Your ideal home is the place you will likely spend many years — perhaps it is even the place you’ll start a family.
Home inspections are an essential part of the home buying process, especially since lenders often require a copy of home inspection documents before loans can be approved. Despite their upfront cost, home inspections should be viewed and treated as an investment to help save you thousands of dollars down the road.
Home inspections are the primary guard preventing buyers from committing to a house that might have unseen structural flaws, and, if done properly, may even lead to a lower negotiated price from the seller.
Assuming you have already hired a reputable home inspector, here are a few additional helpful tips to ensure you get the most out of your home inspection and make a sound investment in your new home.
Arrange time in your schedule so you are able to attend the home inspection yourself. Home inspections on average take two to three hours to complete -so consider your afternoon or morning booked.
The inspections typically cover the following areas of the home: the structural features, plumbing systems, heating, cooling and ventilation systems, major appliances, the roof, attic and exterior, and electrical wiring.
Take a quick walk through your home prior to the home inspection and note any problems you can see with your own eyes, such as a bowing ceiling, cracked walls, or any signs of pests and rodents.
Remember that a home inspection, unfortunately, does not cover every aspect of the home; if you notice any presence of pests, asbestos, radon gas, lead paint, and toxic mold exist, you should immediately call the specialists in these areas to supplement your home inspection.
Take a notepad with you during the home inspection in order to write down questions that you’ll want answered later. Double check that the inspector is covering all areas of your home, and that they are made aware of any additional problems you noticed in your own previous run-through of the home.
You will get more out of the inspection if you are noting issues in the house as the inspector points them out. That way, the home inspector can explain the importance of each defect, answer any questions you may have about the future consequences of any damage, and also point out maintenance guidelines that will prepare you for future home improvement projects.
As the home inspector points out issues with the home, ask to be shown exactly where the problem area is, so you can both get a look for yourself as well as relay the issue to the seller. Ask the inspector how essential systems in your home work, and wherever a major issue is discovered, inquire about whom you should call for repairs as well as the estimated cost of repairs.
Every question you ask will provide you further clarification regarding the true price of investing in the home and ultimately whether or not it’s worth the purchase. Remember, there is no such thing as a silly question during a home inspection -simply reading a finished home inspection report cannot and will not answer every important question you have about cost and repairs.
You should receive a written report of your home inspection a few days after it takes place detailing any potential problems the inspector found with suggestions on how to fix them, sometimes with an estimate of the repair costs.
If the report shows significant issues, for example severe structural issues or faulty plumbing, consult with other home repair professionals for a detailed quote. If the cost of repairs is steep, you can either negotiate with the seller on the purchase price, ask that they do the repairs themselves, or establish a repair escrow to fix the damage in the future.
If the report shows that the home is in good condition, you can more confidently purchase your home while knowing that you’ve made a sound investment in a property that won’t fail you during the coming years.
Home inspections are a crucial and invaluable piece of the home-buying process. You owe it to yourself to get the most from your home inspection — so be present, ask questions, and prepare for unseen defects.