home inspection on house I already live in?

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GordonG
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home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by GordonG » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:41 pm

Not sure if this is the proper section for this question, but it is real-estate related. I have been renting a house for about 9 years, and my landlord now has the urge to sell. One option is for me to buy it. Should I get a home inspection? :confused

badger42
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by badger42 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:44 pm

If you're going to buy it, yes, get the inspection. A good inspector may find all sorts of issues that you wouldn't notice while living there.

adamthesmythe
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:49 pm

The way it is done- you make the offer with an inspection contingency. (Or with a due diligence period, depending on your state.) When the offer is accepted THEN you hire the inspector.

If you're a renter you may not know about all the other things you should put in as contingencies, or inspect for during the due diligence period. Find out before you offer.

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Meaty
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by Meaty » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:44 pm

GordonG wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:41 pm
Not sure if this is the proper section for this question, but it is real-estate related. I have been renting a house for about 9 years, and my landlord now has the urge to sell. One option is for me to buy it. Should I get a home inspection? :confused
I didn’t when I bought the home I was renting. My experience is most inspections miss things anyway. Rather, I’d just have (at your cost) an HVAC, termite, etc person come out and tell you what they think
"Discipline equals Freedom" - Jocko Willink

bampf
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by bampf » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:53 pm

Meaty wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:44 pm
I didn’t when I bought the home I was renting. My experience is most inspections miss things anyway. Rather, I’d just have (at your cost) an HVAC, termite, etc person come out and tell you what they think
I agree with this. I have never had a home inspection that provided anything meaningful. I don't trust them usually, usually they are content free.
Get experts that you trust to talk to you. Be aware they want to sell you something tho. My 2 cents.

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lthenderson
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by lthenderson » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:12 pm

Another person who has found home inspection reports to be worthless. On my last house, they mentioned three lightbulbs that were burnt out and two outlets missing covers. They didn't tell me that the sump pump wasn't installed to code or that the kitchen sink was leaking and had rotted out the bottom of the cabinets and subfloor.

barnaclebob
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:16 pm

Since you've lived there 9 years and are considering buying it I'm going to assume there isn't much visibly wrong with the house. Go up in the attic and down into the crawl space if applicable and look for anything out of place there. Inspectors will only make a visual inspection along with maybe taking some thermal imaging to see if there are any issues with drafts or insulation. The might also test the wiring to see if its grounded. Don't waste your money on that. 95% of the report will be things you already know and most likely the other 5% won't be value added

Instead, depending on the age of the house I would just hire someone to send a camera down the sewer drain pipe to make sure its not about to collapse.

2comma
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by 2comma » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:43 pm

I'd guess if you've been there for 9 years you probably know more about the house than anyone. It's hard to believe any inspector can be an expert in all things house (plumber, electrician, structural engineer, HVAC, roofer). I did a walkthru with a father & son inspection team and they were checking for things like receptacle polarity, switches worked, leaks/stains, scratches, doors/windows work correctly. Gave an ok to the roof and noted the age of the AC and furnaces. They charged less than $300 and my DS/DIL used it to get the sellers to fix a few inexpensive things.

One of the things I see a lot recently in my neighborhood is sewer lines needing to be replaced - an expensive repair. So if I was buying here I'd have someone run a camera thru and give an evaluation. An HVAC guy can give you an idea of the age of your equipment, check pressures, check for leaks, check on the condition of ventilation ducts and make sure everything was installed and sized correctly. A plumber could check for obvious problems and let you know if something wasn't up to code. And on and on but nobody can tell you how long something is going to last or what lurks behind finished walls.
If I am stupid I will pay.

quantAndHold
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by quantAndHold » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:51 pm

Do you have any expertise in home building or maintenance? Do you know whether your foundation is in good shape? Have you been up on the roof to see what condition it’s in? How old is your furnace, and hot water heater, and what condition are they in? Do you know what kind of wiring you have and if it’s done properly? How about the plumbing? What condition is it in? Do you know if the cracks in your walls or the sloping floor are meaningless, or if they’re an expensive repair waiting to happen? Do you know that there’s an oil tank buried in your yard? Has it been decommissioned properly?

If I didn’t know the answers to the other questions, I would get an inspection. And a sewer scope. If the furnace is over ten years old, I’d get an HVAC inspection. At the very least, the inspection findings give you some negotiating leverage. There are some very expensive things that can go wrong with houses that you might not notice in every day living.

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GordonG
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by GordonG » Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:15 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:51 pm
Do you have any expertise in home building or maintenance? Do you know whether your foundation is in good shape? Have you been up on the roof to see what condition it’s in? How old is your furnace, and hot water heater, and what condition are they in? Do you know what kind of wiring you have and if it’s done properly? How about the plumbing? What condition is it in? Do you know if the cracks in your walls or the sloping floor are meaningless, or if they’re an expensive repair waiting to happen? Do you know that there’s an oil tank buried in your yard? Has it been decommissioned properly?

