Why should you do your own real estate inspection? To get a better deal. It isn’t necessary to learn building codes, and you probably should use a professional inspector in any case. The point of learning what to look for is to have negotiating points.
Home Inspection Checklist
With a good inspection checklist, you won’t forget things. There are more than a hundred items on my own list. Could you keep all those in mind as you walk through a property? Did you remember to look for water stains on the basement walls the last time you looked at a house? Bring a list!
A good list is organized by area of the house, usually starting outside. As you walk around and then through the home, check each item on the list. Be sure to take notes. If the gutter is coming loose on the side of the house, write that down, along with notes about rotten wood or anything else associated with it.
Don’t worry if you don’t know the difference between 12-gauge and 14-gauge wiring. The point isn’t to become an expert on all the building trades, as useful as that would be. Just use what you do know. Note if something looks “odd” or “smells funny.” Then you can have a professional inspector have a closer look.
Real Estate Inspection As A Negotiating Tool
You can, of course, just make an offer on a home with an inspection clause. Then, after an inspector goes in, you can re-negotiate the price based on his findings. This is a common way of doing it. The problem is that it can often offend the seller, and blow the deal. Would you like somebody to drop their offer by $10,000 after they already put it in writing?
A better way is to find as many problems with the property as you can, BEFORE making the offer. That way you can take all of these things into account. Also, a list of the problems presented with an offer is a good impersonal (therefore non-offensive) way to negotiate a lower price.
You don’t have to be a carpenter to note that a railing is loose. You can see if a home needs new paint. Real estate inspection can start with simple things like these, and end with a better price for you.
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