Did you know that 61% of homeowners took on home improvement projects recently? Unfortunately, repairs and renovations are a necessary part of owning a home and in some cases can add up to big bucks. So if you are considering investing in a new property it’s critical to get a thorough inspection done first to know what you are getting into.
A professional home inspector can help identify issues that you may have never found yourself. With that in mind, it’s important to conduct a thorough inspection before moving into your new home. Check out our quick home inspection checklist for buyers for more information.
Home Inspection Process
First things first: what is a home inspection? When you are buying a home, it’s important to do more than just a superficial walk-through of the property. Hire a professional inspector to evaluate the interior and exterior condition of the home as well as the home’s structure and systems, and identify any issues before you close on the house.
Why Get an Inspection?
One of the main reasons to get a home inspection is to protect your potential financial investment. If formidable issues turn up in the report that might bring down the property value, you can renegotiate with the sellers to get a credit at closing. And if the issues are too substantial and/or expensive, you can always walk away from the deal so long as you are still in the inspection period.
Finding the Right Inspector
Licensing requirements vary from state to state, so it’s important to know what yours requires before selecting an inspector. For example inspectors in Virginia must be licensed, have completed a course and a minimum amount of experience before getting their license.
As when choosing an inspector, don’t just rely on your broker’s suggestions. Ask for references from friends and family who have gone through the home inspection process recently. Read reviews online, and don’t hesitate to ask the potential inspector what professional inspection organizations they are affiliated with.
The average inspection cost is from $300-$600 depending on the size of the property and how extensive of an inspection is done. When discussing the price with your potential inspector, ask what it includes. Don’t be shy about asking to see an example of one of their inspection reports, too, so you can see how detailed they get.
Scheduling Your Inspection
Pay careful attention to the house inspection period outlined in your purchase contract. It will usually give a small window of time for you to have the inspection. When scheduling, take that into account along with the amount of time needed for the inspector to turn around and compile the report and send it back.
Home Inspection Checklist for Buyers
A home inspection covers many things, so check first with your inspector what areas are covered, and which aren’t. For example, some inspectors won’t look at flooring under the carpet, or parts of the roof that are under snow. Highlight any safety concerns or other areas that you suspect might be a problem in advance.
While inside the home, the inspector will check the insulation, windows, floors, attic, appliances, doors, and ventilation. They may also do a mold inspection and look for signs of pests, leakage, or odors. They may also test the function of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Electrical, Plumbing, and HVAC Systems
The electrical system will be tested, from the outlets to the fuse boxes. The same goes for the plumbing fixtures, water heater, and water pump. Depending on how extensive your HVAC system is, all heating and cooling areas will likewise be inspected.
Once they move to the outside of the home, one of the key areas that should be inspected is the foundation. It will be checked for visible cracks, damage, or sagging. This includes the area around the foundation and chimneys, the roof, siding, and the septic system (if the property has one).
Things Not Included in a Home Inspection
Some items that might not make the list of must-haves for inspection could be the landscaping, swimming pool, sprinkler system, and outdoor equipment. Things like a sewer line, internet, and other services may also not be included. If you have any doubts, discuss them with your inspector before the inspection, instead of after.
How Long Does An Inspection Take?
Now that you’ve gotten the lowdown of what goes into an inspection, you can understand how it will take a few hours. It’s recommended that potential buyers be onsite during the inspection to take notes and see the home’s condition as the inspector goes through it. While it’s never a good idea to get in the inspector’s way, you can ask questions.
Understanding the Inspection Report
If you’ve never seen a home inspection report, it’s important to know that it could be 100 pages long or more. A good inspection report should also include photographs. You should establish in advance with your inspector whether they will provide a simple checklist on the report, or go into more detail.
Ready To Get Your Home Inspected?
Now that you’ve gone through the home inspection checklist for buyers, you can book your inspector with confidence. A good inspection can potentially save you from home repair surprises. So make sure you do your research and find an inspector that is not only licensed but with positive reviews and ample experience.
Want to learn more useful real estate-related tips? Check out the rest of this blog! And you can contact an expert here if you have questions and would like to schedule an appointment.