If you’re buying a home right now in Orange County, it can be tempting to skip the home inspection process in hopes of having your offer accepted. With houses going quickly and often for over the asking price, having an offer without contingencies can be more competitive. However, this can result in buyer’s remorse and even danger for you and your family members. Here’s why you need a home inspection, even in today’s ultra cutthroat market.
Comfort Once You Move In
On the most basic level, having an inspection can mean you know you’ll be more comfortable in the home once you’ve unpacked all your boxes. You’ll be sure everything works correctly, and there won’t be any unpleasant surprises that result in escalating consequences to your safety or bank account (see below).
Some of the things well-executed home inspections check for your comfort include:
- Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)
- Plumbing, including water pressure
- Built-in major appliances
- Absence of pests and vermin
- Electrical system function
- Adequate insulation and integrity of doors and windows
Every home inspector uses a different checklist. Therefore, make sure anything you want to be checked is covered on their list. For example, you may have to arrange for a separate pest control inspection.
Safety and Peace of Mind for You and Your Family
Many of the items evaluated by a home inspector go beyond simple day-to-day comfort. Ensuring these parts of the home are safe can protect you and other occupants from serious or life-threatening hazards like falls, building collapse, or fires. Even a newly constructed home can have elements that were not installed correctly, potentially putting you in harm’s way.
A home inspector checks to ensure the roof won’t leak or collapse and the foundation isn’t showing signs of wear. Here in Southern California, earthquake damage is always a concern, so it’s vital to ensure there are no signs of it in a home you’re planning to buy.
Other safety concerns include the fireplace and chimney, gas lines, electrical panel (AKA circuit breakers) and wiring, presence or lack of asbestos, function of smoke detectors, and possible building code violations. Lack of handrails or poor construction on a DIY deck, for instance, can result in accidents. On the other hand, when you know these components are intact and working properly, you’ll sleep better at night.
Hidden nuisances and hazards can wind up costing you money. For example, a leaky roof that goes undetected without an inspection (perhaps hidden with fresh paint over ceiling stains) can run into the thousands to repair.
It’s expensive to replace ovens that don’t work or rewire faulty electrical circuits. Naturally, you don’t want to encounter these costs at all, let alone when you’ve just plunked down a huge down payment on a home and closing costs and a new monthly mortgage payment.
Negotiating Power During the Purchase Process
Finding problems via an inspection can give you an advantage when negotiating with a home seller. If the issue is big enough or violates the law, the seller will likely have to fix it themselves or reduce the property's price to cover the cost to the buyer to remedy it. Often, sellers just want to be out of the home by a specific date, so they accept a lower offer rather than do the work to repair inspection findings.
Of course, there is a chance that instead, the seller will look for a higher offer with no contingencies. You can then elect to offer more and waive the seller’s responsibility to fix anything, knowing you will have added expenses for repairs, or walk away. But, at least by getting an inspection, you know what to expect financially and won’t find out the hard way that your dream home is really a nightmare.
No matter how pristine your inspection report is, you want to have the right homeowner insurance to protect your new investment. Call First West Insurance at 714-842-2523 to discuss coverage, or start a quote online at your convenience.