The Importance of Home Inspections When Buying a Home

What is Involved in Home Inspections For buyers

As a buyer, you may be asking yourself whether you really need to spend the money for a Home Inspection. I would have to say that there is no Home Buyer that can afford not to have a home inspected by a qualified Home Inspector.

Here is what they do:

In North Carolina where I live, Home Inspectors are licensed through the State, and are usually members of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors. (If you are in another state, you will been to check on State Regulations there for what a Home Inspector is required to do). You will receive a report with the following items as a check list in order to allow you the important information you need to continue with the purchase of a home.

Structural elements include construction of walls, ceilings, floors, roof and foundation. The inspector will crawl under the homes foundation, or inspect the basement for leaks in the walls, sagging in any supports, water sitting under the home, and more. The floors will be checked for structural soundness, especially around water pipes exiting the living space. The roof framing, ventilation, type of roof construction, flashing and gutters will be inspected to make sure everything is working properly. It does not include a guarantee of roof condition.

Exterior Evaluation Will include things such as all covering, landscaping, grading, elevation, drainage, driveways, fences, sidewalks, fascia, trim, doors, windows, lights and exterior receptacles. Keep in mind that here in North Carolina, the grade of a road or driveway, and its condition, are both very important. We have some steep roads here and they must be maintained well.

Plumbing will identify pipe materials used for potable, drain, waste and vent pipes, including the condition. Toilets, showers, sinks, faucets and traps are inspected for leaks or drips. It does not include a sewer inspection. You must get a separate septic inspection from a certified Septic Inspector if needed. Air Conditioners

Systems and Components. This will include water heaters, furnaces, air conditioning, duct work, chimney, fireplace and sprinklers. An inspector will typically run all systems while there to insure they are working properly.

Electrical Main panels and circuit breakers, types of wiring, grounding, exhaust fans, receptacles, ceiling fans and light fixtures will all be inspected.

Appliances Dishwasher, range and oven, built-in microwaves, garbage disposal, and even smoke detectors will be inspected. Garages The slab, walls, ceiling, vents, entry, firewall, garage door, openers, lights, receptacles, exterior, windows and roof will all be inspected.

Home Inspection Checklist Items Needing Service

Home inspection reports do not describe the condition of every component if its in excellent shape, but should note every item that is defective or needing service. The serious problems can include: Health and safety issues, Roofs with a short life expectancy, Furnace / A/C malfunctions, Foundation deficiencies, Moisture / drainage issues. If at all possible, everyone involved in the purchase of a home should be present for the inspection. You are paying for it and you need to understand all of the report from the person who is doing the inspection. They can physically show you what items are an issue. You will receive a detailed report, which will included photographs of all of the items the inspector states are problems. But if you are not present at the inspection, you may not be able to find the items they are talking about. So being present gives you a better idea of what is going on.

Items that should be fixed:

As a buyer, you have a choice as to what you think are the most important items to fix. Large items like a furnace or roof issue should be addressed as soon as possible after the inspection. You can submit a repair request to the sellers and ask them to repair the items prior to closing. They have the option of saying yes or no. Be sure to talk with your agent in order to understand what is a reasonable request and what can effect the purchase of your home. You can call around a get estimates for repair of any items on the inspectors list. This will give you a better idea of whether you will want to repair the items after moving in, or have the sellers do them. Keep in mind that an inspection only reports what is visible to the inspector. They cannot uncover walls and see inside. But they can detect issues that are visible.

I would recommend that all buyers, whether a first time buyer, or a seasoned on, should get a full report from a Qualified Home Inspector prior to buying a home. There are things they can see that you may not. It is worth the peace a of mind and well being to know what you are getting into.

If you are a seller and want to stand out in the competition, you can be proactive and have a Home Inspection done prior to placing your home on the market. Or, if your home is already on the market, you can still have this done. Once you get the report done, you may choose to do some of the repairs and offer the inspection and repair list to potential buyers as a show of good faith. It will go a long way in building trust throughout the process.

