The LaPeter Team

Thorough Home Inspections Will Prevent You From Buying A Lemon

By Sue Lapeter | April 17, 2012

home inspection orange countyLast Christmas, I bought an appliance for a family member. I did my research, read the reviews, and thought I was buying the best toaster possible. Three days later, despite my best efforts, it broke.

With an appliance, receipts and warranties make it pretty easy to take back and replace. But with a house, there are no receipts. Once the house is yours, its problems are yours as well. That’s why its incredibly important to conduct multiple, thorough inspections before the sale closes to ensure you aren’t buying a lemon.

The Consumer Inspection

During this first inspection, the buyer uses their eyesight and common sense to identify any obvious problems that would deter them from making an offer. This is often conducted during an open house or private showing. Here are some things to look at:

  • Floors. Are there holes, dents, scratches or stains
  • Ceilings and walls. Is the paint chipped? Are there holes or dents? Is there visible mold?
  • Roof. Are the tiles faded or chipped? Are any of them missing?
  • The everyday little things. Flip light switches on and off, open and close doors and windows, check for creaking steps, turn on fans, flush toilets and check sinks.

Its at this point that you will have to make a decision as to which repairs you are willing to fix and which are going to be deal breakers. If the carpet is old, it’s pretty easy to replace it. However, if the roof is falling apart it will cost quite a bit of money and time to replace and some buyers may just prefer to walk away.

Initial Professional Inspection

If your consumer inspection doesn’t turn up any major flaws, and if you love the house, then it’s time to make an offer. Once an offer is accepted and escrow begins, it’s time to hire a professional home inspector. Some lenders require an inspection before they approve a mortgage, but even if they don’t its always in the buyers best interest to have one conducted. The inspection will show you all the things wrong with the house and give you a chance to negotiate a fix with the seller.

The inspector will come in and check every inch of the house. They’ll check for termites, mold, structural damage, plumbing issues, electrical problems, condition of the roof, etc. They will report any issues that need to be addressed. At this time, you the buyer can decide if you want to buy the house as is, ask the seller to make repairs (or pay for you to make them) or walk away from the house and find another.

Final Inspection

Too many buyers forego this inspection, but it’s just as important as the first two. The final inspection, or final walk through, is your last chance to make sure the home is in the proper condition before you make the final decision to buy. It’s best if its done by a professional, but doing it yourself is better than not at all.

The final inspection is usually done anywhere between 5 days or 5 hours before closing. Often the sellers have already moved out by this point, but if they haven’t it’s a good idea for buyers and sellers to do the final walk through together. That way sellers can tell buyers about any little quirks with the house, and they can discuss fixes for any repairs that are still left.

When conducting the final walk through, it’s important to make sure all the repairs that were noted in the initial professional inspection have been taken care of. You’ll also want to make sure that there are no new issues. Here are some things to look at during the final inspection

  • Check all electric outlets and light switches.
  • Turn on all faucets, flush all toilets, and check for leaks.
  • Test appliances
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Open and close all windows and doors, checking for squeaky hinges or busted door jams.
  • Check walls, floors and ceilings for scuffs, holes and chipped paint.
  • Run AC and heater to make sure they work properly.

If you find issues during the final inspection, contact your real estate agent, lawyer and the sellers immediately. Those issues need to be fixed before the deal closes. Once it closes, the house is yours and it will be very difficult to get the seller to pay for any repairs. If you find these issues before closing, and the seller won’t fix them, you can still choose to walk away.

Are you looking to buy a house in Orange, CA? Sue LaPeter can help you find the perfect house to fit your needs and your budget. Email to schedule an appointment.

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