When purchasing a home here in central Oklahoma, it is imperative as a buyer that you have a home inspection performed by a qualified and licensed home inspector. Normally purchasing a home is the largest single financial commitment most buyers make, and buying a home with a multitude of problems can cause a financial strain to a new home buyer.
Your first step as a new buyer is to pick your home inspector. Remember, this person is working for you, the buyer. Their job is to find every single little problem that can affect the integrity of the home, and report that information in writing to you. They typically don’t report on cosmetic problems, but focus on important structural and mechanical problems such as leaking faucets, sagging roofs, cracked foundations, and miswired electrical problems.
As a buyer you want a thorough, picky home inspector. A good home inspection on a typical sized Edmond or Oklahoma City home should take anywhere from 2-3 hours. During that time they crawl on the roof, under the foundation if possible, look inside the electrical panel, crawl through the attic, and give your house a very thorough review. You are welcome to be there during the inspection, and in fact we highly recommend that you attend the inspection.
Once the inspection is complete the inspector will review their findings with you in detail, and then provide a written report of their findings, normally by the next day. This is where many buyers get really worried or scared, because the list of problems invariably looks huge. I have yet to attend an inspection, even on a brand new home, where the inspector did not find something that needed to be addressed. You can imagine the inspection report on a 30 year old property – it typically requires several pages to list the details.
But this is not a time to be frightened, although it seems most new buyers are worried at this point that they bought a lemon. It is very customary to see a long list of items on your inspection report. No home is perfect. And the buyer is seldom going to pay to address every single issue in the inspection report, especially on a pre-owned home.
As a buyer you now need to step back, read the inspection report carefully, and decide what items are “deal breakers” and what items you can live with. Kay and I can consult with you on these items and discuss your options. Typically you will ask the seller to repair the major items that affect the structure and integrity of the home – unless you are buying “as-is”. The buyer has the option of getting estimates on those repairs and if the repairs are under the repair cap negotiated in the initial contract, they will go ahead and fix those items. If the estimated cost is over the repair cap, then we will need to negotiate what they will and won’t repair.
So don’t be scared when you get your initial inspection report back. I can almost guarantee you it will be several pages long and filled with dozens of minor items, and possibly some major items. Step back, take a breath, and discuss with Kay or I how to proceed. The house is most likely not a lemon, it is just a typical Oklahoma home that might meed a bit of updating and repairs. Welcome to home ownership.