When Leena Riggs put in an offer on her first home in Sacramento, she needed all the home inspection tips she could get!
“I knew nothing about home inspections,” she said. “And I ended up with a 90-page inspection report in the end! I ended up with a lot of projects and a lot to learn.”
If you’re a first-time home buyer like Riggs, keep reading for tips on what to expect and what to ask during the home inspection process. We talked to the president of the American Society of Home Inspectors to get home tips that you don’t want to miss!
Home Inspection Tips: Safety First
When it came time to find a home inspector, Riggs went with one that her realtor recommended. She decided to pay more money for an in-depth inspection to avoid any safety hazards before moving in.
“The more thorough the report, the better,” she said. “Even if it means the inspection will be more pricey.”
The top concern for any potential homebuyer should be how safe the home is, said Tim Buell, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors.
“As a former home inspector, I know I’ve made a lot of homes safer for buyers,” he said. “It’s our job to point out and note anything in the home that could be a safety concern.”
Make sure home inspectors are checking for everything from mold to fireplace conditions.
Make Note of Any and All Home Defects
With her home inspection in hand, Riggs had more power to ask for repairs or a lower price on her home. That’s because her home inspection report noted all her home’s defects that needed to be repaired.
“Don’t be afraid to leverage your reports in the negotiations of your home purchase,” she said.
After you receive your home inspection report, you can decide to have the current homeowner make the repairs before you purchase the home, or ask for a lower price and make the repairs yourself, said Buell.
“If I inspect a house for you and I find that the chimney needs to be cleaned or a couple shingles missing from the roof, then you can go back to the seller and negotiate to have them cleaned, replaced or do nothing.”
Calculate how much money it would cost to do the repairs after you purchase the home to determine how much of a discount you should ask for.
Ask an Inspector for Home Care Tips
Besides preparing you to purchase a house, a home inspector can give you great tips on how to care for your home in the future.
“Home inspectors should try to educate homeowners on how to maintain their home,” said Buell. “Homes in different areas will need different care. So if you live in California, ask how to prevent earthquake damage. In Florida, you should ask about hurricane damage.”
Many first-time homeowners may not know how often to clean a chimney or how long a water heater will last. But a home inspector will be a good source to find out a lot of information for your house specifically.
Riggs said her home inspection reports took some time to come back, so don’t forget to ask your inspector for a results timeline to cut down your anticipation.
“The easiest part of the home buying process is getting excited about the house, and the hardest part is waiting for the inspection reports,” she said.