About three to four years ago, the housing market in my city was going all kinds of crazy. It was a seller’s market on Mark McGwire-grade steroids. Everyone was looking for real estate at that moment and a house with a little yard in downtown was mighty coveted. Back in 2007, friends of mine made offers on 23 places in 14 months and were heavily involved in five bidding wars before emerging victorious with an accepted offer and a place of their own. I get a headache just thinking about it.
In order to make their offers more enticing, many people during this time were doing all kinds of things to win – offering far above the asking price, providing massive deposits with offers, bumping possession dates to whatever the buyers were asking for and removing conditions.
Say that again? Removing conditions? Like what?
Oh, nothing. Just the very-important and you-are-insane-to-remove-conditions like the home inspection. While the idea of submitting dozens of rejected offers makes my head hurt, the idea of buying a house without a home inspection makes my stomach sick.
My friends, thankfully, still insisted on a home inspection with their home purchase, but an acquaintance of mine didn’t – and wow, are they ever paying for it. Just imagine plunking down a half million dollars on a home only to discover it could be featured in This Old House’s Home Inspection Nightmares – multiple times.
Their “simple” plans to update the kitchen, bathroom and perhaps beautify a room for a nursery were dashed when their contractor started digging around and discovered the electrical had to go. All of it. And the plumbing? Equally a disaster. And then there was the issue of the foundation, the furnace, the roof, the raccoon love nest in the attic, and an illegally-built garage on city land.
*At this point, the writer has paused to get some Pepto Bismal to calm her body quakes.*
No matter how hot or not your market is, get a home inspection. If the sellers want you to remove that condition – run.
Why do I need a home inspection?
You see, we don’t have x-ray eyes to see through the walls, we can’t tell the state of a furnace just by glancing at it and the average home buyer likely isn’t aware of all the codes that should be in place. A home inspector is your super hero who can do all this (ok, no x-ray eyes) for you. They can check out a home thoroughly, list what’s fine, what needs work, what needs replacing and give you an estimate on how much it will set you back. With this information, you can go forward with the house purchase, renegotiate or walk away before it destroys your life.
The cost of a home inspection will vary, but I’ve heard of them being as low as $300 to as high as $900. The average around my neck of the woods is $500. It’s well worth it. In fact, some sellers may even want to invest in having it one. They can use it to identify and fix problems that might otherwise give buyers cold feet, readjust their price up or down, and even provide copies of it to potential buyers to show off the condition of the home.