Home Inspection Importance
Once a seller has accepted your offer on that perfect home, it's time to schedule a home inspection. Keep in mind, even though you've managed to successfully get through the initial, sometimes very stressfull offer process that resulted in an executed contract, you now have to move onto the next extremely important step, the inspection. This step will help you determine what hidden defects went unnoticed and/or weren't apparent to you at the time you toured the home you're in the process of purchasing. This is your window of opportunity to learn from a qualified inspector what repairs may be needed before you complete the purchase.
Typically, your purchase and sales contract will state that you have the right to a home inspection under its terms and conditions, and the buyer usually must complete the inspection within a given number of days of the seller's acceptance or contract effective date. An inspection may be performed for new construction, but builders offering new homes for sale usually give buyers a one year warranty on the home and its condition. Many states require builders to provide a one year warranty as a matter of law. This is probably the only case in which a buyer can forgo an inspection with some peace of mind. But, with the exception of new construction, your agent will typically highly recommend an inspection as a must-do for all home purchases.
Why should I get a home inspection, and what will it cost?
A home inspection is insurance that you are getting the house you think you are, and if not, it offers the buyer the right to renegotiate the sales price previously agreed upon with the seller should the need for any substantial repairs surface as a result of the inspection. In other words, if you learn the home needs a new roof, boiler replacement, water treatment system, new septic system, etc., you have the option to ask the seller to remedy your inspection concern(s) or negotiate a credit in lieu of, or a combination of both. The seller can refuse, however the buyer typically has the option of walking away from the deal with their earnest money returned.
The inspection typically takes around 3 to 4 hours and will generally run you approximately $350 to $550, and substantially more if a well and/or septic system is involved. You only proceed with an inspection after you are under contract, assuring you that nobody else can step in and buy the house while you are performing due diligence.
What will be checked during the inspection?
A thorough inspection of the property encompasses an extensive list of items such as doors, roof, windows, decks walkways, driveway, foundation, framing, plumbing, heating and cooling systems, all electrical systems, etc. If the home is not on town sewage and water, be prepared to also have the septic and well water systems inspected. Issues that could surface and become major concerns as a result of the inspection include mold, radon, signs of water infiltration or damage, pest infestation or damage, and possibly asbestos in materials used in the home.
How do you choose a home inspector?
When searching for a professional you can trust, you might consider asking for referrals from friends and/or family members. Your real agent is also a good source for a list of inspector suggestions. Once you've chosen your preferred inspector, don't hesitate to ask for references, what professional groups he/she belongs to and what kind of training and experience they possess. Furthermore, make sure to ask what sort of guarantee is offered, if the inspector should miss any home issues of importance. If you still feel you need additional information before making your inspector choice definitive you may consider checking with your local better business bureau as well.
What does the inspection report mean?
An inspection is performed in order to inform you of any issues a home may have that are currently present and/or you may have to deal with in the future. If one or more issues are discovered regarding the home's structure and/or any of it's systems, your inspector may suggest contacting job specific qualified professionals to further evaluate some or all of the issues that were identified in the inspection report in order to assertain if repair or replacement is actually needed and provide written details regarding the service timeline and estimated cost for any such repairs or replacement. If this is an older home you are purchasing, the list may be rather lengthy, if the home is lacking in general maintenance and needed improvements.
Assuming your inspector has performed a thorough job, the report may seem a bit daunting. Keeping this in mind, it's important to remember, the issues described in the report are not intended to create apprehension, but to educate you about the current condition of the home so you are able to make an informed decision on whether of not to move forward with the purchase, ask for remedies or proceed as is. In other words, you should carefully review everything contained in the report and then decide whether or not the issues described within are manageable or just too overwhelming to deal with.
A good inspector will explain the difference between repair issues he sees as "needed to address in the future" as opposed to "imminent problems" that should be delt with prior to purchasing the home. The inspector's written report will contain photos of each issue along with brief descriptions.
A home inspection provides you with a complete picture regarding the condition of the home you are purchasing, which may potentially save you time and money down the road, and give you some peace of mind going forward. It's essentially the foundation that provides you with the confidence you may need to proceed with the purchase.