Skipping the Home Inspection is a Big Mistake
The average home inspector charges a few hundred dollars for a complete property inspection and report. Buying a home can cost quite a bit of money upfront, so can you skip the home inspection to save some cash? The numbers say you really shouldn't.
Getting a home inspection before buying lets you know if you're making an investment in a great home or a lemon that will end up costing you more in repairs down the road. Think of it as having a trusted mechanic look over a car's engine before you drive it off the lot – an expert pair of eyes is a big benefit to help you look under the hood to understand the things you might not know much about.
Specifically, here are a few reasons you should never skip the home inspection before you commit to buying a house:
Find Hidden Damage
Buying a home is often an emotional experience, and you're likely to be swayed by the way the home looks on the surface. Sellers know this, which is why they work hard to spruce up their properties and stage their homes to make a strong first impression. You might love the neighborhood and the interior paint palette, but it's also important to know the condition of the roof and foundation, the age of the furnace, the amount of insulation in the attic, etc.
A home inspector is an expert in all the important areas of home building, and they will make a comprehensive report about each appliance and piece of infrastructure, so you know if you'll need to make immediate repairs or if there are areas of concern.
Negotiate a Better Price
If there are one or more red flags on the home inspector's report, you may use that information to your advantage to negotiate a better price on the home. For example, if the inspector notes missing shingles on the roof and signs of water damage in the attic, you can return to the seller to ask that they either repair the roof or lower the price of the home by several thousand dollars to cover your repair costs.
Your home inspector will likely be able to give you a ballpark figure about repair costs as a guide; your real estate agent will help you through any additional price negotiations if you decide to go through with the purchase.
Meet FHA Loan Requirements
If your financing is through an FHA loan, you are required to have a home inspection. This is to make sure that the house meets basic safety requirements and is therefore a good investment for the lender. If there are safety standards that aren't met, the seller will need to rectify these issues before the sale can proceed.
Additionally, repairs may need to be completed by a licensed contractor for the work to be approved. In many cases, the seller will be willing to make changes because they won't be able to sell the home to any other FHA-financed buyer, either.
Plan for the Future
If the home is in basically good condition, the information in the inspection report is still a valuable resource – even after you move in. Keep the report as a reference so you know how old various appliances are. This is a great reminder about which home improvement projects to tackle first. The value of the information you get from the inspection is worth every penny of the inspection cost, so don't skip this important step in the home buying process.