If I didn’t know the answers to the other questions, I would get an inspection. And a sewer scope. If the furnace is over ten years old, I’d get an HVAC inspection. At the very least, the inspection findings give you some negotiating leverage. There are some very expensive things that can go wrong with houses that you might not notice in every day living.
I've had inspections before on houses I've almost bought, and they did catch a few things I wouldn't have seen, but like 90% of the inspection was just walking around looking at things. It kind of made me think, hey, I could've done this. Then again, maybe it's one of those things that looks easy, but there's really a lot more to it.

I can do some very minor stuff around the house, but I definitely wouldn't call myself a handyman. I do know that the AC, furnace, water heater and roof have been here since I rented it 9.5 years ago. The roof appears to be in good shape, but I'm sure some of the big ticket items are nearing end of life. Problem is, I don't think my landlord is going to want to do much. However, if all this stuff is pointed out in the inspection, that might give me a bit more negotiating room. In the grand scheme of things, spending an extra $300-400 for an inspection isn't going to break the bank.

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Prokofiev
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Worth it for us

Post by Prokofiev » Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:44 pm

We had our new (1916) home inspected after our offer was accepted by the seller here in New Orleans. Best $295 we ever spent. 2 men spent 3 hours documenting with digital photos 95 problems with the property. Most were rather minor, but at least 12 or more were significant and some of those we would never have caught without them. They were on the roof, in the attic and most importantly under the house looking for foundation problems.
Their report was given to the owner who agreed to cut $12k off the closing price.

My only regret is that they could not (did not) give us a good estimate of the repair costs which eventually cost us over $35k. We would have pressed the owner for a greater discount had we a better handle on the true expenses. In all we spent $140k on repairs and renovation. But after 6 months of work, we have a nice historic home.
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler - Einstein

Nearly A Moose
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by Nearly A Moose » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:23 pm

Since OP is the tenant and has access to the house, what does the forum think about OP having the inspector come before making an offer (ie without owner even being involved/aware)? Could that put OP in a position to make a stronger-looking offer, such as by waiving inspection contingency if OP already has an inspection in hand and is okay with it?

I’m genuinely asking - OP, don’t run off and do this based on my post, as I don’t know whether this is a good idea!
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.

denovo
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by denovo » Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:05 pm

GordonG wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:41 pm
Not sure if this is the proper section for this question, but it is real-estate related. I have been renting a house for about 9 years, and my landlord now has the urge to sell. One option is for me to buy it. Should I get a home inspection? :confused
Yes. A million times yes. You may be living in the house, but that doesn't mean you have the technical expertise to notice what could potentially be wrong.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

denovo
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by denovo » Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:09 pm

Nearly A Moose wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:23 pm
Since OP is the tenant and has access to the house, what does the forum think about OP having the inspector come before making an offer (ie without owner even being involved/aware)? Could that put OP in a position to make a stronger-looking offer, such as by waiving inspection contingency if OP already has an inspection in hand and is okay with it?

I’m genuinely asking - OP, don’t run off and do this based on my post, as I don’t know whether this is a good idea!
The way it's traditionally done is you request a price reduction if the inspection comes up with anything major or significant and the buyer can walk away if they can't come to an agreement by exercising the inspection contingency. The problem with doing the inspection beforehand is that the seller has made no commitment to selling you the property so you could be wasting your money.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

fantasytensai
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by fantasytensai » Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:11 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:49 pm
The way it is done- you make the offer with an inspection contingency. (Or with a due diligence period, depending on your state.) When the offer is accepted THEN you hire the inspector.

If you're a renter you may not know about all the other things you should put in as contingencies, or inspect for during the due diligence period. Find out before you offer.
I have a question related to this (and sorry if this is hijacking the original thread), but I am currently trying to buy a short sale property in which the seller and the mortgage holder (Wells Fargo bank) has a clause in the contract that allows them to walk away or raise the price post-contract with no consequences. This is a huge house so all the inspections, including septic tank inspection will cost about $2,000. Is there any way that I can protect myself and get that $2k reimbursed by Wells Fargo should they exercise their walk-away rights and terminate the sale without any fault of my own?

New York State if that helps.

denovo
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by denovo » Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:12 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:12 pm
Another person who has found home inspection reports to be worthless. On my last house, they mentioned three lightbulbs that were burnt out and two outlets missing covers. They didn't tell me that the sump pump wasn't installed to code or that the kitchen sink was leaking and had rotted out the bottom of the cabinets and subfloor.
There's certainly good and bad inspectors. I think it's a bad idea to use an inspector referred by the agent. To earn repeat business from the agent, they have every incentive to not kill the deal and avoid looking too closely at things. It's good to find an independent inspector.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

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GordonG
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by GordonG » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:42 am

Thanks for all the advice, everyone. If I do decide to buy this particular house, I will probably get the inspection just for peace of mind. It's not a house I want to stay in long term, since it doesn't check off all the boxes I'm looking for, but my options at this point are
  • find a house I like and buy it very soon (under 2 months)
  • buy the rental
  • move out and live on the streets :shock:

denovo
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by denovo » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:58 pm

