Buying a home is an exciting time in peoples' lives. When you've fallen in love with a particular house, usually after seeing a few, or many, your eye is now on the goal of closing and moving in.
There are timelines in the contract for your protection. One of the most important contingencies is for you to get the home inspected. And you need to do it and get any requests in by day 10, and no later. The inspection negotiations can go beyond day 10 but all inspections and the inspection form, called the BINSR, must be sent to the listing agent within 10 days.
Once the inspection has been done, you will receive a report with all items that are concerning. A good inspector will list everything they see, but what you need to be interested in are major items, not cosmetics. Following are 8 common mistakes buyers make after the inspection has been done:
1. Not hiring a pro
When we look at Scottsdale homes for sale together, I will point out visible items that you might miss. I am not an inspector, but I can catch things to alert you. However, viewing properties is not the time to attempt to get into the attic or do your own inspection by removing any panels on furnaces or electrical panels. That must be left to the professional inspector.
You might have a parent or relative that has been in construction all of their life. A viewing is not a time for them to be doing anything other than looking at the homes and pointing easily visible items out. And they are not the inspection service you need to use during your due diligence period.
2. Don't hire an inspector based on a low fee
If you get a referral from me or your family or friends and their inspection fee is low, that's a bonus. But don't just choose an inspector because of the cost. You could be losing a lot more money down the road if a bargain inspector isn't knowledgeable and reliable.
3. Not showing up to speak to the inspector while at the house
You don't have to attend the entire inspection. We let the inspector do their job and meet with them towards the end so they can go over the summary of the inspection with us. They will point everything out and will show you the issues they found.
A good inspector will not try to scare you away from making the purchase. They are to make you aware of any issues that need to be fixed or replaced. They might also help you understand home maintenance vs. needing an item to be immediately repaired.
If you're too busy to attend the inspection, try to have a family member or friend be there. I will attend but all I can do is attempt to explain the report based on what the inspector told me.
4. Not taking the time to really read the report
Although some inspectors will give you a report immediately, most go back to their office and write up the report and deliver it as soon as possible, which could be the following day depending on the time of day the inspection was done. Keep in mind, your inspection might not be the only one the inspector did that day, so even if yours was done in the morning, you might still not receive the report until the next day.
The inspection report is going to be multiple pages and sometimes things are repetitive. Unlike the purchase contracts we use for Scottsdale real estate purchases, inspectors don't utilize the same reports as each other.
You need to set aside some time to sit down and read through the report. Sometimes, I'll go through it with you over the phone. But I can only give you my opinion based on my years of experience. In a brisk Seller's Market, the seller will be less likely to make a lot of repairs. That changes in a Buyer's Market. I'll keep you informed about that.
5. Not asking questions
It's interesting that once an inspection has been done, my buyers will ask me questions that they need the inspector to answer. That can be difficult because if the inspector is in the middle of another inspection, they won't be able to speak to you when you have your questions fresh in your mind.
But it will be worth waiting to speak to the source. If you are confused about something that is on the report after the inspection has been done, call the inspector and ask them directly.
If you do have family members or friends that know about homes and contracting and mechanicals, you might want to get their opinions by asking them:
- ask if it's something they feel needs to be fixed
- is it something that needs to be repaired immediately?
- what can occur if you wait to do the repair?
- is it a DIY fix or do you need to hire a professional?
- what kind of pro would fix something like this?
- do they have an idea of what the costs could be?
- do they have an idea of the lifespan of one or some of the existing mechanicals?
- what maintenance tips do they have?
This is an important decision that you must make on your own. The inspector is the professional but isn't there to tell you to buy the home or move on to another one. As your Scottsdale real estate agent, I can only give you my opinion. And unless your friend or relative is an expert in whatever their contracting field is, anything outside of their expertise will also be an opinion.
6. Expecting a perfect property
I once worked at a new construction subdivision. I wanted to see homes being built from the ground up and I learned a lot. But once the subdivision was sold out, I went back to regular Scottsdale real estate. It was an interesting two years of my life, but I was finished sitting in model homes four days a week.
Even new construction homes aren't perfect. Buyers expect them to be, but materials used can fail or there can be contractor error. I've seen bathroom pipes that were leaking inside the wall and other water issues. I've seen cabinets installed improperly and all sorts of builder mistakes.
Of course, the developer/builder has to rely on their sub-contractors, and the family I worked for had to use multiple sub-contractors during my time there. They would have a favorite one until that sub-contractor's workers would stop showing up in a timely manner and were no longer reliable, or started making mistakes.
The good thing is a buyer of new construction has the ability to do the final walk-through and mark any items that haven't been fixed correctly and the contractor is expected to fix those items prior to closing. I have seen and heard horror stories of the contractor promising to fix things after the closing and either didn't fix anything or took a long time to do so.
New construction also gives a longer warranty after the building is complete. It's usually five years. But that can be a separate story.
For resale Scottsdale real estate, the house could be decades old. There is wear and tear, even in homes that have been remodeled. Depending on when the house was built, it might have original mechanicals that will have to be replaced soon. They might be working now, but they won't last forever.
No house is going to be perfect, so you have to understand that and decide what items are of most importance to you. Keep in mind, if one thing is bothering you and you decide to move on because the seller refuses to make a repair, you don't get your inspection fee back. You might find another home that you love that has more issues.
I've actually had buyers that got scared off by an inspection report on a house they wanted. They voided the contract and got their earnest money back. Then we found another house they wanted. They opted not to have an inspection on this one because they didn't want to be scared off again! I can't force a buyer to have an inspection, but I always recommend that they do.
My husband grew up in a family construction company. They built single and multi-family homes and went on to commercial construction. My husband didn't think we needed an inspection on one of the homes we purchased. The furnace went out within a week of using it. Luckily, we had a good home warranty and got it replaced for $100.
When we sold that house and the new buyer had an inspection, we found out about things we weren't aware of. These items never caused any issues in the decade we lived in the house, but they were long-term concerns.
7. Not taking the next step by hiring an expert to confirm
A licensed home inspector is knowledgeable about most aspects of a home. But they are not necessarily, nor have ever been, a licensed roofer, plumber, electrician, etc. They might find something they find suspicious and will recommend you get an expert in that field to check it out before your 10 days are up.
Every once in a while, buyers won't take that additional step. Maybe they have to pay an additional fee to get an expert out and they don't want to pay another fee. Once those 10 days are up it's too late.
8. Not calling for a re-inspection of repairs made
Some home inspectors will do a re-inspection of repairs done by the seller at no cost, or at least at a lower fee than a full inspection. Sometimes, buyers just check themselves during the final walk-through. We always request receipts if the item was repaired by a professional.
If you don't catch an agreed-upon repair prior to closing, then you've accepted the home as it is. You can halt the closing until the repair is completed, but that's not an easy thing to do if you've scheduled a mover and need to be out of your place. That's why it is best to make sure repairs were done prior to the final walk-through.
We will help you
Judy Orr has access to great home inspectors that are vetted and partnered with HomeSmart in Scottsdale (these companies are not owned by HomeSmart). You will be given a couple of different inspectors to choose from but you are free to hire whatever inspection company you prefer. Maybe you've worked with a great company on another Scottsdale real estate purchase.
Give Judy a call at 408-877-1549Posted by Judy Orr on