Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Should we have our house inspected?
Old 05-08-2015, 04:24 AM   #1
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Amethyst's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 5,874
Should we have our house inspected?

Our house turns 25 this year. We are thinking about selling it next spring. The house is fairly large (3,400 square feet for the top 2 floors; about 1,000 square feet finished in the basement). Over time, we've spent plenty on maintenance, upkeep, and repair, and we are always finding something else. Sometimes, a visitor spots an issue we didn't notice.

I am wondering if it would make sense to hire a home inspector to identify any issues with the house now, so we can deal with them at a reasonable pace instead of rushing, stressing, overpaying contractors. Without getting estimates, I don't know how much an inspection would set us back - certainly north of $1,500.00.

My two concerns are a) is it cost-effective and b) given the legal aspects of "failure to disclose defects," are there things it's better for an owner not to know in advance of a buyer's inspection?

Thanks for your thoughts.
__________________

__________________
If you understood everything I say, you'd be me ~ Miles Davis
'There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.’ Christopher Morley.
Amethyst is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 05-08-2015, 04:54 AM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Marita40's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: St. Paul
Posts: 1,116
Not sure whether this applies in every state but here when you begin the process of listing your home you must get a Truth in Housing inspection done. Mine (smallish house) cost about $300. Any major things that would be red flags to buyers are identified, and prospective buyers have full access to the report. I did have time to correct anything on the report before the house sale went "live." If you've lived in the house for awhile I would assume you already know about any major issue that may turn a buyer off. But then again you never know. There are several big things that need doing on my just-sold house but the buyers were fine with them because the cost reflected them. A good realtor can help you sort out what to do from what not to do.
__________________

__________________
Marita40 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2015, 05:06 AM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Marita40's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: St. Paul
Posts: 1,116
Meant to add that my realtor stated some people do two Truth in Housing inspections (for a bit higher cost I gather). The inspector writes a report for the seller. The seller corrects items as he/she wishes. Then the inspector inspects the corrections and writes another report for the potential buyers.
__________________
Marita40 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2015, 06:08 AM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
donheff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 8,634
The non-profit I volunteer for offers home inspection for a song. The inspector is community minded and I assume wants to build a practice for the type of self inspection you suggest. I had one done and got some peace of mind. Only a couple of things I needed to fix but solid reassurance about my roof and some other matters I wasn't sure about. I think it can be valuable for people like me who don't know squat about maintenance. A knowledgeable DYIer can keep up with this stuff on his or her own.
__________________
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
donheff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2015, 06:49 AM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Big_Hitter's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: In the fairway
Posts: 4,092
$1500 for a 3400 sq ft house? That sounds steep. I wouldn't do it for the reasons noted above.
__________________
Swing hard, look up
Big_Hitter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2015, 06:53 AM   #6
Moderator
Ronstar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: A little ways southwest of Chicago
Posts: 9,336
I would fix any major items that you know of now, and wait until a prospective buyer asks for a home inspection before having one done.

I had one done on our 1300 sf condo when I bought it 13 years ago and it was in the $200 - $300 range.
__________________
Ronstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2015, 07:04 AM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Big_Hitter's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: In the fairway
Posts: 4,092
paid inspector $600 for a 5350 sq ft house last yr
__________________
Swing hard, look up
Big_Hitter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2015, 07:52 AM   #8
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,268
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marita40 View Post
Not sure whether this applies in every state but here when you begin the process of listing your home you must get a Truth in Housing inspection done. Mine (smallish house) cost about $300. Any major things that would be red flags to buyers are identified, and prospective buyers have full access to the report. I did have time to correct anything on the report before the house sale went "live." If you've lived in the house for awhile I would assume you already know about any major issue that may turn a buyer off. But then again you never know. There are several big things that need doing on my just-sold house but the buyers were fine with them because the cost reflected them. A good realtor can help you sort out what to do from what not to do.
No such thing as a mandatory Truth in Housing inspection in Texas. We are in the process of selling our house right now. It hit the MLS at noon on Tuesday. Tuesday afternoon there were 2 showings. By Tuesday evening we had 2 offers over full price.
__________________
utrecht is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2015, 08:10 AM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Amethyst's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 5,874
"Mandatory" inspections in other states don't apply in MD...we sold a property in MD last year and while there was no "mandatory" inspection, there is mandatory "seller disclosure" if the seller knows of any defect. So that's why I wonder if it's better not to know!

