The Inspection Period: What Every Homebuyer Should Know to Not Get Stuck in a Bad Decision

So you have been shopping for a new home.  The house is in escrow and you are reaching that crucial moment when it needs to pass inspection before you really commit to this purchase.  Buying a home can be a nerve-wracking process and is considered to be in the top most stressful life events you will experience; right up there with divorce, a death in the family, and loss of a job.  You would think that buying a home would be a momentous occasion, ripe with new possibilities, a place to put down your roots and serve as the hub of your family for a long time, if not generations.

But what if there is something wrong with this place?  What if it holds some secret past that was covered up, instead of remediated, which you are going to have to live with for a very long time.  Worse still, what if this is something you just cannot live with?

Home Inspection Is Very Serious

A lot of people view the inspection process as a needless hoop to jump through or another bureaucratic hurdle that is trying to cash in on you.  Home inspection is a very serious as well as a useful process.  Lots of homes come with a history, and some of those homes are places you don’t want to have any part of.  Toxic mold can be painted over by a shady house flipper, only to return in full force further down the road.  It can only be removed by professionals with equipment and chemicals designed to get rid of it permanently.  The same can be said of rodent infestations.  Rats.  Raccoons.  Mice.  Once they have taken over a house, they are difficult to remove, and even then, what about the disease–such as hantavirus or other biohazards–that they might have been carrying with them?  It’s still in your home!

If this home was the site of a meth-lab, there may be deadly chemicals that have seeped into the infrastructure of your home that might not be easily found by the untrained eye.  Later on, their chemicals can cause acute illness, cancer, and eventually death.  Like toxic mold, you may experience sick building syndrome and find that your Home Sweet Home is a Hell on Earth.  The house might have also been the site of a grisly crime scene, which you might stumble upon later when you decide to put in new carpet.  You want to do whatever you can to avoid such a traumatic event.

Safety Of Your Family Comes First

A realtor might not know about these things, or is totally aware of them, but really needs to make that next sale by the end of the month so they can go to Bermuda on vacation.  Is the safety of your family really worth someone else’s holiday trip?

1. Choose Your Own Certified Inspector

Doing this will make sure everything is done on the up and up.  An independent, certified inspector will have no reason to lie or cover for a disreputable home seller or realtor.  They will be objective and working for you and your best interests.

2. About disclosures

Full disclosure is an excellent practice, in theory.  However it only really works if the person selling the home has knowledge of anything that has happened.  Also, there is the likelihood that someone will lie to cover up any concerns just to make a sale.  Sometimes a seller hides behind the “didn’t ask, don’t tell” rule, which they might feel excuses them from disclosing anything about the property if you didn’t think to ask about it.

3. Don’t Settle for Quick Fixes

If you have concerns, oftentimes a seller will offer to make the remediations themselves.  This is usually done cheaply, quickly, and without any regard to doing the job right.  These kinds of solutions will only cause you problems in the long run, and some cleanups might actually be more harmful to your home environment than what they were supposed to clean up! This leaves you sick and often stuck with the expense of future cleanups yourself.

4. Don’t Let Emotions, Agents, or the Market Undermine Common Sense

If it looks like, quacks like, and walks like a duck, it probably is.  If there is something about the house you think isn’t right, trust your instincts.  A home inspector can get to the bottom of what is going on.  You should never let panic from a shrinking market, pressure from an agent, or sheer exhaustion from the house shopping process steer you into making a decision you will regret for the rest of your life.  Use your common sense.  Take your time and rely on trusted professionals with your best interests at heart; not their commission from a sale.

Happy House Hunting!