The process of buying a home is nerve racking for many reasons. It is a large investment; it is the beginning of a lot of work to move from your old home and it is change. Worrying about what shape the home we are buying is in, is important, but most of us do not know enough about home conditions to evaluate our new purchase. Most realtors would suggest you hire a home inspector. Their job is to go through the home you are buying and to look for things that may be an added expense for you or may be dangerous.
They are not there to evaluate the cosmetics of the home, that is for you to decide. They will look through all the homes major systems and be sure they are functioning and give you an idea of the life span and condition of each system. With this report, you can work with your realtor to negotiate the things that are a hazard or are at the end of their lives. This negotiation process is really reserved in the law for material adverse conditions, meaning, those things that will cost money or will lower the cost of the home. This leaves a lot of room for interpretation for certain. The Wisconsin Residential Offer to Purchase defines a “Defect”;  “means a condition that would have a significant adverse effect on the value of the Property; that would significantly impair the health or safety of future occupants of the Property; or that if not repaired, removed or replaced would significantly shorten or adversely affect the expected normal life of the premises.”
Cosmetic issues or things you would like changed do not fall into this category and your realtor will guide you through this discerning. It is safe to always assume the cost of an inspection when buying a home and to plan to learn the most about the operation of the home in that appointment.
An option for you, if you are buying an older home with some older systems, is to buy a home warranty plan or to negotiate one into your offer to purchase. This insurance policy will cover some part of repair costs that you incur during the length of the policy. It is a good way to protect your investment if you have a sense that systems: roof, furnace, water heater and so on, are old and may be an added expense at an inopportune moment in your owning the home. Be sure to ask your realtor questions about home inspection and home warranty when you are writing your offer to purchase so that these items can be considered and included in your offer.