The buyer pays for inspection, and these are quite detailed. Inspectors charge by the hour, and hourly charges are expensive in our neck of the woods. Buyers do it to protect themselves, obviously.

What we DON'T want is to have a potential sale on the line, with us potentially out of state by then, and racing around trying to find someone to fix stuff, or worse, finding something major like foundation cracks.

Meeting buyers' demands last year in selling a 1600-square-foot townhouse (which we had already spent much $$ fixing up, and thought was flawless) was quite stressful. For example, the inspection turned up a "foundation crack" that had obviously been there (because somebody had filled it in) when we bought the townhouse (a resale) but had not been found by our inspector. We had to pay a licensed structural engineer to certify that the crack posed no threat to the structure.

As for our house, it's not "just" 3400 sq ft; the partially finished basement also gets inspected, as does the attic. I based my "wag" on hearing from others who have sold smaller houses and paid over $1K.

Thanks,

Amethyst
__________________
If you understood everything I say, you'd be me ~ Miles Davis
'There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.’ Christopher Morley.
Amethyst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2015, 08:22 AM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Lisa99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: The Villages
Posts: 1,325
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
"Mandatory" inspections in other states don't apply in MD...we sold a property in MD last year and while there was no "mandatory" inspection, there is mandatory "seller disclosure" if the seller knows of any defect. So that's why I wonder if it's better not to know!

The buyer pays for inspection, and these are quite detailed. Inspectors charge by the hour, and hourly charges are expensive in our neck of the woods. Buyers do it to protect themselves, obviously.

What we DON'T want is to have a potential sale on the line, with us potentially out of state by then, and racing around trying to find someone to fix stuff, or worse, finding something major like foundation.

Amethyst
In our state you have to sign a document that says whether or not the house has been inspected in the last 3 years. If it has you have to attach the report.

Our realtor has always advised not getting an inspection beforehand. That advice saved us thousands in repairs when we sold our last house. It had some issues that we knew about and were found on the buyer's inspection but for whatever reason the buyer didn't ask for a single repair. That was a first!
__________________
Lisa99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2015, 08:38 AM   #11
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,825
I think you should ask your real estate guy about it. Here, there is usually a little bit of back-and-forth negotiation after an offer is accepted, surrounding the inspections.

If the inspectors find something, that could give your realtor something to bargain with. "Oh, Amethyst and DH don't want to pay for repairing the broken back stairs that you found, but the price should remain the same because look at all the repairs they are doing to upgrade the HVAC that you also found out was broken!"

By repairing something at that time, it shows the buyers that you are making an effort. But then, your realtor will know what is expected in your area and what works best for him.

I think it is exciting that you are thinking of moving out of state! What an adventure!

Inspections on my new-to-me house are scheduled for this afternoon, and I am so excited. F and I will be there promptly, and I'll have my checkbook in hand and my clipboard for taking notes.
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2015, 08:48 AM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Big_Hitter's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: In the fairway
Posts: 4,092
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa99 View Post
In our state you have to sign a document that says whether or not the house has been inspected in the last 3 years. If it has you have to attach the report.
+1


Remember you have to sign a disclosure statement when you sell the house of all known issues.
__________________
Swing hard, look up
Big_Hitter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2015, 08:58 AM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
brewer12345's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 16,391
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Hitter View Post
+1


Remember you have to sign a disclosure statement when you sell the house of all known issues.
And for this reason I would not have the house inspected first. If it isn't written down, you don't know about it.
__________________
"There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."



- Will Rogers
brewer12345 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2015, 09:03 AM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Big_Hitter's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: In the fairway
Posts: 4,092
^ well, unless you know you have a cracked slab, for example


otherwise it could be construed as fraud, I believe
__________________
Swing hard, look up
Big_Hitter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2015, 09:14 AM   #15
Full time employment: Posting here.
Tailgate's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 880
Same situation here..hoping to downsize soon. Asked a realtor about getting an inspection and she said not to because of the disclosure. She said her team would make a list of what we need to do to prepare the house to be sold.... small fixed, paint here and there etc. More 'staging' advice rather than a serious inspection.

