Buying a house is intimidating, right?! It's a load of money for an item that most of us know how to live in, and do basic cleaning to maintain, but have no idea how it actually works or how to keep it functioning properly!
Personally, I don't know how cars work, so if I'm going to a car dealership, I have no idea what to do, how the salespeople work, what is normal, and what is a scam. I still purchased a car, though. My workaround for my lack of knowledge is when it's time to buy one, I call my brother. He is a GM for a Toyota dealership, and I say, "Help me, what do I do?! What am I looking for?" It's so helpful, and takes the stress away from the process, knowing that there is an expert who has our back!
So who is that person when you are buying a house? Some will say your Realtor. Sure, your Realtor is that person for you when it comes to the transaction and negotiating and helping you locate that house. But when it comes to how the house actually works, and the actual structure you are purchasing, this person that you rely on is the home inspector!
When you put an offer in on a house (and we go through all of this step-by-step in our program) you have what is known as a buyer investigation period. Yes, you walked the house and imagined yourself living there and the yard is great and the kitchen is beautiful, but you don't truly know the condition of the house. Does the roof leak? Is it going to crumble to the ground if you lean on the wall wrong? You need to find that out to make sure you aren't buying a money pit. And so, once a seller has accepted your offer, you have a predetermined amount of time to decide if you still want to buy the house based on the physical condition. That's when you get that home inspector out to the property.
Tony Escamilla is a fantastic home inspector that I have recommended to my clients many times in the past and this blog post was inspired by an article he wrote which gives you a home inspection checklist for when you are out there shopping for homes. It's a great resource! He gives you tips you can use while you are touring homes. Here are a couple from his list:
And since I'm bragging about Tony, he wrote another article giving you tips on everything home inspection: from how to find an inspector, how to handle the inspection, questions to ask, and more.
Know this: there will never be a perfect home inspection where the home inspector goes through the house and comes back saying, "Wow, there is literally nothing wrong with this home! Everything works perfectly!" Fire that home inspector immediately and get another one! No home is perfect. Ever. Never ever. New construction? Nope. Something is wrong with it. There is always something. Am I stressing this enough? And when you know that, you can then work with your Realtor to address the options you have with this newly discovered information. Do you ask the seller to fix things? Do you ask for the seller to credit you money from their profits so that you can pay for the fixes? Do you ask for a price reduction? Do you back out because there's too much wrong with it? You have options.
Remember, you don't have to - and you aren't expected to - know everything about a house in order to buy one. Ultimately, your goal as a first-time homebuyer is to put together a team of people that know the things you need to know in order to successfully purchase the right house for you.
Have any questions about any of this? Interested in learning more? You can always check out our full program. If you have a question for me about the process of buying a house, don't hesitate to reach out via the contact form, and tell me what you want to know! I personally respond to all incoming messages.
Good luck out there!