In some ways, buying a new home is a big gamble. You never really know what problems you’re inheriting from the previous owners. One way you can protect yourself is through conducting a thorough inspection, and investigating the infrastructure before you buy.
Hire an ASHI-certified inspector.
At some point during the buying process, hire an American Society of Home Inspectors-certified inspector to go over your home with a fine tooth comb. While this typically doesn’t happen before you make an offer, make sure any purchase and sale agreement you sign has a provision for you to back out of the deal or re-negotiate pending the home inspection results.
Home inspections can turn up expensive infrastructure issues that would cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to repair. You don’t want to get stuck footing that bill right after you buy a new home.
Research the existing infrastructure yourself.
One thing you can do, even before you hire a home inspector to come and check out the home you’re thinking about buying, is to research the existing infrastructure yourself. The American Society of Home Inspectors has a website (www.ashi.org) that includes information about various consumer protection issues, such as Consumer Product Safety Commission recalls and notices, septic system and water testing information, and more.
Find out about the details of your new home, and research them on the ASHI website. This may be the only early warning you get that some of your new home’s systems are out of date and are going to require a serious overhaul, and they don’t even require a home inspector to tell you that.
Infrastructure issues range from annoying to potentially dangerous.
Some infrastructure issues are merely annoying, and may not even require immediate repair. For example, if your heating system has been recalled because of an electrical short that may cause it to stop functioning at some point, you probably don’t need to worry about replacing it in the middle of the summer. It might even function for years without replacement.
On the other hand, if your heating system has a faulty pilot light or you have issues with some component of a gas-based system, you could face serious threats; from carbon-monoxide poisoning to a fire or explosion. These types of infrastructure issues are much more serious, and require immediate attention. You’ll want to know that before you buy a home, so you can make an educated decision about whether to buy and what buying entails.