I do have an issue in that our pier and beam foundation suffered water damage caused by shifting soil diverting heavy rains under the house. I did have a french drain ($4,300) put in to mitigate the issue, then had the house leveled as best as could be done. It's not 100% leveled, but it's stabilized. Might scare off some buyers, but all we need is attract that 1 person who likes the house and the neighborhood.
__________________
Tailgate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2015, 09:15 AM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Houston
Posts: 1,435
I would not do it, it can only hurt your negotiating position and may scare off some buyers. Plus, the buyer should pay for it once they're serious about the house.
__________________
soupcxan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2015, 09:33 AM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Dash man's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Limerick
Posts: 1,668
I like to know how much I have to spend on a house to fix it up so I can figure that cost into the asking price. If it's found by the buyer's inspector it becomes part of the negotiation process which will likely cost you more money. Fixing things ahead of time and dealing with it also shows integrity to potential buyers, making them more comfortable with the purchase.
A few years ago I sold a rental property in Florida and mitigated a sinkhole, mold and termites prior to listing. We were up front about the issues in the listing. It sold in one day for more than asking price.
__________________
Dash man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2015, 09:44 AM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 16,406
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa99 View Post
....Our realtor has always advised not getting an inspection beforehand. That advice saved us thousands in repairs when we sold our last house. It had some issues that we knew about and were found on the buyer's inspection but for whatever reason the buyer didn't ask for a single repair. That was a first!
We did not do an inspection because if you have an inspection done and discover a significant problem then you need to either take care of it or disclose it to potential buyers, so IMO it is better to be ignorant.

We sold our house 3 1/2 years ago and the inspection turned up a foundation issue and we then had a visit from a structural engineer who was able to make the buyer comfortable with the situation so they closed on it. I think if we had had an inspection that discovered that structural issue and had to disclose it that the house might have been a harder sell.

DD had an real through inspection done for a condo she was buying and IIRC it cost her only $400. $1,500 for a 3,400 sf house is outrageous IME.
__________________
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
Slow and steady wins the race.
pb4uski is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2015, 10:57 AM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Lakewood90712's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,316
I have a slightly different take on this issue.Even if not selling anytime soon, I think you would get better valve in having semi annual roof inspections ( $0-$100 ), and annual or semi annual hvac system service ($100-$200) , by contractors you trust. The roofer will find just about any weather related issues on the exterior, roof or not. The $50 " Furnace tune up " offers are usually just fishing / sales expeditions. A big advantage of having a ongoing customer relationship with a heating / cooling contractor is priority service if you have a failure in the worst weather.

Having a good electrical contractor tighten the connections inside your circuit breaker panel every 10 years is money well spent IMO. On the rest ,

Plumbing ? unless on septic, pay for a sewer line insp once. Sometimes it can be cheaper to pay for a drain cleaning, that includes a line camera inspection.

Appliances ? cross the bridge when they break.
__________________
Lakewood90712 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2015, 12:49 PM   #20
Moderator
Walt34's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Eastern WV Panhandle
Posts: 16,501
When DW handled the sale of FIL's house a year and a half ago (in MD) we did not get an inspection before listing it. While MD does have a "full disclosure" law - you had to disclose known defects - you don't have to go looking for them either.

Since it is generally well known that anyone would be a fool to buy a home without an inspection, in MD at least that is generally left to the buyer to have done.

We too, ran into the issue of having to hire a structural engineer to certify that a slightly inward-leaning foundation wall was not a threat. It had been that way for 30 years and hadn't moved any further. Settlement went through after the inspection/certification without further difficulty.

Best to check with your agent though. This was an area west of Frederick, MD so "normal practice" may be different where you are.
__________________

__________________
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
Walt34 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
home inspection, home sales, homeownership, legal, repairs


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sold our house in 34 days… Westernskies Other topics 20 09-18-2009 10:37 AM
What color should we paint our house? cashflo2u2 Life after FIRE 21 06-26-2009 08:38 AM
Sold Our Rental House davemartin88 FIRE and Money 5 05-03-2009 04:25 PM
Isn't anyone leary of our government defaulting with our 8.5+ Trillion deficit? modhatter FIRE and Money 59 11-23-2006 10:20 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:20 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.