Whichever side of the home process you are on, Home Inspections can assist you in making the right decision.

Know What to Expect When-During a Home Inspection

Home inspection really should be welcomed and not feared. Just because the law requires inspection does not mean it should be dreaded. You can have an inspection for several reasons. There are various kinds of home inspections: Buyers home inspection, where inspection is performed before the ratification of contract; Sellers home inspection that protects the seller’s liability as well as probable problems that might clog up the contract process; and the New home inspection that speaks for itself. During this time many other kinds of inspection can take place in a new home – from the dry wall inspection to the footing inspection.

Inspection occurs from the roof of the house to the basement. Most inspections are done visually on accessible areas – inspectors report only what they see. Inspection includes six major systems – the roof, the plumbing, interior, exterior, electrical, heating, air conditioning and appliances – and nearly 400 components. The inspection takes between two and three hours to complete.

Inspectors will make a report on their present condition, any nonfunctional item or health and safety concern and typically photographed that is digitally attached to the report together with a brief summary explaining the condition of that component.

How much are you expected to pay for a home inspection? It depends on the size of the home and the scope of the job being carried out. Expect to pay about the half of a mortgage payment for an inspection. So if your mortgage payment costs $1,000, expect to pay half of that amount. The bigger the house, the larger the mortgage. Therefore, expect a higher inspection fee.

Visual inspection is not technically an exhaustive examination. When inspectors find something of concern such as health issues during inspection, the owner will be informed of this and be walked through it.

Inspectors are expected to answer any questions from the homeowner as well as questions. They should be able to finish the report by the end of business the same day the inspection was held. Before the inspector begins his inspection, ask how he will conduct the inspection. If he cannot articulate what the job will be, there is a chance that he may not be able to accomplish it. Also, ask how many inspections or his experience is. The longer his experience the better. And lastly, ask him of any complaints he has gotten during his career and how well did he handle that. If he can demonstrate all these inquiries that show how well he can do the inspection for you.

However, home inspectors are not expected to check particular inspection like what termite inspectors would do. They will inform you of things buyers or sellers or homeowners need to be aware of and not more. If they find anything of concern, they will recommend or refer that to a specific inspector.

Remember, a seller can have the house inspected, but the buyer can bring his own inspector, too. So it is recommended to have the seller conduct the first inspection before the buyer does it for him.

The Importance of a Home Inspection

First off, for all of those whom do not know, a Home Inspection is where a person or persons hire a Professional Inspector to inspect a property in which they have interest in no matter if they are on the buying side or selling side of the transaction. The majority of the times Home Inspections are ordered by the Buyers of a property but over the last couple of years Sellers have been getting inspections to help market their property for a quick sale.

Buying a home is a decision which is probably the most expensive decision most people will make in their lifetime. Unless one is familiar with all of the different phases of what is involved in the entire construction process, that decision to buy a home could be a very costly mistake. We are talking thousands of dollars or even hundreds of thousands of dollars just because the home was bought on emotion. That is why the Home Inspection is so very important.

Lets briefly run through the entire real estate transaction of a young couple buying their first home and they don’t get their new home inspected.

Young Couple meets Real Estate Agent and tells the agent the size and type of property they would like to purchase. They go out looking over the next couple of weekends and they look at a dozen properties and then they see the one, the home of their dreams. They can’t wait to get back to the Agents office so they can write up an offer and get things moving. They get to the negotiation part of deal and they are overwhelmed because the sellers have trimmed $5000 from the original asking price. The young couple thinks they are getting the house of their dreams at a great price and accept the seller’s final asking price. In most cases their completed contract starts a 10 day inspection period (although that is negotiable); however the couple has looked at the house and didn’t see any problems of any kind so they decided to not pay the $250 for a Home Inspection although the Real Estate Agent explained to young couple of the importance and value of an Inspection. The Agent got them to sign a waiver on the Buyers Inspection Sellers Response and life was good for the young couple.

