A home inspection is a critical part of the home buying process. If you’ve never purchased a home before, this may be a new concept to you, but it is one that is fairly easy to grasp.
The home inspection involves a third-party inspector who evaluates the condition of a home, noting existing problems and potential issues that may arise. Their written report may reveal defects and other issues the buyer is unaware of and give them a reason to renegotiate the purchase or back out of the offer altogether.
While very thorough, the inspection is only a visual examination and may not catch everything. And regardless of how comprehensive the inspection is, there are certain things the inspector simply will not be looking for and will never be on their report.
At HomeBridge, our mission is to help people finance their personal dream of home ownership, but the dream can turn into a nightmare if you don’t take the right steps to ensure the home your purchasing is the right home for you.
With this in mind, the following are our tips for your own home inspection, covering things even the most conscientious inspector may not catch.
1. Make sure to inspect your neighborhood. You should visit the area you’re considering moving to multiple times, on different days of the week and on different times of the day, to get a true feel for the area you’re considering buying in. Walk a few blocks and get a real idea for the location outside of your immediate area. Will you hear traffic from the main road two blocks away as you get ready to go to bed in the evening? How is the parking situation on the street? Are garbage cans still lining the curbs two days after trash pickup? If these things are going to be important to you later, you should find out about them before you purchase the home.
2. A home inspector will not examine your actual neighbors either. This is can be extremely important to those buying condos and houses in areas where the neighbors will very close by. Consider introducing yourself and telling your potential neighbors that you’re thinking of buying the home nearby. Survey the scene and ask questions. Does your neighbor to the left have five large, loud dogs that would intimidate you and your family? Do the people across the street stage an all day, mini-block party, every football Sunday? Maybe the person in the condo next to yours runs a home daycare business. You don’t want to move into what you expect to be a quiet neighborhood only to find out that one nearby home owner has a habit of renting their home to an off campus college fraternity.
3. While a home inspection is comprehensive, it’s visual only. Assuming you do ask your potential neighbors about the area, ask if they know anything about the home you’re buying that you should be aware of. Perhaps the current owner or a previous one was an amateur handyman… a VERY amateur handyman whose work may not be up to par. Maybe the roof leaks after every major storm, but it was hastily repaired last week and any signs of water damage have since been removed. What if their septic system backs up a few times a year and has never been properly taken care of? These are things the inspection may not uncover, but your future neighbor very well may be in the loop on.
We understand that some of these tips may take extra time and effort to research, and perhaps make you feel a little awkward as well. That is understandable, but what’s a little bit of extra time and awkwardness when you’re committing to a purchase of something that can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars?
At HomeBridge, mortgages are our only business and after more than 25 years in the industry we’ve seen almost every possible scenario arise during the home buying process. If you’re looking for advice on how to finance the perfect home, a second/vacation home or even a rental property, feel free to give one of our local mortgage loan originators a call for a free, no obligation consultation.