There are many good reasons to hire a professional home inspector to inspect a home you are hoping to buy. Aside from ensuring that the home you are trying to buy is in good shape, the home inspector may be able to give you arguments for a better selling price on the home. Any issues raised during the home inspection can become negotiating points. Home inspectors can help you protect your purchase and may also help you get a better deal. But if you want to make an initial inspection yourself, make sure you have a checklist!
Before you begin your walk-through of the property, make sure you have a home inspection checklist with you. This will help you make a thorough inspection. A good list may have as many as a hundred items on it. Without this list, you would inevitably forget certain things as you walk through the property.
A good list will be organized by areas of the house. Start with the outside. Walk around the home and look for signs of cracked exterior walls, leaning chimney, damaged roof, unsafe railings, etc. Make sure you take notes. If you see a loose gutter on the side of the house, write it down along with anything else you might notice.
The interior of the home will be separated in areas on your list. These may include plumbing, electrical, heating, basement, finishes, etc. It does not really matter that you are not an expect in various building trades. Just look for things that look off or smell strange. You can point these out when you come back to the property with a professional home inspector for a closer look.
Most home buyers will place a condition of home inspection on their offer to buy a property. This is a great way to protect your money and it also leaves some room to re-negotiate the selling price if the home inspection reveal significant issues. Just be careful not to lower your offer too much or you may offend the seller. Most sellers will be willing to negotiate but do not expect to get the too much as the selling price probably reflected the condition of the home in the first place.
In a multiple offers scenario, you may need to have a home inspection done before you present an offer. Some buyers may resent having to spend the money without any guarantee of getting the house. However, on the other hand, you will know right away if there are any issues with the property and will be able to adjust your offer accordingly. If your offer is accepted, you will have one less thing to do to finalize the sale.
You do not need to be a professional contractor to notice that a railing is loose or that the roof is in need or repairs. Learning to do an initial home inspection when visiting potential homes will help you in your search for the perfect home. Walking through a home with a home inspection checklist will also enable you to look past the decor and base your decision to make an offer or not on solid facts rather than first impressions. Beware not to rely solely on your own inspection but to bring in a professional home inspector who will provide you with a written report on the current state of the property.