Buying a House- A Slow Motion Movie With a Sprint at the Finish!
Let's face it, if you're one of the lucky ones, you've just spent a couple of weeks engaged in "leisure-interruptus", wandering through countless homes looking for that needle in a haystack which you believe you can make your own. Far too often, corralling escape-artist cats on your way in the door, and trying to avoid that "all-too-friendly" dog who has a thing for your leg. Congratulations! You are in the minority! For many people, it is an all-consuming slow motion bitter slog that can take months...even years in search of that one special place! Over time, you become an expert. In 15 minutes you know if this is "the one" or if it's time to move on. You come to realize that the pictures online don't always match up with reality. You also wonder if this hamster-wheel life will ever end and if your kids will ever forgive you for this unique form of child abuse you're putting them through. And you will wonder this often.
Fear not! One day you'll walk into the house that calls your name like a long lost friend! You know, the friend that you really like, but you owe him 20 bucks, so while you're really happy to see him you still have a bit of an uneasy feeling inside. Yeah, that feeling! The house that calls out, "Hey, I've been looking for you!" From that moment, your life which has felt like it was moving at a foot-dragging pace of a sloth suddenly bursts into that scene from Wizard of Oz. Like you're plopped into a chair and it's, "Scrub, scrub here, scrub, scrub there..." (That tune will be in your head for the rest of the day. You're welcome!) Off to the races you go, where everything (except the attorney, you're told) seems to be moving at break-neck speed! There are papers to sign and checks to write and inspections to schedule and a couple of tra-la-las and a host of other menial tasks which stand between you and your castle.
I happen to work in the midst of the "sprint" portion of this process. I am a home inspector. You know, that trade which you engage maybe 2-3 times over the course of your adult life! The person who you're not really sure why you are hiring, but the real estate agent told you that you should.
Here's my advice if you are even close to stepping into the home-buying ring. Research your home inspector before you even start looking for a house. While we are required to be licensed by New York State, those are token requirements at best and we, as individual inspectors, are far from equal. This, coming from a licensed home inspector who also happens to be a licensed driver (who somehow managed to rip the sideview mirror off his truck while backing out of the garage...see where I'm going with this?).
My point here, and I do have one, a home inspector is not a commodity. Hiring a home inspector is not like buying a box of laundry detergent. One size does not fit all! We have different backgrounds, differing amounts of education, differing amounts of experience and yes, different levels of integrity. And sadly, some of the brethern in this profession are not nearly as focused on looking out for your best interest as they are on trying to "grease the wheels" to help with the sale. The thought being "if the sale goes through, the real estate agent will send more work their way".
So, reasearch your home inspector early! This way, you're not stuck trying to make a snap decision on who to trust with the most expensive investment you will probably make in your lifetime! (Morgan Freeman voice: Sadly, Bill did not research his home inspector and when he arrived at his new house after closing, his roof was in his basement...tell the truth, you read that in his voice, didn't you?)
That's all for now! Stay safe!