If you are buying a home, getting an inspection is a must. Find out what to expect from your home inspection…
So you’ve finally found the right house…
Well, you believe it is perfect…
Suppose it isn’t perfect?
How do you discover if there are any problems with a house?
Get a Home Inspection
When your offer is accepted, the next step is usually to get a home inspection. Your real estate agent should make your offer contingent on an acceptable home inspection.
This contingency lets you negotiate for a change in the price, request the sellers make repairs, or maybe, in some circumstances, run away. Your REALTOR can advise you about how to handle any issues from the home inspection report.
Purchasing a house may be one of the most exhilarating and nerve-wracking times in your life. For some, it’s the biggest purchase you will ever make. You need to make certain you’re doing what’s right. Unless you have extensive experience, then you must get a home inspection.
The small price of a home inspection is nothing compared to what it may save you!
A professional home inspection could save you a lot of money in unexpected repairs. Or it could prevent you from unintentionally getting a money pit.
What Does a Home Inspector Do?
A home inspector is going to take 2 to 3 hours to do an in-depth walk-through of the property you’re thinking about buying. It’s a top-to-bottom analysis of the physical structure, along with its mechanical and electrical systems.
This includes the roof, ceilings, walls, floors, windows and doors. The home inspector will check that the appliances are working, They will examine the HVAC system. They will even check out the plumbing and electrical and look in the attic and the basement.
The inspector will be taking notes and pictures and, if you’re present, discuss what they see. Best of all, the home inspector will give you an unbiased opinion about the home’s condition. A home inspection is really a general checkup, not an in depth exam.
Home inspectors are great but they are not Superman! They can’t discover the undetectable or see what is inside the walls. Concealed pests, asbestos fibers, mold or other potentially dangerous things could go undetected. These issues will need specialized inspections such as a termite inspection.
The purpose of the home inspection is to reveal problems with the house. Inspectors won’t be able to say if you’re getting a great deal or give you their opinion about the price.
How to Choose a Home Inspector
Your real estate agent will have a list of inspectors they have dealt with before that they recommend. You’ll need to also find suggestions. Family, friends, and co-workers may have a few good suggestions.
Home inspectors aren’t federally regulated, and they’re not licensed in all states. However, you should find out if home inspectors are licensed in your state. If inspectors are licensed in your state, double check that they are currently licensed! Home inspectors ARE licensed in South Carolina and you can look up their status on the SC LLR website (under residential builders).
You should also look at the listings of professional associations, such as the National Society of Home Inspectors, the American Society of Home Inspectors and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. These organizations require members to pass an exam, follow a code of ethics and take continuing ed classes.
Ask for references. The inspector should be able to give you names and phone numbers of past clients.
Ask if they are insured. They should have Errors & Omission Insurance as well as Liability insurance. Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. Inspectors are human and if they make a mistake, you want to ensure your problems are taken care of!
Ask if it’s OK for you to be present along during the home inspection. This helps the inspector to point out any problems. I recommend that you attend the home inspection.
If you ask if you can attend the inspection and they say no, it could be a good reason to get a new inspector. This is a red flag. You’ll learn more about your new house than you would by reading a report. However, you need to give your inspector plenty of space to perform their job without a lot of extra interruptions.
Don’t make the mistake of going with the cheapest home inspection! The bigger the home, the more it costs. Small homes will cost less to inspect than a bigger home.
Remember to ask upfront what the cost of the home inspection will be. Some charge a flat rate, some charge by the size of the home, some charge based on how long it takes.
An inspection for an older home takes longer since it may have more stuff that needs looking at. Same with a larger home.
During the Home Inspection
Don’t be shocked to see the inspector going up on the roof, crawling around in the attic or in the crawl space. The inspector is trying to discover all the problems with the property.
A home inspection is a non-invasive procedure. This means there shouldn’t be any damage done to the property during the inspection. Unless there is written consent from the seller, everything must be exactly the same as it was before the inspection.
What Is In The Home Inspection Report?
Exactly what is included in your inspection report should be covered BEFORE you select a home inspector. Ask any potential inspector what information will be in their home inspection report.
Home inspections aren’t cheap so you want to be sure you’re getting what you pay for. I suggest that you ask for a sample inspection report. This way you can see exactly what they will be inspecting.
After the inspection, your inspector should give you a detailed report with any issues they discovered. It usually only takes about 24 to 48 hours to get the report. The report should also include pictures of any issues or problems.
A good home inspection report is pretty comprehensive. It will include checklists, summaries, pictures and detailed remarks about any issues. It should assess the remaining life of the mechanical systems and the roof. It should include suggested repairs and replacements, too.
After the Home Inspection
As the home buyer, you are the one who is paying for the inspection unless you’ve made other arrangements. Remember that you will owe the inspector for the inspection, even if you do not buy the home!
If the inspector finds anything during the home inspection, it means it is time to negotiate again! Any issues uncovered by the inspection mean you will need to negotiate for repairs, credits or adjustments in the price of the home. Or, in a worse case scenario, you may need to run away!
The Take Away:
They say ignorance is bliss…
But not when investing your hard-earned money in a home of your own. I cannot say it enough times or loud enough:
Always get a home inspection!
And now you know what to expect from your home inspection when you are buying a house!