So you find your dream home and the seller accepts your offer. Congratulations! After that, you have a short period of time to get your property inspected.
There are many different types of inspectors such as a general home inspector, a radon inspector, and a lead based paint inspector to name a few. Each inspector has specialized training in their area of expertise. The best approach is to start with a general home inspector. He can then make recommendations for additional inspectors based on his findings. From there you can sit down with your attorney and real estate agent to decide the next steps to take.
Whatever you do, don’t be cheap! Recently we received a call from a former client. They had previously purchased a home and refused to hire a home inspector, telling us they can do it themselves. A few months later, they complained that the main sewer drain line was broken on the home. This problem could have been detected by spending a couple of hundred dollars on an inspector. If the buyers had known about the issue at the time, they could have renegotiated the purchase price, or even cancelled the contract to purchase the property.
Home inspectors many time have special “inspector gadget” tools that they can use to see behind walls and concrete. Are you able to see that with your eyes? A home inspector will take apart electrical panels and climb on roofs and into crawl spaces. They are specially trained to see issues that are undetectable by the naked or untrained eye.
A home inspection is never a guarantee that your home will be defect-free, but a $400 charge could protect you from a $10,000 bill later on. Unless you’re a home contractor or a home inspector yourself, I always recommend hiring a home inspector. You don’t want to spend the money you’ve set aside for a family vacation on replacing something that could easily have been detected in advance.