Buying a home is a big deal and it’s not something you can change like a rental. Buying a house requires a lot more expertise, whether it’s negotiating or finding the best location.
The buying decision must also include a pre-inspection of the property which helps to ensure that you know what care and costs would be involved if you buy the property. You also need to be practical and rational, and must avoid being too much selective on this buying decision. Especially if you are buying a house that’s pre-owned and not a newly constructed one there are going to be many aspects of your review.
A pre-purchase home inspection actually allows you to look at the details of what the property you want to buy would be like for you and your family. More importantly the cost of repairs can be reduced by asking to the seller to make some or all of the repairs if you can actually negotiation the deal this way.
Pre-inspection also makes you aware of the flaws and problems with your new house so you don’t end up dealing with any issues that may get out of control and need immediate attention and resources.
So the question is, do you hire an expert or try to do it your own. Whatever your choice is I believe being educated about what to look for is important, even if the inspection expert accompanies you in having an understanding of what is involved. This actually gives you a good idea what you are dealing with and it also makes you aware of any potentially severe problems that need attention. You can also ask the inspector to pay special attention to review any issues or most important areas. If you haven’t made an offer yet then this could really help in making a good offer and deal out of the situation.
The following checklist can help you:
· Foundation: A close observation of the walls and ceilings and mainly the base of the walls in each room to see if there are any cracks or visible shifts in the foundation. This is also something from the inside out you need to review along with any trees encroaching around the foundation?
· Where the drainage is actually located away from the house. Are there any obvious soggy areas?
· Roof: What is the overall condition? What is the remaining economic life? When was the last repairs done or overall last replacement done. Especially in South Florida during the long rainy season, if the roof has any leaks this could be a deal breaker in itself because of the potential replacement costs involved.
· Exterior: The outside perimeter of the house is important to inspection to see whether it needs repainting or repairs. For example, mold fungal on the walls or wood is actually an eye sore. Are the gutters and downspouts firmly attached? Are there loose boards or dangling wires? Is there asbestos in the exterior material, which would require added costs if it needed to be repaired or replaced?
· Interior evidence of leaks: Are there any leaks from rain water that needs proper addressing. Check ceilings and around windows in each room.
· Basement: Is there dampness and if there then will this require immediate attention? Adequate insulation? (If there’s a crawlspace instead of a basement, you might want to leave this for the professional home inspection.)
· Electrical: Does all the electrical work and if not then is there any requirements to get it repaired on an urgent basis? Any obvious malfunctions? Have the outlets been grounded or visible outside? Is the electrical panel updated and expandable? Are the GFCI outlets in required locations and are they performing properly?
· Plumbing: Any unusual noises or malfunctions? Has the sewer line been scoped to check for potential cracks?
· Appliances: If these are included, what is the age and condition of the stove, dishwasher or refrigerator?
· Heating/cooling system: Does it cool the home properly? What is the remaining economic life?
· Odor: Any odor due to whether or wet basement?
· Smoke Detectors – Are the locations of smoke detectors according to current life safety codes.
The bottom line is even though you may think you may be able to save money by not getting your home inspected before purchasing it in the long run it could you save you not only money but time by making sure you know about any potential issues in advance.