After you’ve signed the contract and paid earnest money, you have a narrow window of time to get the house appraised and inspected.
Your realtor can recommend several good home inspectors, who will thoroughly examine all the house’s structural systems and give you a written report detailing any problems found. The inspection takes at least two hours, and you should be on hand so the inspector can show and explain problems to you that might be harder to understand if the only information you got was from the written report.
If a radon test isn’t included among the home inspector’s services, you should think about including a radon test. Again, plan on attending the inspection. Radon can be easy to mitigate, but you’ll want to ask questions about methods.
Other types of inspections are mold testing, lead based paint, roof, mechcanicals and soil tests.
If the home inspection uncovers problems
If the home inspection uncovers problems, you have a number of options.
- Negotiate with the seller to reduce the price of the house and/or fix the problems. (This is where having an experienced buyer’s agent on your side is really helpful.)
- Accept the flaws and buy the home as is.
- If you wrote into the contract that sellers have the option of making repairs and the seller makes repairs, you will buy the home. It’s a good idea to have the home re-inspected afterward, just to make sure that the seller actually fixed the problem
If problems that show up in the home inspection make you rethink your offer, your options are several. First, though, call licensed contractors and get an estimate on how much repairs will cost, so you have an idea of what’s at stake in your negotiations.
Some options to talk through with your buyer’s agent:
- Ask for a reduction in price.
- Ask the seller to pay closing costs.
- Ask the seller to pay for repairs
- Increase the sales price to account for the repair costs.
A good buyer’s agent like Robin Guernsey can advise you about the pros and cons of each and negotiate for you.