They moved in and after a couple of weeks they discovered a water stain on the living room ceiling. They run to the window and looked out and it was a beautiful sunny afternoon and their first thoughts were it was raining. The couple had no idea what to do so they started looking for and calling plumbers from the internet and yellow pages only to find out because it was a holiday they were hard to locate all the while the stain continued to grow and the drywall began to bulge. They located a plumber and summoned them on their way but he was a couple of hours away. The drywall ceiling continued to bulge until it just could not hold any more water. At last it burst and water fell from the ceiling, along with drywall and insulation, down into the living room onto their brand new LCD TV and caused several thousand dollars in water damage by the time the plumber got there to shut the water off. The poor couple was now faced with thousands of dollars in repairs because they did not know a few things that a Home Inspection would have found.
If the couple would have spent $250 on a Home Inspection they would have known a few things that could have saved them the thousands of dollars they now face with repairs and damages.
The first thing they would have known, is where the main shutoff valve was for the water so they could have limited their repair cost to the leak repair and the ceiling drywall repair which would have probably been a couple of hundred dollars.

The next and probably the most important part thing they would have know if they had an inspection, would have been that the house was plumbed with Polybutylene piping which is known for its many problems and there were thousands of lawsuits from homes that had the piping installed. There were rebates offered and assistance was given for people to re-pipe their homes because this piping had so many problems. The Home Inspector would have most likely caught that and informed the young couple of the piping and would have probably recommended that it be re-piped and they could have made a more informed decision on purchasing the house. If they still wanted the house, they could have renegotiated the price with the seller to have the re-piping done.

Now their $5000 off of the list price which the seller dropped during their negotiations is not looking so good because now they have the cost of the re-piping and repairs which far outweighs that.

That is just a small example of what would have been found in the Plumbing phase of the inspection and a full Home Inspection covers all phases of the construction process such as Electrical, Heating and Air Conditioning, Structural, Foundation, Roofing, Attic, Fireplaces, and so much more.

Please don’t let this happen to you if you are buying a home, or to someone you know, and Real Estate Agents, please print this article out and let your clients read it if they are thinking of foregoing an Inspection.

Have your Home Inspection done by a Certified Home Inspector in your State.

Why Are Home Inspections Important?

Home inspections inform the buyer and the seller about the condition of the home. Many San Fernando Valley sellers pay for a home inspection at the time they put their Sherman Oaks, Encino, Van Nuys or North Hollywood real estate on the market so that they can address any potential issues or problems that potential buyers may be concerned about.

It is a good opportunity for the seller to fix or repair any statutory items that they need to comply with such as strapping their water heater to earthquake code, retrofitting toilets and showers and installing smoke alarms per state codes. If there are other items that the seller or their Realtor think may affect the price of the home or the length of time it may take to sell the home, then the seller may want to make some of those repairs if they are justified and will help get the home sold for maximum dollar and in a short period of time. Or the alternative is to offer the buyer seller concessions.

Buyers should conduct a home inspection during their contract contingency period so they are aware of the condition of the home and can make an intelligent decision as to whether they want to purchase the San Fernando Valley home, condo or townhome. This will avoid any surprises after closing as well.

As Is Condition

Although most San Fernando Valley real estate in sold in an “as is” condition, meaning the seller is not required to make any warranties or repairs, except for statutory items, the buyer still should negotiate an inspection contingency in the purchase contract which gives them the opportunity to conduct an inspection. Bank foreclosures and short sales are always sold in an “as is” condition as well.

The purpose of the home inspection is to determine any problems with the home during the inspection contingency period and to give the buyer the opportunity to go forward with the sale, ask the seller for concessions or repairs or cancel the contract if the inspection reveals major repairs or structural damage to the home.

What is Covered in a Home Inspection?

Generally, the buyer pays for a licensed home inspector to conduct a physical inspection of the home’s interior and exterior. The inspection includes the inspection of the general systems of the home such as plumbing, electrical, heating, air conditioning and the roof condition and condition of the appliances. A home inspection can run anywhere from around $250.00 – $500.00 and up depending on the size of the home and the type of home, condo, townhome, etc.

