As a buyer, the inspection process can be extremely stressful. After all, you have already started seeing the summer pool parties happening in your dreams. By the time you get to inspections, you have an emotional attachment to the home and unless you are buying a total fixer-upper, you don’t want an inspection report to rain on your parade telling you that there may be problems or thousands of dollars of fixes that need to occur. New to home inspections? A guide for buyers in Los Angeles will help keep you on track.
Get Expectations from Your Real Estate Agent
A good real estate agent will help you set the right expectations from an inspection. In fact, experiences real estate agents can walk through a home with you and have a good idea of what that specific home might have as potential problems. Even if he doesn’t see anything, there are common issues that older homes have and many of those are regionally based. For example, it is unlikely to not find any termite damage in a home more than 30 years old in Los Angeles. Florida will likely have some dry rot in areas. Your real estate agent will review your home in Los Angeles with you and set the right expectations about potential issues and remedies before the inspection.
Go to the Inspection
Make sure you are able to attend the inspection. Don’t get in the way of the inspector but explain that you want to learn what to look for. Most inspectors are happy to explain to you what they are seeing and show the same. This way reading the report doesn’t surprise you. Additionally, ask the inspector about the commonality of the problem and what you can do to fix it and prevent future issues. For example, if he notices a problem with water pressure, he might recommend getting a plumber to do a hydro jet maintenance every two years to prevent issues in the future.
Read the Report Several Times
If you were at the inspection, there should be little that surprises you in the report. These are often lengthy reports that cover everything from plumbing, wiring, HVAC units and ductwork. Any notes structural or foundation issues will also be in the report as will the age and condition of any appliances included in the sale. Read the report several times and make notes. Research costs for repairs, replacements and entire overhauls. Ask your real estate agent questions about the report. Some things like older appliances are covered in home warranties. It could be that the appliance is working but older and ready to die. If you have a home warranty, the concern might be alleviated.
Don’t Get Upset: Negotiate Instead
It can be very emotional to read the report. Your perfect new home has been broken down to its worst segments. And yes, even new homes can have problems found in an inspection. That means you should always do one. Realize that the report is a means for you to negotiate. Talk to your real estate agent about the options. If something is wrong that needs immediate attention, you can ask the seller to fix it before closing This might be an electrical issue that is dangerous or against code. But you may also decide to get a credit back in the final closing or reduce the price of the home based on the estimates you gathered. Use the report as a negotiation tool.
Understand that no home is perfect and you will almost always find things wrong when the inspection is done. Don’t fret, use it to your financial advantage. Just make sure you read the report well enough to determine if you need subsequent inspections that aren’t completed by a general home inspector but by a professional in that area of expertise such as a plumber or an electrician.