House shopping is different from any other consumer experience. You may spend weeks, months or years walking through one home after the other, and even the most beautiful ones don’t feel quite right.
The suburb is too busy, the kitchen is too small, the bathroom is outdated or the garage isn’t wide enough.
When you do walk into the perfect property, you have this crazed desire to act quickly and impulsively.
You don’t want other buyers to discover the needle you just pulled out of the haystack, so you make an offer right away.
When it ends in a bidding war, you consider getting the quickest, cheapest building and pest inspection in order to act faster than your competitors.
Right there is where you should stop and get impulsivity under control. Even if you may never again find a property so perfect, skipping the inspection could cost you dearly in the future.
1. Always assume the property holds a secret.
When you meet someone new, you don’t immediately tell them your secrets.
Just as you have to get beneath surface appearances to determine to which of these groups a new acquaintance may fall, you have to look beneath the surface of a property to determine how much of your time and money it deserves.
Owners and real estate agents will wipe a property clean and make it shine so that you’ll want to make it your own, but that’s only the surface view.
You won’t truly know what a property has to offer until you send your inspector down into the crawl space, up into the attic and up onto the roof.
2. Make sure to inspect for pests as well as structural damage.
Don’t assume that your inspection report will include notice of termites or other pests infesting the property. Small bugs and rodents can cause significant damage that will cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to correct.
It will cost even more to safeguard the property against future infestations. If your inspector won’t check for this, bring in another professional to look for evidence of unwanted guests.
3. Always pay for an inspection before bidding on property in an auction.
If you plan to bid on a property at auction, you have to send in your inspector before the event.
It will cost a few hundred dollars, possibly more depending on the property but it’s worth the expense.
You’ll know how much you’re willing to bid on the home based on the cost of needed repairs, and you will have no surprises once you win and move into the property.
If you include inspection fees in your property hunting budget, you can write it off as a small business expense if you don’t win the auction.
Buyers may urge you to act quickly even if you have to sacrifice the inspection, but inspections aren’t for the buyer. They’re for your protection, and they arm you with information that you can use to negotiate a better purchase price.
Whether you’re purchasing a primary home, vacation home, rental property or real estate investment, the inspection report is an invaluable tool that will stop you from blowing thousands of dollars needlessly.