Are you fantasizing about a historic Brownstone along the Brooklyn Heights promenade? A chic modern condo in a Midtown highrise? However you envision it, the prospect of owning NYC real estate is as exciting as the city itself.
New York City is a metropolis synonymous with excitement and grandeur, where a weekday night can include a Broadway show, a meal in Chinatown, a stroll through Central Park, or a serenade from a saxophone player while waiting for the subway. If you’re considering purchasing a home here, you might be willing to forgo necessary steps, such as home inspections, to stand out above the competition. But like properties in any market, homes for sale in New York City should all undergo a home inspection.
The value of home inspections
Because they protect buyers from potential hazards and unexpected problems that can amount to significant expenses down the line, home inspections are more than worthwhile endeavors — they are vital. Home inspections equip buyers with the ability to bargain and, perhaps most importantly, provide them with peace of mind. If problems are found, a home inspection assessment can lead to repair requests and price adjustments based on cost estimates, giving buyers leverage during negotiations.
Working with a high-quality home inspector
Team up with an expert home inspector to ensure a good home inspection is completed. When searching for inspectors, consider their qualifications and look to see if they are a member of reputable organizations such as the American Association of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the International Association of Accredited Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). It is hard to overstate the value of experience, so go with an inspector possessing a strong track record. Be sure to look at reviews and source references from reliable contacts to further assess the inspector's worthiness.
A home inspection almost always begins with a tour of the property's exterior. Inspectors pay close attention to the condition of roofs, facades, exterior walls, foundations, windows, and doors, noting cosmetic and structural issues. The inspector will look for missing or damaged shingles, indicators of water damage, and wall deterioration or dilapidation. The report will also highlight rot or signs of pests. Aesthetic defects, such as cracks, bumps, and faded paint, might be included in the exterior portion of the home inspection. The inspector will then verify the windows and doors open and close smoothly before checking for drafts and signs of water intrusion.
From there, the inspector will progress to the inside of the house, evaluating structural, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and appliances for functionality. The inspector should look for cracks in walls, sagging ceilings, and uneven floors — all of which are potential signs of structural problems. The inspector will also search for water supply problems, usually in the form of leaks near the sink, bathroom, or faucet.
A test of switches, outlets, and circuit breakers ensures the proper functioning and safety of your electrical system is standard. The inspector will also assess the status of the home’s HVAC systems (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Lastly, the inspector will check major kitchen appliances, including stoves, ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, and even washing machines, to ensure they work correctly.
Other points to check
In addition to areas customarily associated with home inspections, there are less commonly referenced areas of the home you may want to be inspected. For example, time should be devoted to the attic and basement to check for insulation, ventilation, and evidence of water damage and pest infestation — especially in the basement. The basement and foundation should be scrutinized for signs of mildew, mold, and structural breakage. A good inspection should also involve the garage, verifying its structural soundness, the functionality of the doors, and if all the electrical outlets work.
Find expert opinions
On occasion, it is advisable to enlist the help of specialists to take a closer look at a particular area of the home. For instance, talk to a pest surveyor about rodents, termites, and related pest problems, especially in a home in a rural location. A radon inspector can ensure the house's radon levels are safe. If your previous inspector noticed mold or mildew, consider hiring a mold specialist to thoroughly examine the space for damage.
Understanding the inspection report
The home inspector will provide a thorough report compiling the inspection findings. Take a look at the results and request further clarification if you don’t understand something in the document. Above all, the information you receive will tell you if there are areas of concern.
What if they find damage?
Damage or issues identified during a home inspection can be disconcerting. But fear not, there are numerous ways to address them. You can negotiate a reduced price and repairs with the seller. Below is a step-by-step guide to navigating this process.
Study the findings
Scour the inspection report diligently to better comprehend the scale and severity of the home’s issues. At this time, you’ll determine which repairs are necessary. Look for problems that negatively impact the home's safety, structural integrity, and functionality.
Consult the experts
For complex or costly repairs, do not hesitate to consult an expert contractor or a professional for further evaluation and an initial estimate of the costs involved. Beyond providing repair estimates, their expertise will be invaluable during negotiations.
Armed with insights and expert quotes from the inspection report, you can now make a list of must-have repairs and concessions you anticipate requesting from the seller. Be sure to put critical repairs immediately impacting your quality of life and the property’s value at the top of the list.
Reach out to the seller
Communicate your findings and proposed solutions to the seller. Be concise, clear, and offer supporting documentation alongside cost estimates. Remain open to alternative ideas that the seller may bring up. While they may agree outright with your requests, they could also counter with a sizable reduction on the home's selling price or an unexpected solution instead of repair. Being flexible is helpful.
Reconsidering the deal
If the seller is ultimately, and unfortunately, uncooperative about repairs and concessions, you might reconsider the purchase. Evaluate whether the expenses, time, and energy necessary to address the issues correspond to your budget and expectations.
Work with a high-quality real estate professional
Partner with Martin Eiden
and his team for unparalleled assistance in finding your ideal NYC home. Martin possesses years of experience in New York City real estate and can draw on his industry connections and negotiation skills to land you your dream home in the Big Apple. Contact Martin today
to get started.