Whether you just signed the dotted line and have an agreement on purchasing a new home or you’re just entering the market, being knowledgeable about home inspections is a must. It is easy in a hot market to just forgo these inspections, but this can be a costly mistake. Let’s dive into this beginner’s guide to home inspections! These are some of the things you need to know about a home inspection and why it’s such an important step in the home buying process.
Why Should I Get a Home Inspection?
While you do have the option to wave your right to a home inspection, we typically would not recommend that. There are a lot of potential issues that can come up with a home and a good home inspection will make sure you are safe. The reasons you should choose a home inspection includes:
- It is hard to find all problems in the home with a quick walk-through.
- It can save money. If something is broken, you can have the seller fix it instead of you. Once you move in, it is your responsibility.
- It gives you room to negotiate. If there are major repairs, you may be able to negotiate the price of the home to get a better deal.
A home inspection is one of the best ways to protect yourself to make sure you are safe and don’t end up with any costly issues before you move in.
When Are Home Inspections Done?
A home inspection will be done during the home buying process. It usually happens within the first week after an offer is accepted and based on the availability of your chosen home inspector. The earlier the home inspection is done, the more time the sellers have to fix any potential problems, so it is in the interest of both parties to find a certified home inspector that can provide a quick turnaround time on inspection report delivery.
What Do Certified Building Inspectors Do?
A certified home inspector, also known as a building inspector, is responsible for evaluating the interior and exterior of your home with the goal of looking for any major issues in the home. A trusted home inspector will thoroughly inspect the entire property, checking things like:
- Grading near the foundation and any other foundational issues
- Issues with outside railings and decks
- Exterior of the home or building to find signs of weather or insect damage
- Walk the roof and visually inspect roof components for condition and wear
- Chimneys and flues
- Under the stairs and in closets, checking for mold or any potential cracks
- Insulation in crawl spaces and the attic
- Cooling and heating systems
- Water issues in the foundation and basement
- Potential defects in the ceilings, walls, and floors
- Toilets, faucets and water pressure
- Electrical outlets and breaker panel
The older the home, the more likely the home inspector will find something that needs to be fixed.
This does not mean the seller did a bad job taking care of the home. Homes often need little things fixed over time and homeowners can easily miss them. This is why the home inspection is done.
What Do Home Inspections Cost?
The cost of a home inspection will vary depending on the size, location and age of the home, and the actual services provided. On average, a typical home inspection will cost start around $400 and can be more for additional services like termite inspections, water tests, and radon tests. For the amount of peace of mind and protection it provides, a proper home inspection is always worth the cost.
What Types of Things Should I Test for During a Home Inspection?
Outside of buying or selling a home, regular home inspections are a smart way to protect your investment. Aside from the structural items listed above, home inspectors can often test the following:
- Radon testing in the home
- Water testing to make sure the water in the home is safe
- Termite inspection
- Mold Testing
When you buy a car, you get it inspected annually and provide maintenance to protect it’s condition. Why wouldn’t you do the same for your home – a much more valuable asset?. Maintaining your home can significantly increase the resale value of your property.
What Do I Do If Something is Wrong with the Home?
Every home inspection comes with a complete home inspection report which provides thorough results of the inspection.
When you get a home inspection done, be prepared for something to show up in the home inspection report. Even a brand new home can have issues missed by the builder.
When reviewing the report, keep in mind that, depending on the size and age of the property, the issues found in the report may not be significant. For example, fixing a door that may not lock right or addressing peeling paint shouldn’t be grounds for backing out of a home purchase.
If the report shows major issues with the home, though, you can work with your real estate agent to renegotiate the contract. Often this involves the sellers addressing and fixing the issues. However, if they refuse or if the problem is too big to overlook, you can always walk away from the contract.
Buying a home is a huge investment for most.
It’s best to not only find a trusted and honest certified ASHI home inspector to conduct your inspection, but to fully trust their results. In some ways, a home inspector is almost like a financial advisor. Buying a home usually costs hundreds of thousands of dollars (or even millions of dollars). Having a proper home inspection done can potentially save you from investing in a “lemon” property that’s filled with hidden long term repair and maintenance costs.
You can read more about the ASHI certified home inspector Standards of Practice here and understand why it’s important to hire a “home inspector near me” that is transparent, trust-worthy and efficient.