25% of Recent Home Buyers Made This Big Mistake

Home inspector checks the exterior walls of a house and uses a tablet to record results.

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If you're buying a home, there's one step you can't afford to skip.

Key points

  • You never know what issues may be lurking in a home.
  • It's important to have a thorough inspection conducted before you move forward with a purchase.

Buying a home can be a lengthy process. First, you have to go out and look at properties. Then, once you make an offer on one, you may need to go back and forth with a seller until a deal is reached. From there, you have to finalize your mortgage and make sure the home you're buying doesn't have hidden issues lurking. And that's where home inspections come in.

During a home inspection, a professional comes out and assesses the property you're looking to buy from top to bottom. An inspector will make sure there aren't dangerous issues at play, like structural damage, areas of mold, or electrical wiring that isn't up to code. An inspector will also point out problems that don't necessarily pose a danger, but can be costly to fix, like a heating system that looks like it's on its way out.

In a recent Angi survey, 25% of recent home buyers did not have an official home inspection done. The reasons for skipping that inspection varied.

For some, it was a matter of wanting to occupy their new home quickly and speed up their mortgage closing. Others said they didn't feel the need to have a home inspection because they had money in savings to cover a worst-case scenario. But skipping a home inspection is a move that may not only prove costly, but also make you regret your decision to buy a home in the first place.

Why you shouldn't skip your home inspection

Even if you have money in savings to cover home repairs, certain issues can be extremely expensive endeavors. Imagine your home needs an extensive foundation repair. That could easily cost upward of $10,000 in some scenarios. That sort of fix could deplete your savings, depending on how much you have.

While going through the home inspection process might hold up your closing a little bit, if that delay saves you thousands of dollars in repair costs, it's worth it. Money aside, addressing issues with your home before you move in could spare you a huge hassle.

Say you need to rip out some flooring to address termite damage you discover after moving in. Wouldn't it be easier to do that before your furniture is sitting on those floors?

How to fix issues revealed in a home inspection

Most real estate purchase contracts have a home inspection contingency that states if issues are found with the home you're buying, the seller either has to fix them or you, as the buyer, can walk away without financial penalty. Often, if a home inspection reveals an issue, the seller will either have that problem fixed before your closing or otherwise shave enough money off of your home's purchase price for you to fix it.

If you're going to go the latter route, make sure to get your own estimates of what it will cost to do the work in question. A seller might offer to take $6,000 off of the price of your home so you can address a foundation issue. But if a contractor comes in and quotes you $8,000, you'll want to bring that to your seller so you don't get stuck footing part of that bill yourself.

While having a home inspection may be a step you think you can skip within the home-buying process, doing so could really come back to bite you. As eager as you may be to have a nice, quick closing, you're better off making sure the home you're looking to buy is really in the condition you think it's in.

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