First Time Homebuyer Advice

You may well be entering into the largest financial transaction of your life. Buying a home is quite often the largest purchase most people ever make. This home buyers guide will provide you with much of the information you need to make some good decisions while pursuing this purchase.

The purchase price of your home is seldom the whole story. There are a number of other fees that rear their heads during the closing process. Some of these may be shared with the seller, but be sure to question your representative on how to go about negotiating these. There also the question of ongoing expenses after you purchase the property. Some of these relate to simple ongoing expenses such as energy costs, water costs and maintenance and repair costs.

It is important that you do not lose sight of these ongoing expenses because they can add 20 to 50% to the monthly payments of principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. Under the last heading of maintenance and repair costs you should consider having a professional Mid America Inspection Service home inspection done prior to closing.

No home inspection will reveal every possible defect in a home, but they are designed to help you not go into the purchase unaware of defects and the ongoing maintenance that every home requires in one form or another.

The selection of a home is quite often an emotional experience rather than an entirely rational decision. A professional buyer's representative can help you greatly in deciding if a particular house is appropriate to your family's needs, desires and capabilities.

Professional representatives typically fall into three categories. They may represent the seller and the seller's interests, they may represent the buyer and the buyer's interests or they may be what is known as dual agency where a single agent handles the complete transaction.

A professional will serve with honor and in the interest of their client. It has been said, however, that the appearance of a conflict of interest is equally as damaging as an actual conflict of interest. It's always more clear when a professional representative only represents one interest. With that in mind, you may wish to seek your own professional representative as opposed to using the seller's representative to handle the transaction. Both representatives will most typically be Realtors which provide a degree of assurance of their capabilities, although, as in any other case, individuals vary. Use care when selecting your Realtor.

No one wants to pay too much for anything and this is doubly true for something as largely expensive as a home.. There are usually two types of values established for a house, one is done by surveying the market’s recent sales in the immediate area of comparable homes. This is quite often performed by your representative. There will also be a formal appraisal of the home if financing is involved. This appraisal is done by a licensed professional who considers many of the same things the realtor does, but generally in more detail than a realtor would be able to perform.Paying more than is warranted for property leads to several ongoing expenses for the duration of the mortgage. Typically, you will require a larger down payment, your taxes will be higher, it may be more difficult to finance the amount you need, and your homeowners insurance will no doubt be higher. Higher monthly payments may result in a lack of funds for home improvements or home repairs when they become necessary.

A Mid America Inspection Service home inspection is not a mandatory part of the sales process. It is, however, highly recommended by most of the people involved in such transactions and especially those who chose to forgo an inspection in the past. Even in the case of homes being sold on an "as is" basis, it is vitally important to your interest to know exactly what "as is" is.

As I mentioned before houses tend to get chosen based on a lot of emotions rather than a lot of clear logical thinking. Don't feel bad this happens to everybody. Once you reach the point to say this is a house I really want, you have to make sure it's the house you can afford and really meets your needs. Now you need to put on your rational thinking hat.

There is very nearly always some negotiating involved in the purchase after you've decided on the property you want to buy. Sometimes it's because you would like them to include something that might otherwise be removed such as a particular refrigerator, freezer or even a washer and dryer. Typically items which are not attached to the structure like shelving and doors and windows are not a part of the sale unless specifically included.

There may be items you would like removed from the property like dilapidated buildings, old vehicles or implements and other eyesores or impediments to use.

You may feel that the house is overpriced for its size and neighborhood. There may be issues that come up during the course of the Mid America Inspection Service home inspection that lessen its value in your eyes.

All these things are subject to some negotiation, most often, and best, handled by your Realtor.

Other factors that can slip by notice in the rush to purchase a home can be things like potential resale value, traffic conditions in the area, crime or violence in the area. How is the house situated for access to schools and shopping. These are all questions you should ask and you should spend time in the neighborhood just leisurely touring to get a feel for what it is really like to live in.

Where a home has been remodeled or visibly added onto you also want to check with local municipalities to determine if the work was done in conformance with any relevant regulations. Smaller towns and many rural areas are not served by code enforcement inspectors and a number of modifications to a home may slip by improperly implemented.

