Home » Buy A Home » The Home Buying Process » Home Inspections
As soon as you have an accepted offer its time to get your home inspection scheduled. Depending on the time of the year it may be a week or more before they can schedule your inspection so it's important to make sure that you get this done right away so you do not miss the time frame in your contract.
Your agent has probably already talked to you about the importance of having a home inspection done. Even though it may look like the perfect home a good home inspector may uncover defects that you would not have noticed. They will also be able to pint out the repairs that may be required for your purchase to be completed.
In your purchase contract you will have a window of time to have a professional home inspection performed and have any requested/required repairs submitted to the sellers. Your real estate agent will tell you that it is a good idea to have an inspection done on any home purchase and has probably already stressed this importance to you. Spending a little money now can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repairs.
What does a home inspection cost and do I really need one?
Home inspections like septic inspections will vary in cost depending on several factors including the size of the house, and what you are having done (water, radon, outbuildings etc). A typical home inspection can run in the range of $300-$700 or more if you are having radon testing water quality outbuildings and more. Its best to contact the home inspector and ask what services they offer and what the costs of each are, as not all inspectors offer the services you want.
Inspection will take on average 3-5 hours and will go over all over the homes systems (except the septic) and ensure they are in working order. Home inspections are a visual inspection and they won't be opening up walls or taking things apart, but they will be able to tell you if there are areas of concern.
If the inspector finds that you are in need of a new roof or that the electrical outlets are not grounded or something similar, you can go back to the seller and request that repairs be made or potentially that a credit be given to you in lieu of repairs to fix the issues. The sellers can always say no, but you would have the opportunity to walk away at that point, typically with the earnest money returned to you.
A home inspection is your assurance that the house is in working order and there are no major defects that were not disclosed or were not know to the sellers, that will pose a safty or finacial risk to you when you purchase the home.
What do they inspect?
A typical home inspection is going to go over the major systems of the home, with a visual inspection. Ensuring that everything is in working order and they way it should be. Your Home inspector will look at all the
- decks and porches
- Heating and cooling systems
- Electrical system
They will also check appliances and other areas of the home. You can expect them to look for signs of insect and pest infestations, mold and mildew, water damage, and even things like asbestos in the home.
Most Home Inspectors will also offer water and radon testing as well as inspection services for any outbuildings like barns and garages as well. These things typically are an extra cost but my bring you piece of mind to know they are all satisfactory as well.
How to Choose A Home Inspector
Just like one you hire it is important to know that you can trust the work they are going to do for you. You can ask for referrals from family and friends that have recently bought a home, check the BBB and local chamber of commerce, or websites that vet businesses. Another great source of referrals is your real estate agent. Your agent should be able to provide you with a list of names of inspectors that have worked with their clients in the past.
When you get the names of a couple inspector give them a call to do a quick interview, ask what organizations they belong to, and what experience and training they have. Ask them if they offer any kind of guarantee for items they may miss. It's important that you are able to attend the inspection so they show you things that they find.
What Is An Inspection Report?
Your home inspector will write up a report about what they find in the home. Typically the items will be listed in different sections so that they are more easily understood. They may state something needs to be repaired or replaced or even that you should keep an eye on a particular item for the future.
A thorough inspection will produce quite a lengthy report and it may be disconcerting, but don't worry. You have to keep in mind that this report isn't intended to scare you or cause you to worry. It is just a list of everything concerning the house to allow you to make an informed decision about your purchase.
Typically the older the house is, the longer the report will be. This all depends on the amount of upkeep and maintenance the current and previous owners have done to the property.
It is important to be at the home inspection if at all possible so that the inspector can help you understand the things he finds and if they are a "safety issue or immediate repair needed" item or something that you should just keep an eye on down the road.
It is important to discuss the home inspection report with your agent, and how you should proceed if there any major concerns discovered during the inspection. If items need to be addressed, you have options that your agent will discuss with you.