Before any home-purchase contract is ever signed, a potential home-buyer should, most definitely, have an official home-inspection performed on the property. In fact, the inspection should be included in the actual contract as a condition of closing the sale. Some things that could be uncovered might be structural malfunctions, electrical systems not up to code, defective roofing, dry rot and pest infestations, etc.
But even before an inspection is performed, an official disclosure, in writing from the seller, should be obtained. With that being said, however, that disclosure should not be considered all-inclusive. Any number of home-owners #1) may not even be aware of any possible hazards or malfunctions which means, of course, they would not even be reported and #2) an on-going problem that a seller has lived with for years may be honestly ‘forgotten’ by him or her, and not divulged.
Putting It All Together:
#1: Do Your Own Inspection:
This should be accomplished before any formal inspection is scheduled and could be done before an offer is made, as well. Ask the seller if he or she is willing to have you come in to look around and make notations. If the homeowner has nothing or little to hide, they will welcome the request.
Eyeballing every nook and cranny is vital since big problems can hide is small spaces. One scrutinizing, prospective buyer, with the help of a magnifying lens, noticed incredibly small bugs nestled inside one bedroom’s baseboards, only to discover they were nocturnal bedbugs—a nightmare that is almost impossible to get rid of. A new homeowner bought a beautiful four year-old residence and discovered, shortly after moving in, cockroaches would scatter when the kitchen light was turned on in the wee-hours of the morning. Know the home before it becomes a part of your family!
#2: The Seller’s Inspection Report:
At the risk of sounding mean-spirited, don’t trust an inspection report the seller may voluntarily provide. Certainly accept it, but use it as an initial part of the inspection process, and nothing more. It could be very valid and accurate, but as stated earlier, problems could exist that the homeowner genuinely isn’t even aware of. One shoddy home builder in a small community was out to save money and built homes whose electrical systems were below code; and were fire hazards waiting to happen. How the homes passed inspection remained a mystery.
#3: A Professional Inspection:
Hiring a seasoned pro, who knows exactly what to look for, is your peace of mind! A veteran professional should take a good 2-3 hours to examine everything from the roofing, to the exterior siding, plumbing, electrical and heating systems, drainage, foundation, drywall, gutters etc. If at all possible, be available during the inspection to ask questions and get a feel for what problems might be very minor or any revelations that could be a reason for real concern, such as asbestos or lead.
Those Pesky Varmints:
As per LRETX.com, request a pest report! A licensed, structural pest-control inspector thrives on finding pesky, living things in or around a home that could pose a health risk and/or structural damage. He’ll look for:
1: termites/flying beetles/powder-post beetles/carpenter ants/carpenter bees
3: rodents, especially mice
4: dry rot (fungus)
5: moles…your yard could turn into a maze of large mounds or tunnels
If nothing is found that would compromise the sale of the house; you’re good to go! If potential problems were uncovered, you have justification to negotiate the selling price or you can back out, assuming your contract has allowed you to do so.
But the bottom line remains: have any potential residence thoroughly inspected since you have way too much at stake not to!
Residing in Nebraska as a retired educator, Karen spends much of her time writing about the real estate industry.
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