Saturday, February 21, 2009

“Getting thru the inspection process” could get you in trouble

A recent article in the local newspaper explained the process for a first time home buyer looking to buy the right home. A number of steps were appropriately defined....examining ones wants versus needs, reviewing the funds saved and assessing ones budget to handle the finances that are associated with the exciting and challenging opportunity of finding the "perfect home".

Several steps were explained that one follows along their path to home ownership. Details to interviewing realtors, the article mentioned 6 to be exact, while trying to find the "right" agent that "was in it more for the client's best interest than just making the sale". After evaluating budget parameters, it was then time to interview 6 different mortgage companies to determine which loan program was best for her to help decide the amount of debt that would be most appropriate for the lifestyle she wanted to lead. The search for her dream house seemed to be so much easier with the help of these professionals, with their rational minds prevailing and all the while matching the true needs of the buyer coupled with the budgeted wants that are also sought after in each of our "dream home".

The step of choosing one's home inspector unfortunately was subtly glossed over as being defined as "getting thru the inspection process". This couldn't be a more misappropriate acknowledgement of a very important part of the home buying process. As important it is for someone to find the "right" realtor that seems to be looking at the client's best interest before their own or the "right" mortgage company that can clearly explain the numerous types of mortgage programs with varying qualifying ratios, it's just as important , if not more, to finding the "right" home inspector. Unfortunately, the "right" home inspector for many is the "cheapest". For many home buyers, the interview doesn't get much past, "how much do you charge?" Take time to search for the home inspector that has been trained by an established training organization or has a long history in the business performing home inspections.

In the home buying process, for every constant that lies within an industries' profession, there are just as many variables out there as well. For the last 2 years, home inspectors have been a licensed occupation and as a result, a level of consistency apparently created. What isn't as apparent is that not every home inspector is equal to each other. Granted a minimum standard of knowledge must be known to obtain one's license but what is often overlooked is the inspector's ability to adequately educate a potential home owner that has minimal experience to property maintenance, such as a first time home buyer, on the finer points of how a home's number of different systems interact with one another. More importantly when purchasing a home, these concerns are often overshadow by the potential long term pitfalls or projects that evolve only because the focal point of a pre-purchase home inspection are the more immediate big ticket and safety issues. There is no perfect home....having inspected over 7000 homes, I've still yet to find it. Things are going to happen.

All home owners should consider this as they interview the participants that will be leading them thru this home purchase endeavor. Of all the participants discussed in the article, the realtor, the mortgage person and the home inspector....the home inspector is someone whose unbiased, professional insight and expertise will be sought for many times during the home ownership period. An example we like to give in our training programs is that the home inspector can be compared to our general physician whom we go to for regular checkups and confer with when more challenging physical conditions exist. A doctor's unbiased opinion is paramount in helping us living a long healthy life just as much as the home inspector's ability to assist home owners long after they've purchased their home. When was the last time you chose your doctor because he was the cheapest in town? Everyone should take as much care in choosing your home inspector as you would the other professionals participating in the home buying process. Just as your doctor is a trusted person you can always count on, so should your home inspector. The one big difference is that home inspectors DO make house calls....And why not....You and your house deserve that personal touch long after you move in.

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