What Should You Expect from a Home Inspection?
When you are purchasing a house, you want to be sure the home you are buying is worth the price you will be paying. If you don’t take care to ensure there are no potential issues with the home, you could end up buying nothing more than a money pit.
This is where a home inspection comes in. A home inspector can look through the property and identify any potential concerns or issues that may affect how much you are willing to pay for your new home, or even whether you should buy a new home at all. With this in mind, let’s dig deeper into what a home inspection is and what to expect.
What Is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is when a home inspector walks through a home you are considering buying to provide a visual assessment of the property. This assessment includes the physical structure of the house and any other structures on the property, as well as the home’s mechanical systems. This means that during the inspection, the home inspector will look at things such as the:
- Electrical system
- Air conditioning
- Major appliances
The walk-through of the home will include checking the basement, and sometimes the attic, as well as the outdoor property. Keep in mind that the home inspector will only tell you what issues they find with the home. They will not make a recommendation for or against buying a house.
How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?
Typically, a home inspection costs between $300 and $500. This means that you need to have these funds available to pay the home inspector immediately, so they can’t be tied up in financing the home.
And since the cost of a home inspection is so high, you want to be sure you are getting your money’s worth. That means choosing a credible home inspector and accompanying them during the inspection.
When Does a Home Inspection Take Place?
You definitely don’t want to do a home inspection on every property you’re interested in because they are expensive. For this reason, a home inspection is only done on a property once you have put in an offer, and it has been accepted by the seller.
Once your offer is accepted, it is important to schedule your home inspection as soon as possible and to allow for a week to 10 days to get the inspection done and get the results. This gives you time to renegotiate your offer with the seller if required or to pull out of the purchase if the inspection doesn’t meet with your approval.
How to Hire a Home Inspector
It is your responsibility as the buyer to hire the home inspector. You will want to hire an inspector even if the seller has already had an inspection done and is willing to share the inspection report with you.
When looking for a home inspector, keep in mind that they are not federally regulated and not all states require them to be licensed. For this reason, your best option is to get referrals from family and friends or check out professional associations, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors.
How Does a Home Inspection Work?
Once you have hired a home inspector, they will go through the property disclosure statement provided by the seller. This is a statement that is required by the state in which the seller lists all the issues with the property that they are aware of. This can include things such as:
- The presence of mold
- An infestation of pests
- A leaky roof
- Damage to the foundation
Each state will have strict and specific requirements of what is to be included in the disclosure statement.
The home inspection itself can take a few hours to complete. During the inspection, the home inspector will do three things:
- Identify any problems with the house or property that are visible to them
- Suggest potential fixes to these issues
- Prepare a report (including photos) that outlines the issues they have found
This report is gold when it comes to buying a home. You and your agent can take this report to the seller and request that they make repairs on the property before you buy or that they lower the selling price according to the severity of the issues.
Keep in mind that there are some things that a home inspector will not go to great lengths to evaluate, such as wells and septic systems, swimming pools, chimneys and fireplaces, and the state of the ground beneath the house. So, if there is a wood-burning fireplace in the house, they may check that the dampers open and close and that there are no obvious obstructions in the chimney, but they won’t do more than that.
Do You Need a Home Inspection? (Yes!)
A home inspection is important to protect the asset you are about to buy. You do not want to lose money having to fix things after the sale has gone through.
Of course, no sale or buying of a home is going to be perfect. There will be small issues that you may be more than happy to take on yourself. However, major issues with the structure and systems of the home should be addressed before the sale goes through so you have peace of mind.
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