of tasks and the mountain of documents. Having someone by your side to answer your questions and keep the purchase of your home on track may alleviate a great deal of stress that often accompanies such a major purchase.