There are often so many expenses associated with the purchase of a home that buyers will sometimes eliminate whatever they can in order to drive down the out-of-pocket costs. This can often include the home inspection. While it may seem as though it is an extraneous cost, the truth of the matter is that most buyers will eventually find that a home inspection is an invaluable tool that should not be eliminated.
A home inspection is a visual analysis of all of the systems within the home as well as the structure of the home. The goal of the inspection is to determine whether there is any area of the home that may not be performing as it should as well as whether there is anything in the home that is unsafe or beyond its useful life. Inspections cover not only the interior of the home but also the exterior as well; including the roof, foundation and drainage. If there are any problems discovered during the inspection, further evaluation may be recommended. While a home inspection is not a warranty, if the problems are significant, it could give the buyer some type of recourse including asking the seller to make repairs or canceling the contract, depending on the way the purchase contract was structured.
One of the most frequent questions a buyer asks about home inspections is why they need it. It is another expense, after all. The main reason for purchasing a home inspection is that it buys you some peace of mind and coverage. Without a home inspection, if something goes wrong with one of the major systems of the home after the closing, you have no avenue of recourse and it is your responsibility. Knowing ahead of time if there is a problem allows you to not only be more prepared but also gives you more options.
When looking for a home inspector it is important to verify the amount of experience they have in the industry and whether they have the proper amount of training. You should also look for a home inspector who is a member of a professional organization. Inspectors with affiliations or professional memberships tend to not only be more informed but also be more serious about their jobs. It is also important to look for a home inspector who carries professional liability insurance.
A thorough home inspection should cover the condition of the home’s electrical system, heating system, plumbing, central air condition system, the roof, visible insulation, attic, walls, floors, ceilings, foundation, doors, windows, landscaping, basement and visible structure.
The price you can anticipate for a professional home inspection will vary based on the area of the country where you are located as well as other factors including the type of home, the size of the home and features. Some inspectors may charge extra for any additional services you may require such as termite inspection, radon testing, septic and well inspection, etc. Make sure that you do not use the cost as the sole deciding factor for hiring an inspector. A professional, thorough inspection will help you to understand any potential problems in the home and is certainly well worth the cost. An inspector that charges significantly less than others in the area may not provide you with a full report. Remember, you get what you pay for. It will be much more expensive to repair problems that were left out of an inspection report that was not thorough.
It is important that you hire a professional, experienced inspector to inspect your future home rather than trying to do the job yourself. If you have already fallen in love with home you may not be able to be unbiased about possible problems. A good inspector has received training and experience that will allow him to provide a fair, unbiased report while also looking for clues to potential problems that might otherwise be subtle and even difficult to find.
When you have schedule the inspection, do try to be present so that you can review the report with the inspector and ask questions. This will also allow you to view potential problems with the inspector there and view for yourself the extent of the problem. Keep in mind that almost all inspection reports will show some problems. Even if the home is new construction there may be problems noted. Minor problems should be expected. Major problems typically require negotiation between the buyer and the seller for resolution, including a possible price adjustment or repairs made by the seller prior to closing.