Home inspection
Jan 11, 2007

It's been a while since my last post on the home buying process, so I figured I'd remedy that while I've got some free time this morning. I left off with the negotiations, a process that I actually found pretty enjoyable. As it was really just the two agents negotiating, we basically were just setting the negotiation strategy and letting Anne handle the tactics. That suited me just fine and, despite losing the first place we negotiated on, I think we proved to be fairly strong negotiators. Having agreed to a price with the seller it was time to move on to the home inspection. When we were first talking with Anne about the buying process she had provided us with a list of inspectors and inspection companies in the area and given us some basic advice. Basically, once you have a list of inspectors you want to make sure you get someone who's got a lot of experience, but still not hugely expensive. After going through the list provided by RE/MAX, we had a price range from about $250 to about $600, and all the inspectors claimed to have years and years of experience. The inspector we ended up going with, Mark George, was actually towards the lower end of the price scale, but has about 25 years experience and when talking to him on the phone he just 'sounded right'. I'm not entirely sure what that means, but when I was talking to him on the phone he just sounded like you'd expect an experienced and honest home inspector to sound. In general that's probably not the best thing to base a decision on, but in this case it worked out because he was simply fantastic. Even Anne, who's obviously worked with a lot of home inspectors, was impressed and said he's probably the best she's worked with. The home inspection involved much more than him just looking the place over and giving us a report. Instead he walked us through the entire process. He pointed everything out to us as he saw it and explained what it meant and why it was good or bad. He explained the process of maintaining everything that needs maintenance, from the water heater to the wooden gutters (apparently you need to treat wooden gutters with linseed oil every so often), and actually explained why you want to do this things rather than just telling us we need to. He was also just a fun guy who enjoyed joking around (his very heavy Boston accent didn't hurt either). He even brought a ladder along and took us up on the roof to inspect that, something which, apparently, the buyers of the other two units in the building never bothered to do because when we got up there we discovered that the rubber roof, though in good condition, needed to be re-sealed as some of the seams had dried out and separated (something which proved quite useful to know). As a home inspector, Mark wasn't allowed to recommend a roofer to fix it, but he was able to give us an expected price range on the work so we were able to use it when re-negotiating after the inspection (a process which proved to be very painless as we had a less than perfect roof above our top-floor condo to use as leverage). All in all, I'd say the inspection was one of the most enjoyable parts of the process. Not only was it incredibly useful, and helped to reassure Jessi and myself that we had found a great place, but we also learned a lot about the things we need to be aware of and be sure we take care of after we move in. As I've said many times before, I think it's extremely important to have good people supporting you when buying a home, and Mark George definitely fit the bill. As with everyone else I've worked with on this, I highly recommend him to anyone looking to buy a home in the area. Next up, handing over uncomfortably large sums of money, more mortgage stuff, and actually taking ownership of our new condo (which happens tomorrow!).
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