A home inspection is meant to provide the buyer detail information identifying any major issues with home prior to closing. The three main points of an inspection are the physical condition, items needing repair or replacement, and remaining useful life of major systems.
It’s a good idea to be present during the inspection. It allows you to ask the inspector questions and learn more on how the features of the home function/operate. The inspector will point out areas of potential trouble and offer maintenance tips.
Expect an inspection to take 2-5 hours and can cost $400-$500, depending on size.
To hire an inspector visit American Society of Home Inspectors for a list of certified inspectors in your area or email me at Valerie@ValerieFrossardHomes.com for a list of recommendations and what to look for in an inspector.
1. Provides an "Out" - A quality home inspection can reveal critical information about the condition of a home and its systems. This makes the buyer aware of what costs, repairs and maintenance the home may require immediately, and over time. If a buyer isn't comfortable with the findings of the home inspection, it usually presents one last opportunity to back out of the offer to purchase the home.
2. Safety - A home inspection can detect safety issues like radon, carbon monoxide, and mold, which all homes should be tested for. Make sure that your home-buying contract states that should such hazards be detected, you have the option to cancel the offer to buy.
3. Reveal Illegal Additions or Installations - A home inspection can reveal whether rooms, altered garages or basements were completed without a proper permit, or building code violations. "If a house has illegal room additions that are un-permitted, it affects the insurance, taxes, usability and most of all the overall value. Even new homes with systems that were not installed to code will become the new homeowners' financial "problem" to fix (and finance).
4. Protection - Home inspections are even more critical if you are buying an "as-is" foreclosed property or short sale. Dwellings that have been un-occupied and boarded up often develop hazardous mold problems, which are costly to remedy and pose health concerns.
It's common for home inspectors to find that copper plumbing lines and fixtures removed from foreclosed properties to sell for a profit.
5. Negotiating Tool - Home inspection report presents an opportunity to ask for repairs and/or replacements, possible seller credit or even a price reduction. Consult with your realtor to understand what requests can and should be made to negotiate a better deal.
6. Forecast Future Costs - A home inspector can approximate the installation age of major systems in the home like plumbing, heating and cooling, and critical equipment like water heaters. They can diagnose the current condition of the structure itself, and tell you how long finishes have been in the home. All components in the home have a "shelf-life." Understanding when they require replacement can help you make important budgeting decisions, and it wll determine what type of home insurance coverage or warranties you should consider.
7. Determine "Deal-Breakers" - De Vivo suggests that home inspections can help buyers identify how much additional money or effort they are willing and able to spend to take the home to a condition that is personally acceptable. If you are unwilling to repair issues like faulty gutters, cracked walls or ceilings, perhaps you are not ready to end your home buying search.
8. Learn to Protect Your Investment - The home inspector is a valuable educational resource. They can provide specific tips on how to maintain the home, and ultimately save you thousands of dollars in the long term.
9. Reveal the Big Picture - A good home inspector helps to understand the nuances of what may be the biggest purchase the buyer may ever make. People fall in love with a property based on the decor, color of the walls, the location of the home, or something else; they are completely blind to the issues that can turn a dream home into a nightmare.
10. Insurance - Some insurance companies will not insure a home if certain conditions are found, or without the presence of certifications. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to understand as many details as you can about the property you may soon call home. Home inspections reveal the inner workings of the property, allowing you to be informed of all the benefits and pitfalls the home has to offer.