As a home buyer, the best way you can protect yourself in the home-buying process is to have the home you are going to buy professionally inspected.
What is an inspection?
– An inspection is a general, non-invasive visual inspection of a home. Inspectors can not alter the property, remove fixtures or do anything else that would be destructive or invasive (such as opening walls or removing toilets). Inspectors look at all the major functions of the home, including:
– Grounds – Basic Structure/Insulation/Ventilation – Roof
– Exterior (paint, siding etc.) – Electrical – Plumbing – Heating
– Appliances – Interior – Most also include a pest inspection
How much does it cost?
– Inspectors fees vary, but the common range here in Seattle is $300 for a condo or small home, up to $600 for a large house. Most condos are $375 and most houses cost $450.
How do you find an inspector?
– You are contractually obligated to interview and select the inspector, the buyer is required to pay for the inspector, and the buyer is responsible for any damages caused by the inspection. Most commonly, the buyer will ask their agent for a few suggestions. If you want to find your own inspector, Yelp is a good resource. Just be sure to verify that they are licensed and bonded.
Why an inspection can save you in a lawsuit:
If a seller lies on the Form 17 (the seller disclosure form), and you discover a defect in the property they must have known about, you can sue the seller. If you did not conduct an inspection, you will not be able to prove you satisfied your due diligence requirements and the seller will win the lawsuit
Please, just spend the money and get an inspection. It will be the best money you spend in the whole house-buying process.