Buying a new home

Why Should You Be Well Informed Before Buying a House?

Buying a new home is an intense process, especially for first-time buyers. It’s a process filled with emotion – excitement, stress, anxiety – all of it. Buying a house is expensive. For most people, it’s the single largest purchase they will ever make. And buying a home is also a long-term commitment with financial implications that can last for years.

Savvy buyers know that good, reliable information takes a lot of the stress and anxiety out of the process. Talking to your friends and family won’t help, but talking to experts and gathering data about each step adds info and logic and decreases stress and emotion to make a level-headed decision. Here are a few things you can do to make a well-informed home-buying decision:

Work With a Trusted Realtor

How can you find the right house for you and your family? How much should you pay for the home? What is the neighborhood like? Are the schools good? What issues can you use to improve your position in the negotiations? A realtor can answer all these questions and more.

  • Realtors have access to many home listings and can use their considerable resources to help you find a property that meets your criteria. Experienced realtors in your area know the neighborhoods, the schools, details about commutes, where the good parks are, and everything else you might want to know before buying a home. If you’re relocating and new to the area, this inside information is invaluable.
  • Your realtor will run transaction histories for comparable property sales in the area to help you determine how much is reasonable to pay for the home. Without the expertise of a realtor, it can be challenging to find truly comparable properties that you can use for comparisons.
  • A realtor will guide you through the negotiation process from the initial offer to the final signatures and everything in between. Good realtors shine during this process. They know how to sweeten the pot without increasing your offer, communicate to the seller that you’re serious about the purchase, and know when it’s time to step away.
  • Realtors have a network of other connections you may need to consult during the purchase process. They can connect you with a good mortgage broker, a reputable home inspector, and specialized experts like roof inspectors or pool inspectors if required.

Always Have a Home Inspection

Your realtor helps you have confidence in the price and the process; your home inspector helps you have confidence in the home itself. Never, ever forego a home inspection on a potential purchase. The home inspector’s job is to provide an objective, third-party home assessment. Their emphasis is on finding safety issues and identifying major, potentially expensive problems. Here’s a closer look at why you should schedule an inspection before signing on the dotted line:


The following are common safety red flags found by home inspectors:

  • Electrical Safety Issues. Electrical failures remain a significant cause of home fires. Inspectors look for old, outdated wiring, ungrounded receptacles, double-tapped circuit breakers, missing GFCI protection, and generally poor work.
  • Smoke, Carbon Monoxide, and Radon Detection. Functioning and sufficient detectors are essential to home safety.
  • Mold. Home inspectors look carefully for mold-like substances that might pose a health hazard.
  • Structural Problems. Inspectors look at the basement, foundation, crawlspace, and major structural components for signs of weakness, such as water damage or cracks.
  • Pests. Termites, rodents, carpenter ants, bats, birds, and other pests can cause lots of costly and potentially dangerous issues in homes.
  • Steps, Handrails, and Walking Surfaces. Inspectors will check to ensure that steps meet safety codes and that paved walkways and driveways are free from cracks or unevenness.
  • Stuck Windows. Windows that open are an important safety feature; windows that won’t open represent a hazard.

Many of these safety issues aren’t easy to spot and require the experienced eye of a trained professional home inspector to uncover.

Expensive Problems

Getting stuck with a home that requires expensive repairs is every buyer’s worst nightmare. Home inspectors look carefully for potential problems to prevent buyers from getting surprised once the sale is final. Certainly, everything on the list above qualifies as an expensive problem. Still, other things might also qualify, such as a leaky roof, pervasive water damage, plumbing issues, or even a wonky HVAC system.

What happens if your inspector finds one or more of these problems? Does that mean you automatically need to walk away from the deal? Not necessarily. Do you and your realtor need to make some decisions about the best way to proceed with the transaction? Absolutely.

What else is important about the home inspection? First, plan to be present during the actual inspection. You can talk to the inspector personally and take the opportunity to ask questions about anything you’ve noticed during your walkthroughs. Second, familiarize yourself with inspection reports and how to use them. The final report will be long and thorough. It’s not meant to be a list of things the seller needs to repair or otherwise address before finalizing the deal. It’s only intended to be an overall assessment of the home’s condition. Prior to closing, you can use the report to guide final negotiations. Once you move in, you can use the report as a guide to maintaining your home going forward. And finally, don’t hesitate to walk away from a deal if the inspection report uncovers something significant. It’s far better to start your search over again than to be saddled with a home that needs expensive, extensive repairs.

Schedule an Inspection

The Bottom Line

Informed buyers find the home buying process easier and less stressful than unprepared or naïve buyers. Work with a skilled realtor and insist on a home inspection to get the information you need to make a smart decision that you can feel good about.

Eagle Inspections in Philadelphia, PA, provides high-quality, reliable home inspections in the Bucks County, Montgomery County, and Delaware County areas. Call us today to discuss an inspection for your potential new home.