So, you’ve finally found the perfect place to call your new home — it comes with the right price and looks to be in great shape. Keep in mind, however, that sellers will always stage their properties to highlight the best features and hide away any visible flaws. So before you sign that contract or before you even make an offer, be sure to conduct an independent home inspection with a professional inspector. Here, we’ve included helpful information about home inspections, such as:
- Why it’s necessary to conduct an inspection
- What to look out for during an inspection
- What You Need to Look for in an Inspector
- Things you don’t need to worry about.
Why is it Necessary to Conduct an Inspection?
Arranging an inspection with a professional will greatly benefit you as they can help to uncover any hidden problems before the sale is made final. Unfortunately, if you choose to have an inspection done before the sale is made final, any issues will become your problem. As reported by the American Society of Home Inspectors (also known as ASHI), home sales go through an inspection more than 90% of the time.
This number, however, doesn’t make a distinction of whether the inspection was buyer-based, or seller-based, yet it indicates the importance of having an inspection during the buying process. Home inspectors also point out that homes aren’t always cared for by their homeowners, and some may even be slow to replace A/C filters, heating, leaky faucets, or may just ignore a clunky furnace all together.
Think about it; if homeowners themselves can ignore and neglect the property that they’re living in, just try to imagine what kind of conditions a foreclosed home can have. Mold can easily spring up if the home has been exposed to wet conditions, making the environment moist. If the home has been left like this for months or years without ventilation, mold will spread quickly.
Because inspections can have such a huge impact on the value of your prospect, you should make it a priority to base your decision on the report from your home inspector. When you write an offer for the home, make sure to include it as a condition of the purchase. In this way, if the inspection doesn’t see any problems, you can purchase with confidence. But if it comes back negative, you can make the seller fix the problems, reduce your offer, or cancel the agreement altogether.
What to Look Out for During an Inspection
As a buyer, you need to know what to expect from the inspection that will be performed. It’s also a way for you to find out what you’ll be getting in exchange for your money. While there’s no one way of doing a house inspection or a licensing method for inspectors, home inspections differ from one company to the next. In general, a report on the home inspection will contain a breakdown of the following:
- Cooling and heating systems
- Electrical system
Since home inspectors aren’t licensed in most states, they don’t usually include an analysis of problems that licensed professionals will give in general. Such advice will involve:
- Gasses and chemicals (like methane gas and asbestos)
It’s best to look into whether any of these problems exist in the home you’re interested in. Some inspectors may be willing to give out these details “off the record” or you can call a professional in that specific field to get a written analysis.
For instance, you may want to ask an inspector if there are termite problems in the area, they may say that there’s a big possibility but they might not put it in the report. In this case, it’s best to get a professional to make a complete inspection based on their skills.
What’s Covered in an Inspection?
Take note that inspections will generally cover moderate and serious issues only and will not go into details about the dents and scratches in your home. But if you’re looking for a more detailed report, you will need to request one from your inspector. Should you choose to do this, you may need to pay a higher fee.
Either way, it’s always a good idea to walk through the house with your inspector when performing the inspection. This not only helps you learn more about the process and the home, but they may also give you information that may not be included in the report.
To set your expectations, house inspections usually cost around $300 to $500, which depends on the size of the home, the type of house, its age, and the person giving the inspection.
What You Need to Look for in an Inspector
As mentioned above, most states don’t have a licensing or certification process for inspectors. If you live in one of these states, you can look for other organizations like ASHI that are nationally recognized which require and maintain a standard of competency and expertise from their staff. Just make sure that the inspector you work with is a licensed expert in home construction or is a member of a trusted organization.
Other Home Inspection Advice
You will want your home inspection done independently from the seller, so it’s best not to trust the seller’s report easily. And because your realtor has an interest in the sale of the house, you may not want to hire their realtor either. Again, you want an inspector that’s completely independent of those involved in the purchase of the house. And someone who is licensed or is part of a professional organization.
General inspectors aren’t licensed to inspect specific issues, so it is in your best interest to get a separate inspection done for pests, especially if the home is in a high-risk location. You should also check for potential problems such as earthquakes or floods, so be sure to get an inspection for those risks too.