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The Importance of Getting A Home Inspection When Buying a Home

By Erik Folgate

My wife and I bought our first condo about 16 months ago. We also sold it about it 4 months ago. One big mistake that we made when going through our first purchase was that we did not get a professional home inspection. We only had one major surprise, and that was the air conditioner. The real estate agent told us it was replaced in 2002. Yeah, I think they meant 1902. That A/C handler was as old as the hills, and we had to make multiple small repairs on it, but luckily it didn’t crap out on us entirely. It sounds like a no-brainger to get an inspection, but I’ve heard many people say that they skipped out on it. Unless it’s brand new construction, my recommendation is to always order the inspection, because the fear of the hidden and unknown can prove to be disasterous to your financial health.

Here are five reasons why you should get a home inspection:

  1. It’s free! Well, it’s not really free, but in today’s market, most sellers will pay for the home inspection if you ask for it. it’s usually $300 to $600 bucks, so they don’t mind paying for this if it seals the deal for them.
  2. Fear what lies beneath. I’m a claims adjuster, so I’ve seen plenty of wet rot, mold, and other hidden issues that homeowners never knew about until it was too late. Make sure the inspector checks for elevated levels of mold and wet or dry rot in the framing.
  3. Termites. They’ll destroy houses and they’ll destroy you. Make sure you’re inspection includes checking for termite damage.
  4. You’ll get an accurate idea of the life left in your appliances. It’s important to know the ACTUAL age of the A/C and water heater. Don’t take the sellers or real estate agent’s word for it.
  5. Structural work is expensive! You need to have the integrity of the structure evaluated. Again, it’s a big bucks to repair structural issues on older homes.
  6. You need a roof over your head! Make sure the home inspector gives you an honest opinion about the life left in the roof.
  7. Replacing a roof is another huge expense. If you buy a house with a 20 year old roof, be prepared to pay for a new one soon, unless you don’t mind water dripping on your head from time to time.

The most important to remember is to not let a home inspector ruin your real estate deal. Inspectors can be seller’s worst nightmares, because they tend to be extremely picky. But, that’s their job. Overlook the minor cosmetic flaws that the inspector might point out or minor plumbing and electrical work. The red flags should be mold, termite, roof, or structural damage.

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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