You may be inclined to think home inspections are just an added expense, but they are not. Home inspections allow you to see if the investment you are preparing to make is worthwhile.
A home inspector is trained to seek out any and all repairs that must be made to the home at some point. From the roof all the way to the flooring, you are apprised of every problem during a standard home inspection. At the end of the inspection, you have a list of fixes and the approximate value of the house.
If nothing else, a home inspector grants you peace of mind. A home is not cheap, and you want to make the best deal for such a large purchase. Even if you visit a home multiple times over the course of the home buying process, you do not have the wealth of knowledge of an inspector. If you forego a home inspection, it may cost you in the long run.
What Is a Home Inspection?
At first glance, a home inspection sounds self-explanatory, but a lot goes into a home inspection. The inspector comes into the property and thoroughly evaluate the unit from the structure to how the home appliances function.
As the inspector moves through the home, he or she points out any current or potential future problems. In many cases, the home inspection helps you negotiate repairs to be made before you close on the home.
A quality home inspection is thorough and takes a slated amount of time to complete. If an inspector cases the home in thirty minutes and leaves, you should be suspicious. Keep in mind, not all inspectors are specialists across the board.
You may need to hire a few different inspectors for different areas. If anything comes up as a concern, following inspections are scheduled to address these issues. Ask for a checklist of an inspector’s general home inspection to determine if you have found the right inspector.
When to Do the Home Inspection
Timing is important. After you make the offer on the home, wait for the offer to be accepted. When the offer is accepted, an inspection is the next step. Do not close on a deal before you are satisfied with your home inspection.
If any repairs are flagged, negotiate with the seller to potentially get a better deal on the home. Any mortgage lender you are working with is most likely going to require a home appraisal during the interim between making an offer and closing the deal. An appraisal is evaluating the total price of the home based on market trends and comparisons.
When a home inspection is conducted, it typically takes three hours minimum. You want an inspector to be as thorough as possible. Another piece of advice is to be present during the inspection. You want to have a full understanding of the state of the property so you can see any issues first-hand.
It may be the case that an issue is pointing out but is low priority, meaning it can be fixed later on. Being present for an inspection is your time to ask any questions you have about the inspection process or the home itself.
Talking with your home inspector provides valuable insight into the investment you are about to make. In many cases, it helps you make a better decision in the future. At the end of the inspection, you are handed a report detailing everything about the visit.
Learn About the Home Inspection Checklist
When you are looking at home inspectors, you want to have a general idea of what a standard review entail. On average, the following characteristics are evaluated by the home inspector. It differs by a few points but most of these factors are present.
At the top, an inspector evaluates the condition of the roof for repairs or signs of damage. The attic is checked for damages and pest infestations. Interior ceilings and windows are checked for water damage.
The electrical systems, heating and cooling systems, and appliances are thoroughly examined to determine if they are up to code. Plumbing is checked for noises or piping issues. If there is a basement it is commonly checked for water damage or insulation issues.
The foundation and structural elements are checked for any shifting, damage, or cracks. Finally, the exterior is evaluated on a number of different criteria from the paint condition to encroaching vegetation and overhanging limbs.
In the event the home is already vacated, ask the seller to leave on utilities for electrical and water heating inspections. Homes unable to leave on utilities during your initial inspection require a follow up inspection.
Learn About Specialist Home Inspection Options
Not all inspectors are created equal. When it comes to inspecting a home, there is a lot to keep up with and not all inspectors can do so.
You may need to hire specialists to investigate certain niche issues. For example, mold and mildew, lead paint, pests, and asbestos are all specialty issues. In addition to those, checking for radon, methane, formaldehyde and radiation are considered specialty.
What Are the Options After A Home Inspection?
Depending on the outcome of the home inspection, you are left with some difficult decisions. For homes with significant issues, speak with the seller to determine what repairs the current owner is willing to take care of before you move into the property. In many cases, the seller either takes care of the repairs beforehand or lower the cost to accommodate for your future expenses.
Sellers are not always required to make any repairs, but eager parties usually make the effort. If the home you are interested in is competitive, you may need to make a decision on what you would like to do.
In this case, it could be that asking for repairs to be made drives the seller to accept the other offers. Take your own budget into account and make the best-informed decision. If the repairs are going to skyrocket costs past your comfortable amount, it is usually best to walk away.