HIRING A HOME INSPECTOR:
Real estate agents often say the most important thing to consider when buying a home is “location, location, location.” And while that’s true to a certain extent, another important consideration is “structure, structure, structure.” In other words, if your home is perfectly located but lacks structural integrity, you may be in for some sleepless nights ahead trying to figure out how to climb out of your money pit.
Some sellers are very good at cosmetically covering up possible problems in the home they’re selling. And so the saying “buyer-beware” is important for you to remember. A home may appear to be in great shape with fresh paint, beautiful wall paper, lovely cabinets, and so forth. But what’s hiding beneath the paint and other visible coverings? You need to know. And that’s a reason for hiring a professional home inspector to make an evaluation before you sign on the dotted line.
In some cases, the cost of a home inspection can be negotiated into the sales contract. But even if that’s not a possibility, the money you’ll spend will be money well-spent in the years to come.
Here are some tips on hiring the right home inspector: Hire an inspector with the top professional qualifications. One of the best qualifications is if the inspector is a Licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.). Consumers who retain the services of a home inspector who is not a P.E., may be faced with paying a second home inspection fee if the home inspector uncovers a problem, such as a structural defect, that requires the opinion of a Licensed Professional Engineer.
In Minnesota, unlike other states, there’s no licensing program for home inspectors. Consumers should search for a reliable inspector as they would any other service provider -- word-of-mouth, references and by checking on the inspector’s background and experience.
If it’s at all possible, attend the home inspection.
Be sure to follow the home inspector and ask questions. No questions are too foolish; learn as much as you can from the home inspector during the home inspection.
Be sure that the home inspector is well equipped. The home inspection engineer should be fully equipped with necessary engineering tools including electrical testers, a fuel gas and carbon monoxide detector, moisture meter, ladder, inspection mirror, flashlight, level, and other home inspection tools, etc..
Be sure to have the home inspection engineer summarize the findings and obtain a full verbal report at the conclusion of the inspection. The official home inspection engineering report should be available the next working day after the home inspection. At the conclusion of the inspection you should know the condition of the home you are purchasing, including all positive and negative aspects. You should know what repairs are needed, as well as the urgency of the needed repairs, and the magnitude of the repair costs. You should know a proper course of corrective repairs and whether alternatives are available. You should know if there are any unsafe conditions, and whether there are any risks of hidden deterioration.
What to do if problems are uncovered:
Don’t expect the home inspector to fix the problems. His job is to simply point out any problems that may not be evident to a casual observer.
There's hardly a perfect home, a good engineer will always find some defects but you need to weigh the positives against the negatives. Remember, every deal is different, every deal is negotiable, there are many factors to consider, and a lot depends upon whether the real estate market is currently a buyers or sellers market. Some defects, such as a termite infestation, have historically been the seller's responsibility in real property transactions. The bottom line is that it can't hurt to negotiate for a better sale price on the home based upon the defects uncovered by the engineer.