The home inspector does not conduct environmental inspections for mold, lead paint, asbestos, radon, etc. If it is determined that these conditions exist in the home, the inspector will recommend further inspections be done by the appropriate inspectors. Some home inspectors will provide these services at an additional cost. It is then up to the buyer to either hire the appropriate professionals to conduct these further inspections, ask the seller for concessions or a price reduction, or cancel the contract.

When You May Not Need a Home Inspection

If you are planning on tearing down the home and rehabbing it, then you probably don’t want to spend the money on a home inspection. You may want to obtain a geology report or soils report and a survey to determine the property boundaries. If you are purchasing a condo or townhouse, it is not necessary to obtain a survey or geology report. You will want to review the natural hazards report to determine if you are in a flood, fire or earthquake seismic hazards zone though.

In a seller’s market, it was common for buyers to waive inspection contingencies especially in a multiple offer situation. It is generally not recommended that the buyer waive the inspection though. However, it is a personal decision to be made by the buyer.

Home inspections are an inexpensive way to determine the condition of the home. For buyers, it is important that they conduct a home inspection to avoid a costly mistake by purchasing a property that needs major repairs, has structural damage or is affected by environmental hazards. Every buyer’s motivation for purchasing is different. Some buyers are willing to purchase properties that are considered major fixers for the right price. Others want move in condition properties and do not have a budget for making major repairs.

An inspection will reveal material problems about the house that the seller or their San Fernando Valley Realtor may not know about, and therefore did not disclose on the transfer disclosure statement. As a buyer, you don’t want to solely rely on the seller’s or the Realtors’ transfer disclosure statements. It is your responsibility to complete your own investigations about the property you are potentially purchasing so you know what you are getting yourself into.

A 411 on the Benefits of a Home Inspection For Home Buyers

Buying your own house is always a major decision to make. After all, you, as a buyer, will always want the best value for your money. One way of getting this is consulting a Professional Home Inspector service before you eventually purchase your home. However, not a lot of people are aware of what a home inspection actually is, and what is it exactly that inspectors do. Dismissing their services as only for those with extra money to spend or those who cannot inspect the structures themselves is not a very wise decision. But for the smart home buyer, having the home inspector enter take a look at the home first is always a smart move.

Before you decide to take that pen and signing that deed of sale, maybe think about having a Professional Home Inspection first. But you may ask, what exactly is it that the home inspector does? What should you expect once you do receive the services of one? In a basic home inspection, an inspector will perform a series of non-invasive and visual examination of the residential dwelling, which is designed to identify those materials defects which they may observe within specific components of the said dwelling. There are several components to each dwelling, whether it is mechanical, structural, electrical, plumbing, or any other system or component of the home. When it comes to which components are inspected, the home inspector and the client arrive at an agreement as to which one, or combination of components shall be inspected before inspection begins. In some states, as in Texas, there is a Pre-Inspection Agreement that is required to be signed before the inspection begins that outlines all the items that are covered, that are not covered and items which are optional.

The first benefit of having a home inspection is that you are assured that the home you are about to purchase is free from material defects which may endanger the lives of the residents. For instance, there are a lot of defects which any person may not notice given that he doesn’t really know how to inspect. There may be problems with the foundation of a home, the heating system, or the electrical wiring which the untrained person may not recognize as systematic.

After a home inspection, once you’ve had the inspector inspect the home and he has identified the defects, you are more or less aware of the overall condition of the house and what repairs have to be done, if any and in case you still wish to purchase the home despite the defects. This will be to your advantage as you will no longer have to make unplanned expenses in case it turns out later that the house needs more work than it looks like. In the end, paying for home inspection may actually prove to be more economical. Having the inspection is also economical in the sense that you get your money’s worth. Every consumer after all desires nothing more than getting the best value out of every cent spent, especially with today’s tough conditions. You will be sure that the home you purchase will be worth the amount with which you pay.

Whether for the safety reasons, or to get your money’s worth, or whatever reason you may have for hiring a home inspector, just remember that whenever you decide to have a home inspection, it will always be worth it.