There are two sides to every new home owner: the passionately, head-over-heels-in-love side, and the cautiously-optimistic side. With the home inspection looming on my new home purchase, I had to reign in my emotional attachment to the (cutest, most perfect) house and try to stay rationally detached. What if the home inspector found weird structural issues? What if there is a nest of house elves in the cupboard under the stairs? Again, I remind myself that as a worrier with an active imagination, I had better come up with a plan for dealing with the home inspection before I make myself crazy.
While some feel comfortable buying a house without a home inspection, I do not. Home inspectors have the training to look for details I have not thought of and can give educated opinions on whether or not an issue will be costly down the road. My inspector was great, having dealt with many homes of that age, and was familiar with the neighborhood. He took the time to explain how houses were built differently back then, how codes have changed, and what has been done to bring homes up to the new standard.
As we walked around and through the house, I took my own detailed notes as he pointed out maintenance issues I would need to tackle (caulking around windows, etc.) as well as long term issues I should keep an eye out for (check slope of ground away from the house). I took all his comments and put them into an Excel spreadsheet listing his notes and potential solutions.
I went to homestars.com and researched the cost of making the fixes so I had a general idea of what I was getting into. (Note: To see the costs, you need to sign up with a free account.) I prioritized the issues and allocated each issue to one of the next four years. I only make so much money so spreading the costs out over time is how I stay on budget.
Once I added up my estimated costs, I put them together with my offered purchase price. I looked at the total to find out if I’m in over my head compared to other homes for sale in the area.
I’m sure Tom Hanks didn’t have a spreadsheet when he bought the money pit (1980’s movie reference anyone?)! This spreadsheet and the home inspection helped ensure I wasn’t buying my own money pit, and that is worth a lot in my books. After the home inspection, I allowed my emotionally-attached side to come out again. 🙂