Buying a house isn’t for the faint of heart but it isn’t that scary either. If you are sincere and have chosen your team leader well (the Realtor), there should be no problem. You will be given ample opportunities to examine this house during your Due Diligence period. Use the time well and never, ever procrastinate until the last minute to get started. In particular, your Realtor will help you find a qualified and licensed Home Inspector to go in and give you a report of the findings with regards to the condition of the home. This is valuable information and an indicator of further investigation…put your Big Buyer pants on and look at the information rationally, not emotionally. The Home Inspection report isn’t meant to scare you, it is meant to open your eyes in order to make wise decisions.
Does the Home Inspection report looks scary at first glance? Yeah! If you’ve hired a really good inspector there will be opinions and photos of places you didn’t even know existed in a house. Some will be in crawlspaces, attic scuttles and dark crevices where funky looking piping exists. You are sure to see dust, dirt, and the handiwork of generations of spiders. Take a deep breath and wade into the report…develop a framework for interpreting this information.
Most likely, even though the house will be new to you it is probably a “used” house. Remember, the seller is under no obligation to make repairs for you. In fact, you and your agent probably negotiated such a price that the seller may feel they’ve already negotiated “repairs” into the equation. So, tread carefully. With each issue ask yourself, “Is this issue dangerous or more expensive than I can handle?”.
Don’t assume that the Home Inspection is the last inspection you should consider. Your home inspector will recommend that you follow up for more intensive investigation on many items if they think they see a flaw. For example, prepare to engage licensed plumbers, electricians, roofers, chimney sweeps and excavators to just name a few if your inspector thought it would be a good idea. Some of these professionals will charge you to come out, some won’t. Find out upfront.
Just recently, we put a 1940s era farmhouse under contract. Even though the sellers had obviously take extremely good care of the house, the buyer still had concerns. The home inspector noted that the water pressure was nil in the shower when other appliances were running and wasn’t that great even when nothing else was running. We asked the sellers and were informed through their agent “they just got used to it. They think larger pipes are needed.”. Okay! The buyer sent out a licensed plumber and guess what? Once the filthy filter was removed, there was water aplenty!
So? The moral of the story is this…buying a house is real business and you need real information to make business decisions. Ultimately your decision could be to NOT buy the house, but it just as easily could be BUY the house but be prepared to make a few repairs if the seller won’t participate. Don’t fear the home inspection…embrace it!