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Confessions of a First-Time Homebuyer: Home Inspection

The home search and contractual process had been smooth sailing. Then we had the home inspection. Learn a bit about just how important GREAT home inspections are.

Inspector: Kid, you’ve got shoes right?
Me: Yeah
Inspector: Then run!

A mere two weeks after my girlfriend and I decided that we were going to go for it and buy a home, we had selected a fantastic Realtor, obtained a pre-approval and even submitted an offer on a charming single family starter home in a near perfect location in my city. After we completed the short back and forth on the contract, my girlfriend and I celebrated over dinner and remarked on how incredibly easy everything had been so far. It was true; the whole process had been pretty much conflict free and a walk in the park up until that point. Then we had the home inspection.

I’m no Al Borland or Bob Villa, but after my visits to the home I figured that it looked like it was in good order and free of any defects/issues that would make the home a money pit for us. With that being said, we didn’t mail it in and go with just any home inspector, we asked our homeowner friends for recommendations and they referred us to a contractor who was knowledgeable, prompt and extremely thorough. He even took photos of every possible issue and provided them to us in PDF format along with commentary the very next day!

As thorough as the inspector’s report was, all it did was put into words what we already knew; the home had serious defects to it that would cost a significant amount of money to correct. In fact, the issues with the home were so bad, the contractor shook his head after I asked him if these were normal issues; and told me to RUN!

Now almost all homes, especially older ones, will have some type of issue that either needs immediate attention or some work done to it a few years down the road. After obtaining a home inspection, I think it’s important for all homebuyers to take a step back and evaluate your life situation:

  • Can you afford to make the repairs or can the seller make the repairs?
  • If the seller makes the repairs how will you ensure that the repairs were reliably and not cheaply made?
  • Even if you could afford them do you have the time and energy to undergo those big projects?
  • If corrected, will the issues occur again and how will that impact resale value?

For my girlfriend and I, we took stock of the fact that we had planned to do a gut renovation to the kitchen and came to the realization that we wouldn’t have the resources or time and commitment to remediate the structural problems; so things ended up falling through with this home. While we were disappointed initially, we are extremely thankful for the home inspection we obtained because we’re sure that it saved us tens of thousands of dollars and countless headaches and problems down the road.

As a result of this experience we’ve altered the type of home we’re looking for; realizing that we’d ideally want a condo or townhouse for our first home to ease us into homeownership and lessen the burden of maintaining a property on our own.

If this post has peaked you’re interest and illuminated just how pivotal GREAT home inspections are, then the content we’ve got lined up for the rest of the day will be can’t miss stuff!

  • Real Estate 101: What Are Home Inspections
  • 9 Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector
  • Real Estate 101: Title & Escrow

Consumer Engagement Specialist in the Marketing Department of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. In his role he works on all national TV and online advertising initiatives, heads the brands’ internal video production as well as a slew of other projects. He’s held other roles within the Marketing Department ranging from Previews & Product Development to the day to day management of the coldwellbanker.com redesign. Besides being a marketer, Gustavo is a musician, writer, film & TV buff, avid sports fan, cereal aficionado, traveler, Tumblr and Tweeter.

  • http://www.RosevilleAndRocklin.com/ Heather and Steve Ostrom

    Nothing more valuable than to know it’s not the right home to buy. Plus an inspector that clearly communicates the terms and descriptions of the serious stuff from the easier fixes. Particularly with a new buyer that doesn’t perhaps have the experience of what to be “freaked out” by in the inspection report.

  • David Selman

    Great advice and well written article. Can’t wait to read more!

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  • Lee

    Money is not just spent for repairs on an older home, it can also happen on newer, shabbily built homes. I watch A LOT of HGTV, & have learned from some of the home remodelers that all kinds of mistakes are made when building new homes. Even as bad as the heating & air ducts put in wrong or in wrong places. It is scary to see this can happen, but very true, on the other hand, would rather know than not when it comes to big dollar issues.Get a GOOD inspector!!

  • Gustavo Gonzalez

    Thanks all!!

  • http://www.amproinspections.com/ JeffreyHerrera

    Heather is right. Good communication skills from a home inspector are essential. What is sad in this case is that if the home inspection had been done on the listing or by the seller these issues would have already been known. Both the buyers and the seller could have been saved from the emotional roller coaster and the time spent. The effort could have been more focused on finding the right buyer.

    Gustavo, you are a great writer!

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Real Estate 101: What Are Home Inspections?
Real Estate 101: Hiring a Real Estate Professional