One of the most common mistakes that homebuyers make is to buy a house too quickly, without taking time to get to know the property first.
Buying a house is an exciting time: you’ve found the home of your dreams and you can’t wait to move in and start the next stage of your life. But this is precisely the time to stop and take a breath. It’s important to avoid getting swept up in the exhilaration and make an offer before finding out what you’re really in for.
Too many homebuyers end up in a position where they’ve made an offer or moved into their new house, only to find that they’ve got to pay thousands of dollars for repairs or other serious issues of which they were unaware.
A recent study of home buyers found they ended up having to pay around $7000 to deal with unforeseen repairs on newly purchased homes and 17% of unlucky buyers have to shell out up to $20,000 for issues because they didn’t have their property inspecting before buying.
While it can be tempting to save a few hundred dollars on the cost of an inspection, the price of not having one can be far worse, in the long term.
It’s essential to have a property inspected before you commit to buying. Today’s market can move quickly and buyers are often under pressure to make an offer or risk losing the property altogether.
One solution to this is to make an offer, conditional on an inspection. Often, buyers realise too late that there may be issues with a house, the seller is under no obligation to allow an inspection and that the buyer must go through with the transaction regardless.
Addressing this at the beginning of the transaction is a good way to avoid any surprises down the road. This can also give you a sense of whether the seller may be trying to hide anything about the property.
A professional house inspector will be able to tell you about any existing issues or causes for future concern. A general inspection will give you an overview of the property, including the condition of the roof, foundations, heating, electrics, plumbing and building structure. The inspector may also refer to a specialist to perform a more thorough inspection of a particular issue. Some specialised inspections that you may want to invest in are:
Pest inspection: Pests, especially wood-eating insects like termites can cause huge damage to a house, and this will only get worse over time. An inspector will look for any damage caused by such insects and signs of structural damage.
Environmental inspection: The inspector will look for substances in and around the property that could cause serious health risks, such as mould, lead, asbestos or other environmental contaminants in the air, soil or water.
Roof inspection: Roof damage can be particularly devastating with regards to both safety and finances. A thorough roof inspection will identify any problems.
Electrical inspection: A specialised look at the electrical safety of a house can prevent fires or identify unsafe wiring and outlets.
Plumbing inspection: The inspector will take a look at visible water and sewage pipes to make sure there are no defects.
Foundation inspection: Foundation problems can lead to significant structural issues in the future. An inspector will check to see whether the foundation is sliding, crumbling, has water damage or has any other faults.
A house is a complex beast and the list of things that can go wrong is a long one. A general inspection is always a good place to start, as this will give you an indication of what needs to be looked at in more detail.
Contact us for advice on buying your new home and avoiding any nasty surprises later on.