There are a lot of steps that need to be taken as a home buyer. This coupled with the initial cost, down payments, remodeling plans, ect… Can be overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be if you find people to help you along the way. Here are some steps to ensure you are protected and getting the best people to assist you.
Getting a quality agent as a home buyer
Getting a quality agent who cares more about your needs than their bottom line goes a long way in streamlining the process. These agents tend to be more experienced, and understand the importance of doing a great job for their clients. Because of this, you need to check reviews of agents in your area.
It’s also important to not just go with the one who has 5 stars and 500 reviews. Actually read the reviews, make sure they are getting sincere reviews not just a collector. A good agent will protect you from worrying about all of the cogs in the wheel. They will take care of so you can focus on the important things like financing.
The quality agent will discuss what you are looking for as a home buyer
The quality agent will discuss what you are looking for in a home, and get some leads so you can consider them. You should also be looking for options on one of the many real estate sites. Once you come up with a few options go see them and see if they feel like home. If they do, consider putting in an offer. In todays home buyer market 24 hours may be too late. There are multiple people looking at homes, and putting in offers. When I am inspecting a home I often will run into other home buyers who have appointments. So at least right now, the home is going to sell, even if its not to you.
Once the seller receives the offers, they will consider them and often you will get into a bidding battle with another home buyer. Always expect to have to counteroffer. A good agent will know the feel for these negotiations and can give you recommendations on how to handle it. Once your offer is accepted, you will need an inspection.
You want to know what is going on in the home.
Most homes have an inspection contingency and that’s a good thing. You want to know what is going on in the home. Many times you will find something that will need to be fixed by the seller before moving in. This not only saves you a bundle on repairs, but pays for the inspection many times over.
A foundation issue, roof repair, furnace, sewer line backup, or number of other issues can be found during an inspection and can cost $5,000-$25,000 or more to repair! A quality inspector will be your advocate to protect your from such costs, and give you peace of mind once you move in.
The competition is fierce in the home buyers market
The competition is fierce in the home buyers market, and some have chosen to waive the inspection contingency, but that is a mistake. You are gambling on your home, and regardless of the sellers poker face, you need to remember that a home is typically $300k-$500k. If you are willing to go all in without seeing your cards, you need gamblers anonymous not a home.
Once you have had your offer accepted you need to choose a quality inspector. This can seem like another hassle and it can be, but I will go over some quick easy steps to make it simple for you. If you are like me many years ago, you can ask your agent for referrals. Lets face it we trust our agent to protect us. They are handling one of the largest investments of our lives, so we trust them.
This is an option, but you should still do a check on them to see if they truly are the best option for you. A realtor really has no part in the inspection process, but to help you decide what to ask the seller to fix. As a home inspector, its my job to give you the best overall assessment of the home. That can be scary for an agent, but it doesn’t have to be once they understand I am not trying to deliver every issue which they would see as deal killer.
My job is to protect you as the buyer from expensive repairs, safety issues, and aware of aging systems. So whether you choose an inspector from an agent recommendation, a neighbor, mortgage banker, or phone book, always do your homework to make sure you are protected.
Once you have had your offer accepted you need to choose a quality home inspector.
Choosing a home inspector. My neighbor moved in and has complained non-stop about the home inspector his agent recommended. When asked he said they were there for 30 minutes. Sure they had pretty signs on the side of their van, but 30 minutes is not long enough to do a thorough inspection. Washington State has a standard of practice that home inspectors are required to follow. If they don’t they will miss something. A typical home inspection takes about 2 hours to complete. So ask about their standards of practice, even ask for a copy.
Ask about their standards of practice
Next find out about their experience. All Washington State inspectors are required to be licensed so that should be something you are confident in. Make sure they have been doing inspections for a while. Newly licensed inspectors need work too, but you will find you pay for experience. So if you are excited about that $200 inspection, don’t be. I guarantee you will find an additional $300 repair down the line that a quality inspector would have called out. Pay for experience and peace of mind.
Find out about their experience working with home buyers.
Find out about their certification. Many inspectors are certified, that just means they are a member of an organization that ensures they are completing regular training. This can ensure that they are up to date on processes, and tools, but also ensures their minds are fresh with their professions nuances. There is no replacement for experience, but practice makes perfect. Next, ask about guarantee’s. You need to know that your inspector backs up his work. A guarantee shows he is confident in the inspection he will conduct. If there is no guarantee, just walk away.
Ask about guarantees, availability, & other services.
Ask about availability. You need to know your inspector can get you inspected and the report back before the time runs out so you can get to negotiations. Finally, you should ask about additional services. There are some things you can add to your inspection that can be an bring light to underlying issues. As a home buyer, you want to know what you are buying. A couple extra dollars is worth it.
I recently did a sewer scope for a home buyer here in Tacoma. The line looked fine until we found a collapse at about 50 feet. Once they moved in they would have found the line completely blocked, had sewage backup into the home and replace not only the sewer line at about $12,000, but also remodeling anything that sewage water damaged. Which also would have seeped into the crawlspace meaning a specialist would need to mitigate it.
Some home buyer issues are a lot more common than we realize.
I’m guessing their $200 sewer scope saved them $30,000. The only reason they had me do the scope was because they had family who had this same thing happen to them. So this is a lot more common than we realize. Though I hate to find such things for hopeful homeowners, it also makes me glad that we do.
Ultimately researching and choosing a quality inspection company like Home Resource Solutions will protect you and your families investment. We Care, and want you to have a pleasant home buyer inspection experience. So make sure you ask the questions, and don’t try to save a couple bucks to lose thousands. Make sure they use Washington State Standards of Practice, make sure they are experienced and certified by a professional organization, find out what kind of guarantees they offer, their availability, what additional services you can utilize to give you even better protection.
Make sure you ask the questions
Many of these questions can be answered by their websites, and a google search, just make sure you are reading their reviews. We have done hundreds of home inspections in Puget Sound and thousands of hours of continuous training, we always want you to be confident we are the best option for your inspection needs.
Once you get your inspection report back you will go over it with your agent and decide whether to ask the seller to fix something or take some off the asking price. You don’t want them to fix everything, just the most important items. You and your agent will send a counter offer to the seller and once they accept it you will move on to escrow. Which is a lot of paperwork, but your agent can walk you through it and once its filed and signed you will have a home you can move into very shortly.
Hiring professionals like your agent and inspector will ensure your are protected and can focus on the important parts of the process
The point is, that hiring professionals like your agent and inspector will ensure your are protected and can focus on the important parts of the process. This does require a little homework on the front end, but give you confidence and peace of mind that you are in good hands with people you legitimately care about your family and investment.
Sometimes that does cost a little bit more, but you always get what you pay for. Headaches and heartaches will always cost more in the end. We always work to keep costs down, and focus on delivering more value with every inspection we deliver. Hopefully, that makes sense to you as well. We ask for your feedback and always welcome ways we can improve send us an email at HRSinspects@gmail.com. If you would like more information on Home Resource Solutions, or schedule an inspection call (253) 271-0402 or visit www.HRSinspects.com
By Daniel Arnett, CMI/IAC2
Home Resource Solutions