How to Make Sense of Your Home Inspection Report

When you're considering the purchase of a home, your contract should include a stipulation on getting the home inspected. It should also include a way out if the inspection results in you learning information that would impact your use or enjoyment of the home or property. Here are some tips on how to interpret your home inspection report and how to know whether or not a home is worth fixing.

Understand the Scope of the Issue

If you didn't accompany the inspector during the inspection, you'll need to have a conversation about the scope of the issue. An area of localized mold by a leaky laundry tub could be a simple, moderate cost and fast problem for a plumber to fix. On the other hand, mold behind all of the drywall throughout the house could require the gutting of the entire structure in order to make it habitable.

Know Which Remedies Are Recommended

For every problem with a home, there is a solution. Many problems have multiple possible remedies. Find out which remedies are options for the problems identified in the inspection report. Perhaps the chimney has some interior cracks. One option might be to install a new liner. Another option might involve tearing down and rebuilding the chimney. A third option could be removing the chimney and filling in the wall and floor area. Find out which option is the most feasible based on the home's structure, age and intended use. If you never plan to use the chimney, you might decide to just put a cap on the top and never burn a fire in it.

Decide How Much You Want to Handle

Only you know how much hassle you can handle when it comes to home repairs. If you're comfortable acting as your own general contractor, you could oversee mold remediation or foundation repairs. Perhaps you're handy and you could replace flooring or drywall yourself. Consider your patience and how long it will take to get the home into a safe and livable condition.

Consider the Home's Price

Compare the scope of the problem with the home's price or the offer you plan to make. If the seller has accepted your offer, but then you found out the home needs $10,000 in roof repairs, you could ask the seller to handle the repairs or lower your offer. Remember that repairs often end up costing more than originally estimated. Adjust your offer accordingly.

Determine the Cost of the Repairs

Some home repairs cost more than others. Replacing a furnace, heat pump, air conditioner, plumbing system, electrical system, roof or foundation is expensive. Severe pest damage is also costly to repair. When buying a home, you might not have a lot of cash after making the down payment. You need a home equity line of credit in order to perform costly repairs. If the repairs would cost more than you could reasonably afford to borrow in addition to your mortgage, it's a dealbreaker.


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