5 Things Your Home Inspector Wants You to Know
In a perfect world, you'd move into a perfect home and never run into any issues. There will be no leaks in your future, your air conditioning system will always run flawlessly, and your circuit breaker will never trip.
Unfortunately, that's just not reality. Many homes in Philadelphia are old -- like 100+ years old -- and may have been through multiple owners. Think a new construction or renovated home won't give you any issues? Think again. You will be the first person to use everything in the house, from the doorknobs to the toilets, and even the best contractors make human errors.
Home inspections are one of the most important parts of the transaction. But, the process can be frightening to new home buyer's and savvy real estate investors alike. The home inspection report provides a comprehensive to do list for the buyer. But it also can mean you fell in love with a house that makes absolutely no financial sense to buy. Whatever you do, try not to let this integral part of the transaction stress you out! Your home inspector is on your team -- and here's a list of five things he or she wants you to know:
1. Your potential new home will have problems.
After the home inspection, your home inspector will issue a report that has a seemingly endless list of problems. They're just doing their jobs. Don't panic! Again, every home has problems -- and it's up to the home inspector to find them -- whether they're minor or not. No home will ever be perfect, and the inspector wouldn't be doing his/her job if they didn't point out even the most minute defective details. It's important to know every item is not critical and doesn't mean the integrity of the home is affected. This bring us to our next point....
2. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
"The water heater temperature release valve is TOO SHORT?! What does this mean?! Is the house going to explode while we're in it?" This item comes up often on inspection reports, so I'll just use it as an example. No, this is not the ultimate catastrophe. According to code, your release valve should be six inches from the floor so you don't burn yourself if the valve were to open. This is a PERFECT question for your home inspector. You're not going to understand every item on the report, and whether or not it spells disaster. Ask your home inspector if an item is something that will need to be fixed right away, or something that can wait until you're ready.
3. Almost everything is fixable.
Termites?! Asbestos?! Radon?! If any of these three terms show up on an inspection report, many buyer's want to immediately run for the hills. Yes, these terms are certainly scary. They're also certainly fixable. And to be honest, they may be no more frightening (financially) than having to replace a roof. There's no need to immediately throw the book at a home without first weighing your options to fix (or have the seller fix) a potential issue.
4. Home Inspectors can't predict the future.
Yes -- your home inspector might be able to estimate how much life your boiler has left -- but they're not fortune tellers. Again, even brand new appliances have the potential to give you issues. The very best an inspector can do is tell you whether the appliances are in good shape, but they can't tell you when or if they might give you a problem.
5. Find a balance between your emotions and your brain.
It's much easier to justify financial risk when you're in love with a home. Don't. It's very important to put your emotions aside and try to think rationally at this point of the home buying process. In the same token, don't let repairs you're totally capable of (whether you know it or not) put a damper on a smart investment. Work with your Home Inspector and your Realtor to draw up a rational road map to a solution.
A Home Inspection helps to protect buyer's from any major issues that they don't have the means to correct. But every home buyer should always budget for the what if's. Remember, your inspector's walk through will simply provide a to-do list, and not everything needs fixing immediately, so don't let a long list dampen your love for the home.
If you have any questions about the home inspection process, please reach out to Philadelphia Real Estate Expert Nicole Neff.