If you are a real estate agent you know how important it is to get a home inspection. If you are a real estate investor, you want to make sure your investment is worthwhile and that the home meets your specific criteria. Here are ways you can use home inspectors to your advantage.
Advantage 1: Ask for an Investment Inspection
- Get the information you care about most.
In most cases, home inspections are completed on behalf of buyers who are purchasing a home to live in. Since their investment is not strictly a financial one, their perspective usually involves emotions and feelings in addition to the numbers.
Obviously there is nothing wrong with being emotionally tied into a home, that is to be expected. It just usually means that the transaction involves more decision-making since there are numerous things to take into consideration.
As a real estate investor, you have the ability to speak with your home inspection company from a purely logical standpoint since you most likely don’t have an emotional connection to the property.
Therefore, telling the inspection company that you are a real estate investor shifts the home inspector’s mindset and how they convey information to you. Furthermore, the inspector can adjust the home inspection process to fit the needs of an investment inspection.
For example, you may not care as much about loose faucets, cabinet damage, or stained carpet since those are all items you are going to replace anyway. On the other hand, you will want to heavily focus on the main components of the home like the roof, electrical, plumbing, A/C, and structural components.
Concluding Advantage 1
Telling the home inspection company that your purchase is for real estate investment purposes shifts focus. By mentioning to the home inspector that you are mainly concerned with the property’s major systems they can modify their process, report, and communication to fit your needs.
Be sure to fully understand what their investment inspection includes and does not include.
Advantage 2: If You Are Flipping Homes
- Order a pre-listing inspection.
- Give confidence to a buyer.
- Help market your home with a clean inspection report.
- Save money on the transaction.
If you are purchasing homes and then flipping them for real estate investment purchases, you might have encountered difficulty selling at some point. This difficulty is not usually due to cosmetic issues since the home probably looks great. However, the difficulty comes with hidden damage or major issues that were not addressed.
When a buyer comes to look at your property, they hire a home inspector to ensure the house is in good condition. A home inspector may find items you maybe were or were not aware of.
We’ve inspected numerous investor flips where nothing was done to make sure the structure was in good condition. In one case, a structural engineer was called for an evaluation and quoted $20K-$30K worth of repairs on the foundation alone!
The point here is that because of the home inspector’s findings, you might have to lower the sale price of the home or pay for repairs. This can hurt your profits.
The fix? Get a pre-listing inspection.
We previously mentioned the benefits of hiring an inspector before you purchase the home. This way you know what you’re getting into. Now we are talking about hiring the inspector again after your flip is complete and you are ready to list the home.
After the inspector completes a pre-listing inspection on a flipped home, you will receive a detailed report on any issues uncovered. This gives you the ability to address those issues on your terms, which most likely means going back to the subcontractor who should have done it right the first time.
The important point to make here is that you are able to address items on your own terms rather than being directed by a buyer. Furthermore, once repairs are complete you can use the pre-listing report to market the home and give confidence to a new buyer!
I have written more about the benefits of a pre-listing inspection here. It even talks about the statistical evidence of how buyer’s inspections save buyers on average $14,000! If I was an investor, I would want to keep that.
Advantage 3: Developing a Relationship with a Home Inspection Company
- If you consistently work with the same inspector, they may give you discounts.
- The inspector can better focus on your investing needs.
As with anything, it is all about who you know. If you have a good relationship with the best home inspection company in town, you can expect that home inspection company to help you. Most companies will give you a discount on your inspections if you order in volume.
Furthermore, over time the inspectors will learn what your needs are and what you care about most. This helps the inspection company focus on your needs rather than generalizing the process.
There are many advantages to working closely with a home inspection company as a real estate investor. Ultimately, you can save more money, by developing a relationship with a large inspection company.
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