Home Real Estate Home inspections: an investment or a cost?

Home inspections: an investment or a cost?

by Alfred

Buying a home is one of the largest financial decisions you will ever make. It’s important to know that you are getting what you pay for and it’s also essential to consider whether a professional home inspection is an investment in your future happiness, or just plain old expense. 

To help answer this question we spoke with two licensed real estate agents who have sold many homes pre-purchase. They both recommend a pre-purchase inspection – but they disagree on whether it should be mandatory before a home can be listed. The first agent said, “It is always a good idea to get a home inspected because buyers often don’t realize how much work goes into making a house livable.” He went on to explain that there is a lot of hard work involved in preparing a home for sale such as: 

  • Cleaning stains out of carpet 
  • Replacing worn linoleum 
  • Restoring woodwork 
  • Repainting walls 
  • Removing wallpaper 
  • Painting ceiling, trim, and baseboards 
  • Repairing drywall 
  • Upgrading electrical outlets, switches, and fixtures 
  • Installing new toilets, sinks, and tubs 
  • Adding new plumbing and floor drains 
  • Installing air conditioners 
  • Fixing broken windows 
  • Replacing light fixtures 

Another factor that could impact the value of the home is the number of previous owners. A home that has been around longer typically means more wear and tear, which could reduce its resale value. If all of these things aren’t taken care of before the home sells, then the buyer could end up having to invest in repairs themselves. 

The second agent agreed that buying a home without doing any upgrades, or even fixing minor problems, would cause issues down the road. However he felt that a home inspection was not necessary before listing a home. While he didn’t feel that a home inspection should necessarily be mandatory, he felt that the buyer should do their due diligence when considering whether or not to buy a home. He said, “I don’t believe a home inspection should be required by law; however, I do think that if a buyer wants to buy a home, they should do their homework and take the time to look at the home and determine if it’s in good shape or not.” He added, “If a buyer decides to buy a home, they need to be aware of the cost to repair the home after the fact. This may include: 

  • Cleaning stains from carpets 
  • Repairing damaged drywall 
  • Replacing damaged window sashes 
  • Installing new appliances 
  • Updating wiring 
  • Remediating hazardous materials 
  • Maintaining landscaping 
  • Paying for any additional work that needs to be done 
  • Making sure the home is safe and secure 
  • Repairing any structural issues 

This list shows that some small repairs and upgrades can add thousands of dollars to the cost of a home. In addition, these repairs may be covered under the seller’s homeowner insurance. 

The second agent added, “Buyers should definitely do their homework and perform some research on the home. However, I don’t think a home inspection should be required by law for anyone purchasing a home. When I’m selling a home, it’s my job to sell the property, so I’ve never made any changes based on if the home has been inspected. If I see something wrong, I’ll address those issues right away. But I’d rather have someone tell me about anything wrong with the home than find out later.” 

While most sellers do not require a home inspection before they put their home on the market, the majority of agents recommend that buyers request one. Why? Because it helps them to ensure that the home is in tip top shape. 

However, the bottom line is that whether a home inspection should be required by law or not, it’s still a great way to save money. An inspector will go over every inch of the home and point out any potential issues that were missed during the initial walkthrough. Once the inspection is complete, the buyer can decide whether or not they want to purchase the home. If they decide to pass on the home, then they won’t have to spend any extra money on repairs or upgrades. On the other hand, if they decide to purchase the home, they now have more information about the house’s health. 

One thing to keep in mind is that while the home inspector does his or her best to make sure everything looks perfect, sometimes things are overlooked. For example, there is nothing worse than seeing paint peeling off of the wall or mold growing behind the tile shower. These types of issues could easily be fixed before putting the home on the market. So if the inspector finds these kinds of problems, the buyer should contact a contractor to fix the issue. 

There are plenty of reasons why a buyer should request a home inspection before buying a home. While it may not be mandatory by law, it’s highly recommended. 

If major issues are discovered in the home inspection report, the customer has a basis to request a lower property price or to advocate for the repairs to be completed prior to the purchase. On the other hand, knowing that no major repairs are required during the home inspection can make it easier to simply accept the house price. Having accurate information about the condition of the house puts everything on the table and allows both parties to have a good and straightforward negotiation process.

For more information, check out our article by visiting https://bciwa.com.au on How Home Inspectors Help Buyers Avoid Common Purchase Pitfalls. 

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