Home buyers beware- get a home inspection!

A fellow Marin real estate agent and close girlfriend of mine is buying a house. She loves the house- it is absolutely perfect and fits all of her needs. Well, actually, it isn’t perfect- but she thinks it is. She is a buyer emotionally attached to a house. I asked her- “when is your home inspection scheduled?” “I am not getting one, the house is less than ten years old.”

WHAT??? I asked her if she would ever, ever let a buyer go without a home inspection. The answer- no, no and no. Why not? Home inspections uncover problems that could be very, very expensive for you to repair. Even if you are absolutely in love with the property and plan to buy it -no matter what- get a home inspection! Buyers often expect problems on older homes. They also may be willing to overlook issues if they are planning a major remodel. Inspections on new and remodeled homes can uncover more problems, or at least more unexpected problems. If you are paying top dollar because of a remodel, don’t you want to know what is beneath the surface? A good inspector will also tell you not just problems, but suggested maintenance to prevent future problems.

An inspection, doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. It just means that everyone knows what they are getting into. Even if you don’t write in an inspection period (always do!!), still get a home inspection. I have seen some inspections uncover issues what would warrant a buyer walking away- even if they had to leave a substantial earnest deposit on the table. I always advise my sellers to allow the buyer to have an inspection period, even if it is a short one. Buyers who get inspections help sellers avoid lawsuits later.

Buyer beware? Maybe. Buyer be informed? Absolutely!!! (oh yeah, and my girlfriend- buying the house? Absolutely! Putting the emotions aside, getting inspections and asking the hard questions- definitely!