Your Mid America Inspection Service home inspection will also provide a lot of information that will need to be considered. Your home inspector will have opinions about various things and limitations on the things he might tell you. The home inspector will also most typically be ignorant of your resources, be that money or skills.

A home inspector will try to inform you of problems of landscaping such as the soil sloping towards the house or shrubs rubbing against the siding or trees that might damage the roof or have their roots perhaps damaged the foundation sidewalks and driveways.

The Mid America Inspection Service home inspector will try to assess the condition of the foundation, the siding, windows and doors, the fascia and soffit, the roof covering and though several protrusions through the roof covering such as chimneys vents and exhausts. Most often they will not comment on antennas, although defective installations do make their way into a report and so far as it may impact the roof covering.

The electrical service drop and meter installation will be examined as well any gas supplied to the house and the shut off to the gas supply identified.

On the interior of the home your home inspector will be looking at the electrical system, the plumbing system supply and drain, waste and vent, and the heating and cooling system. Each of these systems will be cycled through using the normal operating controls. Appliances or services that are shut down should not be restarted for the simple reason that the inspector does not know the reason they were shut down. Some of the services may be in the midst of repairs or could be damaged by any attempt to turn them on.

The Mid America Inspection Service home inspector will access an attic and review the condition of the structure and insulation looking for signs of any damage or decay and lack of insulation and proper venting. Although pests are outside of a typical home inspection, most inspectors will still report if they see obvious signs of infestations.

In the basement, or at least those portions where the structure is visible, the inspector will be examining the foundation and bament floor and the floor support structure above reporting on signs of decay or damage.

In the plumbing system the main water shut off valve is located and identified for your future reference, the water heater is evaluated for age safety features and functionality, and the sewer clean out will be located and identified for future reference.When any items cannot be inspected you should be advised of what was not inspected and the reason it was not inspected.

The home's electrical system is generally checked room by room for functionality, safety features and accessibility. At the service entrance the inspection is largely limited to identifying certain components, testing any ground fault circuit interrupters or arc fault circuit interrupters, and examining for any signs of damage, water intrusion or overheating in the service panel itself. The size of the service is typically identified by the size of the main breaker and the supplying cable.

Heating and cooling systems are evaluated using the operator controls that you would use in day-to-day life. The heating system is examined for physical damage, in the case of hydronic systems any leaking, and signs of past problems such as rust in the cabinet. In forced air systems, the ductwork will be examined in those areas visible looking for damage or rust and filter type will be identified for your future reference.

Hydronic in floor heating is becoming more and more popular. It is somewhat more difficult to test because of the time it takes to raise the temperature of a concrete floor significantly due to its large thermal mass. It can take a considerable amount of time to change the temperature significantly. Checks can be made from which operation can be inferred, but these are only indicative.

Most home inspectors will not examine the cooling system if the temperature is below 65°F. This is to help reduce the chances of damage that can be caused to the compressor.

You should expect to see your home inspection report in a very timely manner. The standards of practice at home inspectors comply with require a printed report, although this seldom is printed on paper anymore. Most will be provided electronically as a PDF file or via a web page. Occasional paper printed reports will be provided either on site or by mail shortly after the inspection. There is little justification in having to wait 72 hours for an inspection report. Most reports will be available within 24 to 48 hours and some will actually be sent out the night of the inspection if not provided on site in paper printed form.

MAIS, Mid-America Inspection Services
In Minnesota we proudly provide our home inspection services in Alexandria, Ada, Ashby, Aubudon, Barnesville, Battle Lake, Brandon, Breckenridge, Carlos, Deer Creek, Dent, Detroit Lakes, Dilworth, Elbow Lake, Evansville, Fergus Falls, Frazee, Garfield, Gleenwood, Glyndon, Hawley, Henning, Hitterdale, Lake Park, Menahga, Mahnomen, Moorhead, New York Mills, Parker's Prairie, Pelican Rapids, Perham, Ottertail, Sebeka, Ulen, Vergas and Wadena.
In North Dakota we proudly provide our home inspection services in Argusville, Casselton, Fargo, Gardner, Grandin, Horace, Kindred, Mapleton, West Fargo and Hillsboro.

Call 218-443-3555 or 218-841-0444 for immediate scheduling of your Home Inspection

Mid-America Inspection Services

Please call (218) 443-3555 to schedule an inspection or for more information.

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