Published by Kartik Subramaniam
To say that the stakes are high when purchasing a home is an understatement.
Not only is any new home purchase one of the turning points in most people's lives, but it also represents an enormous financial investment - the likes of which you may never actually make again. One of the most critical parts of this process is also, unfortunately, the one that a lot of people tend to overlook until it's too late:
The home inspection.
Buying a home is costly, yes, to the point where you may be tempted to capitalize on any opportunity to save a little money where you can. But you shouldn't do so with regards to your home inspection. A good home inspector is worth their weight in gold and the inspection brings an array of benefits that you literally cannot afford to ignore.
By far, one of the biggest reasons why a home inspection is so important comes down to how it can protect the buyer before they move in. A trained home inspector can help detect issues that you won't necessarily see on a simple walk-through, ranging from radon to carbon monoxide problems to mold and more. A home inspector will also be on the lookout for any work that was done on the house without a proper permit, or in a way that wasn't up to code.
For example, this expertise can be critical in terms of the home's electrical system, which should only ever be worked on by a qualified electrician. Just because the lights work or because "the house hasn't burned down yet" doesn't mean you're out of the woods from a safety perspective.
Even if there are no major issues but you still have work that wasn't completed without the proper permits, it could impact the amount you'll pay in insurance, taxes and even your ability to re-sell the house again in the future. All of this is to say that if you needed a single reason to underline the importance of a home inspection, let it be that one.
Of course, the benefits certainly don't stop there. A home inspector can also give you valuable information about the age (and condition) of the home your Realtor might not even have. They'll be able to take a closer look at things like plumbing, your HVAC system and more - all so that you can get a better idea of how much (and when) you'll have to pay for upgrades in the future.
On that point, this can also be a particularly useful negotiating tool before the sale itself goes through. If a home inspector tells you that the heating and cooling system needs to be replaced and it'll cost an estimated $3,000, you could potentially have your real estate agent negotiate to have the seller take care of it (or, conversely, have them drop the price or credit you by that same amount to get the sale completed faster).
Your home inspector should also be able to suggest specific, actionable tips for how to maintain your home as well - which itself could save you thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your ownership.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that home inspectors in the state of California aren't actually licensed by the state - meaning that anyone can start their own home inspection business without any type of regulatory oversight to speak of. Therefore, you should do your research before deciding on a home inspector to go with.
In the end, a new home is one of the most important investments you'll ever make - and that investment deserves to be protected. Getting a home inspection is a great way to accomplish precisely that, all while giving you enough actionable information necessary to make smarter and more informed decisions through the purchasing process.
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