If you’re about to drop $250,000 on a house, it’s natural to want to cut corners somewhere.
And while you’re probably fine buying the cheapest shower curtain or bath towels, one area you don’t want to skimp on is your home inspection.
As it turns out, that “affordable” home inspection could end up costing you…big time.
Let the Buyer Beware
Say you drove up to Walmart to buy a toaster. But when you brought it home and plugged it in, the darn thing didn’t work. What do you do?
You could try to fix it. You could return it to the store. You could even throw it in the trash if you were angry enough. But you wouldn’t be forced to make breakfast with it every morning and watch your kitchen fill up with smoke. Even the thought of losing $40 isn’t worth that.
Or maybe you bought something more expensive, like a car.
The first week was fine, but then your power steering went out. You notified the dealer and they fixed the problem. Or so you thought. After another couple of months, the same thing happens again. After a couple more (failed) attempts at fixing it, your car can now be declared a “lemon” and the dealer is legally required to take the car back and refund your money.
For just about anything you buy, there are systems in place to protect you from inconvenient and expensive flaws.
But one major exception is real estate.
There’s No Return Policy On Real Estate
Throughout your lifetime, you will buy hundreds of thousands of things, but few of these purchases will be bigger than real estate.
Yet, unlike your toaster purchase, you don’t have many options if you purchase a “faulty” house. There’s no such thing as a Real Estate Return Policy, and you certainly can’t just throw your house away and buy a new one.
Your only options are to live with the problem or fix it. And, as any homeowner can tell you, cheap and easy home repairs are few and far between.
Are you willing to risk your savings just to save a few bucks on an affordable home inspection?
That Affordable Home Inspection Could Cost You
Instead of a toaster or a car, say that you bought a house.
The listing price was a few thousand over budget, but you ultimately decided it was worth it to get such a great house. Now, because you were already spending more than you planned, you decided to cut back in a few other areas: a cheaper couch set, fewer plants around the mailbox, and a more affordable home inspection.
But sometimes people forget that—whether it’s furniture or inspections—you get what you pay for.
When you pay your home inspector the bare minimum, you’re going to receive the bare minimum. And because you’re not the expert, you’ll have no idea that your inspector wasn’t as detailed as he should have been.
And that “dream house” that you fell in love with? It’s become a money pit…and there’s nothing you can do about it.
A very similar situation happened to a family here in Miami recently. A single mother worked two jobs to save up for a $250,000 home for her and her nine children. A buyer’s inspection was done but didn’t uncover any major issues.
But after only a year in the house, the floor collapsed.
It’s safe to say that that much foundation damage didn’t take place over only a year. The home inspector could have (and should have) caught such a grievous safety violation and now this unfortunate family is paying the price.
As you can see, situations like this are far from hypothetical.
Protect Your Biggest Investment
The only way to protect your real estate investment is to get as much information about the property as you can…before it’s legally in your name. And how do you do that?
By focusing on value, not cost.
Your home inspector’s experience, education, and qualifications will have a huge effect on the end result. A meticulous, honest, and knowledgeable inspector will provide you with a detailed, reliable inspection report that will give you the valuable information you need to complete your home search.
Because, if a major issue is discovered, an accurate home inspection gives you options.
You can negotiate the asking price to cover needed repairs. You can ask the sellers to make the repairs before you sign on the dotted line. Or, you can walk away from it and continue your search.
How To Find a Home Inspector
Start out with the mindset that you are trying to find the most qualified inspector you can. If their prices are fair, great. But looking for an affordable home inspection before looking at their experience will put you in hot water.
Here are some tips to finding a good home inspector:
- Do your research. Look at the company’s Better Business Bureau report, and ask other real estate professionals (such as your realtor or insurance company) if they have any recommendations.
- Experience is everything. It doesn’t take a whole lot to become a licensed home inspector, and you wouldn’t want to entrust your house to someone who’s only been on the job for a couple of months.
- Ask about their background. The most qualified home inspectors will have a background in both commercial and residential inspections as well as construction.
- Ask if they offer a warranty. A reliable home inspector should stand by his/her work. If they can’t (or won’t), that’s a huge red flag.
Buying a home is expensive, but that doesn’t justify cutting important corners.
In fact, the high price is one of the main reasons you should give your home the care and attention it deserves. And it all starts with the inspection.
Instead of focusing on an affordable home inspection, focus instead on finding most qualified inspector you can to provide an accurate, detailed assessment of your home’s condition.
At BIS, we have more than 40 years of inspection experience in both commercial and residential inspections. In addition to building inspections, we are licensed in general contracting and engineering, so there is very little that escapes our notice.
If you’re looking for the most qualified building inspector, look no further. A quality BIS home inspection can save you thousands in repair costs!