You’ve done your homework. You’ve talked to a mortgage lender and realtor, examined a selection of houses, and made an offer on “the one.” Next step?
Home inspection. Even your dream house, or especially your dream house, needs to be subjected to the careful scrutiny of a home inspector.
Home inspections are a buyer’s chance to learn everything possible about a house before making a final decision. “You don’t want any surprises after you make the purchase,” says real estate agent Jane Darrach of Martha Diebold. “This way, you find out the basics.”
A good inspector will lead you through the building and explain the workings of the house so you aren’t trying to sort these out once you’re living there. You’ll learn all you want to know about both the interior and the exterior of the place you hope to call home.
A home inspection is also a time to discover any major problems. Once both the buyer and seller understand the costs involved in fixing major issues, they can come to an agreement about who will pay for what. Hopefully. If not, the deal may fall through.
Darrach has seen situations like this, when buyer and seller weren’t able to come to an agreement. One example has to do with radon. “Radon comes from decaying granite, and there’s a lot of granite here,” she says. “Radon in the air costs about $2,000 to fix and radon in the water costs about $5,000.” A seller may not be able to come down in price enough to satisfy a buyer. When that happens, the parties may go their separate ways, so going into the inspection it is important to think about how much you are willing or not willing to give if surprises come up.