Fast forward to today, when weâ€™re deep into a buyerâ€™s market, some might call it â€œbuyerâ€™s revengeâ€:)Â When the home has been on the market an average ofÂ 144 days,Â itâ€™s probably had a few price reductions, and showings haveÂ slowed to a crawlÂ with one every 2 weeks, this is the time for a buyer not to be shy.Â A home inspection is your right, and is almost always a good idea, even in new construction.Â Let me relay a couple of stories to illustrate:
A.Â The buyerâ€™s had ratified an offer on a newly constructed townhouse, with the help of a buyerâ€™s agent.Â Fortunately the buyerâ€™s listened to the agentâ€™s advice and had a home inspection contingency written in the offer.Â The afternoon of the inspection, the buyers were sitting in the living room with the inspector as he was finishing up with the last details of the report.Â They were jolted out of their metal folding chairs with the sound of a series of loud crashes and clangsÂ from the garage.Â They all rushed out the kitchen door into the garage to see the jacuzzi tub from the master bath sitting amongst the wet drywall rubble.Â In unison, with mouths gaping open, they raised their wondering gaze to the huge hole in the ceiling.Â
As it turned out, the plumber had negected to attach the drainage pipe from the tub to the main in the wall.Â When the inspector filled the tub, then unplugged it, all that water drained into the floor and drywall.Â One hour later, the floor gave way.Â Who would have suspected it in a brand new house?
B.Â Yesterday, I spent a lovely 2 hours with a first-time buyer and my favorite home inspector.Â Â We were at anÂ older home with overÂ $30,000 in renovations, all beautifully done.Â We discovered, because a series of fixes had been done by different electricians over the years,Â that the electrical wiring wasnâ€™t even grounded.Â Â All the electrical work was done by aÂ licensed contractor.Â He had just missed the fix of a previous fix which altered what had originally been a grounding line.Â Who would have suspected a licensed electrician would have missed it?
The cost of a home inspection can be anywhere between $300 and $500 on the average house.Â It is so worth it when you find something major.Â If you discover something that you just canâ€™t live with, ie. a cracked foundation, the inspection is the contingency that gets you out of having to buy the homeâ€¦off the hook, and gets your deposit back.Â If its a paragraph 21 item, and you still want the house, the inspection is the contingency that is your leverage to get the seller to fix it.
I would also argue that itâ€™s worth it even when you donâ€™t find something major.Â It is worth the peace of mind.Â It is worth having a licensedÂ professional going over your future home with a fine-toothed comb, teaching you all about the inward workings of your number 1 investment.Â Make sure they are certified Home Inspectors, either with ASHI, American Society of Home Inspectors, or NAHI, the National Association of Home Inspectors. In Maryland, State licensing of Home Inspectors is mandatory.
The home inspection is your safety net, buyer.Â If at all possible, write that contigency in.Â Â Â At worst, youâ€™ll give yourself an out. At best, youâ€™ll give yourself peace of mind.