No matter whether you’re buying or selling, the home inspection process can be somewhat terrifying: For sellers, it’s a stark reminder of the nagging issues you might have turned a blind eye to over the years. And for buyers, it’s a recipe for pure heartbreak—of the home you fell in love with.
But don’t let the inspection stress you out. And remember, that’s not what your inspector wants either—all he or she wants is a comprehensive to-do list and a happy client.
Knowledge is key! Here are seven essential things you keep in mind.
1. Your potential home will have problems
Your home inspector will likely come up with a seemingly endless list of problems after the walk-through. Don’t panic!
Yeah, there are times when you should worry (we’ll get to those a bit later). But not every issue is mission-critical, and your inspector will know which problems you should tackle first.
2. Almost anything can be fixedThere are a few starkly frightening home inspection terms that seem to be in everyone’s vocabulary: mold, radon, and asbestos.
And yes, they’re scary—but no scarier than a roof that needs replacing.
People who write articles tend to scare homeowners about mold or radon.
Don’t worry so much about mold and radon!
Everything is upgradable, fixable, or replaceable. You just need to have a list of what those things are.
3. One thing you should worry about is waterHere’s one problem we give you permission to stress out about (just a little): water. No, it’s not a deal breaker (remember that part where we wrote almost anything can be fixed?). But it’s important to address any water-related issues before the deal closes—or at least immediately afterward.
Make a note of issues such as puddles and leaky ceilings. And give special attention to the basement. Addressing water problems in the basement can be an expensive and difficult proposition. A wet basement can be hard to fix.
4. Home inspectors can’t predict the futureYou might want to know how many more years the roof will hold up—and while your inspector might be able to give you a rough estimate, he can’t give you a precise timeline.
People think that inspectors have a crystal ball or that they have X-ray vision to see through walls or examine the inner circuitry of your kitchen stove.
Sorry, folks: They don’t, and they can’t.
5. Find the balance between your heart and brainIt’s easy to forget your love for the home when you’re counting the dollar signs and hours you might have to spend on repairs. But just remember to take a deep breath, think rationally, and consider whether it’s a smart investment in your future.
Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.