GordonG wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:42 am
Thanks for all the advice, everyone. If I do decide to buy this particular house, I will probably get the inspection just for peace of mind. It's not a house I want to stay in long term, since it doesn't check off all the boxes I'm looking for, but my options at this point are
  • find a house I like and buy it very soon (under 2 months)
  • buy the rental
  • move out and live on the streets :shock:
There are heavy transaction costs in buying and selling a home, loan fees, escrow fees, transfer taxes, etc. Commision when you sell. I'd say on average you'll lose about 3 percent when you buy, and 7 percent when you sell. I would not buy if you don't see yourself here for a long time. Just move on and rent somewhere new if you can't find the right home fast.
Last edited by denovo on Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

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jfn111
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by jfn111 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:08 pm

fantasytensai wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:11 pm
adamthesmythe wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:49 pm
The way it is done- you make the offer with an inspection contingency. (Or with a due diligence period, depending on your state.) When the offer is accepted THEN you hire the inspector.

If you're a renter you may not know about all the other things you should put in as contingencies, or inspect for during the due diligence period. Find out before you offer.
I have a question related to this (and sorry if this is hijacking the original thread), but I am currently trying to buy a short sale property in which the seller and the mortgage holder (Wells Fargo bank) has a clause in the contract that allows them to walk away or raise the price post-contract with no consequences. This is a huge house so all the inspections, including septic tank inspection will cost about $2,000. Is there any way that I can protect myself and get that $2k reimbursed by Wells Fargo should they exercise their walk-away rights and terminate the sale without any fault of my own?

New York State if that helps.
Short answer is short sales can be very frustrating. If the sale price has already been negotiated, usually by an experienced attorney, you have a better chance of getting the deal done but still no guarantees.

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jfn111
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by jfn111 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:08 pm

denovo wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:09 pm
Nearly A Moose wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:23 pm
Since OP is the tenant and has access to the house, what does the forum think about OP having the inspector come before making an offer (ie without owner even being involved/aware)? Could that put OP in a position to make a stronger-looking offer, such as by waiving inspection contingency if OP already has an inspection in hand and is okay with it?

I’m genuinely asking - OP, don’t run off and do this based on my post, as I don’t know whether this is a good idea!
The way it's traditionally done is you request a price reduction if the inspection comes up with anything major or significant and the buyer can walk away if they can't come to an agreement by exercising the inspection contingency. The problem with doing the inspection beforehand is that the seller has made no commitment to selling you the property so you could be wasting your money.
+1

Golf maniac
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by Golf maniac » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:17 pm

Absolutely yes (if you have an accepted contract to buy). Obviously you need to get a good inspector. Talk to friends, especially RE agents if you know any. If you find a good inspector they can find hidden things. I lived in a house over 10 years and when we sold the buyers got an inspection. I was stunned at some of the things he found relating to the structural and electrical systems of the house. And he was absolutely right when I researched the issues.

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queso
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by queso » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:46 pm

Definitely, but the key is getting a good one. I have a very good thorough one that isn't cheap, but you can tell how good he is because when you tell the realtors who you are bringing they cringe and start suggesting alternatives. He saved me 100k on a house purchase once and made me a firm believer in having a good home inspector. I DIY a lot of stuff so I am also not a horrible home inspector myself, but if you have always rented and never owned you likely won't know what to look for so it is probably even more important in your case.

inbox788
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by inbox788 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:55 pm

Nearly A Moose wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:23 pm
Since OP is the tenant and has access to the house, what does the forum think about OP having the inspector come before making an offer (ie without owner even being involved/aware)? Could that put OP in a position to make a stronger-looking offer, such as by waiving inspection contingency if OP already has an inspection in hand and is okay with it?

I’m genuinely asking - OP, don’t run off and do this based on my post, as I don’t know whether this is a good idea!
Does a renter need landlord permission to do an inspection? Usually the landlord needs the renter to give the inspector access to the property being rented. Are there areas the inspector needs access to that a renter shouldn't be accessing (i.e. roof, crawlspaces, equipment, etc.)?

Assuming the renter trusts the inspector has been through and accurate, and the inspection come out clean, he has inside information that other buyers do not have. Also, as the renter, he can provide other prospective buyers and inspectors they come across a full disclosure of every problem they've encountered, whether current or previously fixed. Just the perception of negativity should help discourage other buyers assuming the buyer doesn't catch on to the ulterior motive. You'd be surprised how many people are turned off by death in a home, and if you're not superstitious or those factors don't affect you, you're in for a bargain.

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GordonG
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Re: home inspection on house I already live in?

Post by GordonG » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:14 pm

Just wanted to post back about this. I did get the inspection, and it didn't really lead to any surprises. I bought the house in Feb, and things have been going well. I actually had some AC trouble this summer. The unit was clogged up with a lot of cottonwood fluffs. I would've thought this is something the inspector would notice, but guess not. I've had several home inspections before this, on potential purchases, and TBH, they just don't seem very in depth. Of course, I would still get one in the future, just because if I didn't, and there was some major problem that could've been detected, I'd be kicking myself.

Anyway, things are going well. I still want to buy a different house, but still haven't found one I like enough. I'm thinking I'll be able to sell this one for a bit of profit when I do find one, and the best part is—no more landlord or rent 8-)

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