My wife and I are first time home buyers. In the Washington DC area
market, homes are going for THOUSANDS more than asking price, and home
inspections are rare as it's such a sellers market. Is there a good
online (free) resource that can give me a good idea of what generally
to look for that a home inspector would look at? Just hoping for
basic-intermediate knowledge. Thanks.
So much of a good home inspection is based on experience, I really
suggest you find a home inspector. Yea I know about the housing market
there, but spending that kind of money it will pay for the inspector. If
the seller does not want an inspection, RUN!
was the case in our area about 5 years ago. People were getting offers on
their houses as they were pounding the "For Sale" signs in the front yard.
Homes were going for thousands over asking price. If you wanted to actually
get a house you had to act fast. Sellers had the luxury of refusing any
contingency offers, and people were waiving inspections left and right. It
was absolutely crazy, but great if you were selling, which at the time we
were. First day our house is on the market, we had 6 offers, and all were
thousands over asking price.
I had the luxury of not accepting any conditions on the sale of the
property. After you loose out on the first half dozen offers, you stop
putting conditions on them, bid way over asking price, and cross your
Our buyer did ask if she could have an inspector over, and I agreed, but
this inspection was strictly for the buyers peace of mind. We had
absolutely no obligation to address any issues the inspector may find, and
she could not use the inspection as grounds to cancel the sale. If wasn't
because we had anything to hide, it was because the market was so hot we
could refuse any contingent offers, so we did.
On 12 May 2004 19:56:11 -0700, eastman firstname.lastname@example.org (Eastman)
We've had the same types of markets on occasion where I live. I
simply waited them out, adding to my available down payment in the
Unless it's some sort of historically significant home that I HAVE to
have, I'm not getting in a bidding war for any piece of property.
Sure, and as you wait for the market to quiet down, the down payment you
save probably keeps pace, or looses ground, to the rapidly escalating
property values. Case and point. Five years ago I sold my starter home for
$135,000, five years later these houses still sell quickly, though not as
quickly as they were 5 years ago, but now that same house would easily sell
for $180K, perhaps even more.
The price of housing has just gone thru the roof here in the past 5 years.
My new house, which I paid $250K for 5 years ago would easily sell in the
low $400's now. If I'd have waited it out, I'd be paying hundreds more per
month, and have at leat another $100K higher mortgage.
Only the OP can judge the local market.
Waiting worked for me. The house I'm in was purchased in 1996. The
Original buyer bought it in late 1990, new from the builder. He
finished the upstairs, complete with ceiling fans, AC, and a spa tub,
added a 450SF deck, paved the driveway and installed the lawn. I
bought it for what he paid for it.
Food for thought.
The home inspector for our recent purchase has a helpful site. Be sure to
check out the photographs (it's amazing what some homeowners will do.)
"For it is only of the new one grows tired. Of the old one never tires."
-- Kierkegaard, _Repetition_
James Owens, Ottawa, Canada
Go to your public library and see what books they have on inspection.
If you cannot find any Books to consider buying:
Rex Cauldwell: Inspecting a House (by the pros for the pros series by Taunton)
Norman Becker: Home Inspection.
Robert Irwin: Home Inspection troubleshooter.
Michael Litchfield: Renovation a complete guide. This is a great book
for an old house owner. It covers a lot of repairs. Seeing the catalog
of stuff to repair will teach you what can go wrong in the first place.
His small introductory chapter on sizing up your house will tell you where
the failure points are.
There also may be an idiots guide, not sure if it exists.
What you really need to know as somebody else pointed out is mainly gained
by experience: knowing where to look for trouble and being able to
interpret the signs correctly. Hard to get this instantly, but the books
will help some. Take as many experienced friends as you can.
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