Another big part of your team…
When choosing an inspection engineer (also known as a home inspector), ask for referrals from other professionals in the real estate field, as well as friends and family.
Price shouldn’t be a big part of your decision, since most home engineering companies charge within a fairly tight range in any given geographic area – usually between $300 and $500 for an average sized single family house.
The home inspection gives the property investor a heads up by looking at a house completely from the outside foundation up through the roof, to foresee any potential (or current) problems that the house may have.
The inspection process…
Most house inspectors like to start on the outside around the foundation, and then explore a building’s exterior walls up to the roof, on to the walkways, steps and any surrounding retaining walls.
They will review with the investor what is or is not catastrophic in nature., in regards to defects with the house. And then they will offer advice on what can be done to repair them, along with cost estimates to correct these potential problems.
If, for example, a gutter is found leaking, they will note the cause and effect of the leak: that water can get into the side wall of the house and rot the trim, or actually get into the structure internally.
Inside the house, a home inspector will explain to buyers about the heating and electrical systems of the particular property, and how they operate. They will look for obvious problems in all the systems, and will give a generic overview of the entire system.
Most engineers prefer that you accompany them on their inspection. They like to teach you first-hand about the house you may be purchasing – and any inherent defects it may have.
Some engineers prefer to studiously go through a house taking copious notes without interruption. Their written reports usually spell out every conceivable problem with the house. It’s best to go over the written report with them to ascertain exactly how important each defect truly is.
Both styles of house inspection are very thorough. However I happen to prefer getting up close and seeing the problems with your potential investment, and not just reading about them in a report.
Inspection engineers can also be helpful in giving a rough idea of costs to correct certain problems. If the problems are major, and involve, for example, structural repairs that might cost thousands of dollars to fix, a price renegotiation with the seller will definitely be in order.
But minor house defects costing in the hundreds of dollars are rarely a good idea to reopen negotiations – that just tends to antagonize sellers. And you could end up losing the deal on your next investment property. So don’t automatically use an engineering report to renegotiate price with the seller. It can be a risky proposition.
photos courtesy of sanjeeda-sheikh.com, spoki.lv, janelledunn.com, aceenvironmentalstl.com