If you’re in the throes of buying your first home, you know it’s a lengthy process. It’s also likely the biggest financial decision you’ve ever made, making each step of the contract process a real nail-biter.
When working with the expert team at Brad Schmett Real Estate Group, you can rest assured you’ll be getting the best price possible on your first home. But even with a great deal on your house, there are other expenses to keep in mind like closing costs, private mortgage insurance, and the home inspection.
There are a few reasons why some home buyers consider forgoing the home inspection. One is to cut costs associated with the inspection fee. And in a competitive seller’s market, some buyers choose to forgo an inspection if they’re neck-and-neck with other bidders and want to make their offer stand out to the seller.
Whether you’re trying to avoid the inspection fee, are competing against multiple offers, or think the home you’re about to buy looks immaculate, skipping your home inspection could end up costing you a lot of money down the line.
How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?
Depending on where you live and what type of home you’re buying, a home inspection typically costs between $200 and $500. When you compare this amount to what a home inspection could save you on critical issues in your home, the cost is worth a fraction of the value.
What Is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of the house. The inspection will be performed by a professionally-licensed home inspector.
The standard home inspector’s report will cover far from the basics. They’ll examine the following important systems and elements of the house:
- the condition of the heating system
- central air conditioning system
- interior plumbing and electrical systems
- visible insulation
- structural components
Why Do I Need a Home Inspection?
A home inspection provides you with critical information about the condition of a property. This information can be used to understand which systems or elements of your home may need immediate or long-term repairs, and can therefore be used as bargaining power with the seller.
An inspection can also help protect you from hazardous and expensive issues like dangerous mold, or additions to the home that were built unlawfully or aren’t up-to-code.
From ensuring your home insurance to avoiding costly repairs, here are 6 ways a home inspection can save you money in the long run.
1. It Protects You from Unexpected Costly Repairs
As a first-time home buyer, you may fall in love with a house based on things like the color of the walls in the kitchen, the location of the home, or the big backyard. But a home inspection can reveal issues that could turn your dream home into a nightmare.
A quality home inspection can give you invaluable information about the condition of your house and its expensive systems like plumbing, electricity, heating and cooling. You’ll also get a detailed report about the home’s structural integrity.
The home inspection gives you insight about the potential costs, repairs, and maintenance your house may require immediately, as well as long-term costs. If you aren’t excited by the findings of the home inspection, this is your last opportunity to back out of the offer.
Without a home inspection, you could end up purchasing a home at a great price, then turn around and spend thousands on necessary plumbing or electric repairs. Yikes!
2. It Gives You Leverage
Your home inspection report gives you the opportunity to ask for repairs, or to request a price reduction or credit from the seller. Be sure to work with your realtor to understand the type of requests you can make to negotiate a better deal based on the home inspection’s findings.
3. It Ensures Your Home Insurance
Some insurance companies won’t insure your new house if certain conditions are found. For example, the types of materials that were used in the house’s construction — along with the condition of the materials and structure — can determine your house’s potential for insurance claims.
Insurers may also judge the house’s condition based on the overall appearance of the property, looking for things that may be deemed “untidy”. In other words, insurers look to see if any aspects of your home or property look shabby.
- HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning)
- electrical wiring and panels
- plumbing connections and fixtures
Qualified home inspectors can provide these certifications and help you identify any other potential concerns to ensure your home is properly insured.
4. It Helps You See the Future
A home inspection can help you figure out how much additional money or effort you want to put into making sure the condition of the house meets your expectations.
If you’re unable or unwilling to repair certain issues like faulty gutters, a damaged roof, or cracked walls, it may make sense to keep looking at other options until you find a home that’s a better fit.
Not only that, but you can figure out what potential costs may be in your future based on the current condition of your home’s systems and structures. A home inspector can estimate the installation age of important systems in the house like plumbing, heating and cooling, along with other critical equipment like your water heater and furnace.
A home inspector can also report on the current condition of the house’s structure itself, and tell you how long certain finishes have been in the home. Understanding when certain elements in the house will require repair or replacement can help you make important budgeting decisions, as well as determine the best home insurance coverage and warranties for you.
5. It Sniffs Out Unlawful Add-ons
A home inspection can help uncover if there are any rooms or additions to your home that were built or finished without a permit, or in a way that doesn’t follow code.
If a house has illegal room additions that are un-permitted, it affects your home’s insurance, taxes, usability, and the overall value. That’s because you’re essentially buying a part of the home that legally doesn’t exist!
Even if you’re purchasing a brand-new home, if a certain system wasn’t installed to code, this will become your financial problem to fix once you’ve purchased the house.
6. It Furloughs Foreclosure Issues
If you’re buying a foreclosed property or short sale, home inspections are a must. Homes that have been boarded can develop hazardous mold problems, which are expensive to remedy and can pose health concerns.
Not only that, but a boarded home may be susceptible to vandalization. Your home inspector may find that expensive elements have been taken from foreclosed properties, like copper pipes that someone can sell for cash!
Despite the fresh new carpet in the bedrooms or adorable breakfast nook off the side of the kitchen, what you see during your first walk through may not tell the whole story of what’s going on between the walls of the house.
And with all the time, attention, and money you’re spending on finding your first home, the last thing you want to do is set yourself up for a big financial headache down the line by skipping your home inspection.
Buying a first home can be overwhelming. Luckily, our expert agents are just a click away and eager to help answer any of your questions and guide you every step of the way.