A home is a big investment. It makes sense to verify what the state of the property is before you pay for it, which is where the home inspection comes in. Home inspections are one part of the home buying process that every buyer should learn more about. The more familiar you are with what home inspections entail and where they fit into buying a home, the better equipped you will be to ensure that you get what you need from the inspection process.
Home Inspections—What You Need to Know
1. Do I need a Home Inspection?
You may not have to get a Home Inspection, but you should.
Many people think that you always must get a home inspection before you can purchase a property, but that is not necessarily true. If you have the cash to purchase a home, there is no requirement for you to get an inspection. However, lenders may require you to get an inspection before they will approve a mortgage, so the decision may not be yours.
Even if you are not required to get an inspection, you probably should. A home inspection will tell you what is wrong with the home—and most homes have at least a few problems. Some problems are more expensive than others. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to buying a property because you could wind up with a home that is much more expensive to own than you had anticipated. The last thing you want is to purchase home and then discover that it has a bad roof, a bad foundation, or some other expensive issue that you are newly responsible for.
2. What will a Home Inspection report tell me?
Home Inspection reports should tell you if something is wrong with a property.
It can be somewhat surprising when you first start learning about homes and just how much can go wrong with them. The many different components and systems that make a home safe, comfortable and enjoyable to live in are not always obvious, which is why it takes training to completely inspect a home. All the different components to a home—plumbing, electrical, roof, etc.—can wear out and/or break over time and with use, or be installed incorrectly to begin with. You hire an inspector to go over the property with a fine-toothed comb to identify issues and bring them to your attention.
3. Which issues should I focus on in a Home Inspection report?
It is common for homes to have issues—but some issues are more problematic than others.
Since homes are supposed to last decades and see lots of wear and tear, it is common for them to have a few things wrong with them. There may a leak in the bathroom, or a dead outlet in the living room. You should expect some minor problems with any home that is not brand new. However, some problems are a much bigger deal than others. A dead outlet can be fixed quickly and cheaply. An electrical system that is not up to code though, will be expensive to replace. Ask your inspector to help you identify the big issues because those are the ones that you need to pay attention to.
4. What is the difference between a Home Inspection and a Home Appraisal?
Home Inspections are not the same as home appraisals.
It is easy to get the two confused, but home inspections and home appraisals are different things. A home inspection is conducted to determine if anything is wrong with the home. A home appraisal is conducted to determine the market value of the home. Most real estate sales involve an inspection and an appraisal. One is not a substitute for the other.
5. What should I ask a Home Inspector?
You should ask a Home Inspector questions—as many questions as you need to ask.
The home inspector should want to help you get a clear idea of what condition the home is in. They should also be aware that you are not a trained inspector and may need some help in understanding the inspection report. Feel free to ask the inspector as many questions as you need to ask. You can ask them to explain things you see in the report and you can ask them to tell you if a problem is major or minor. The inspector will be able to clarify if a problem is common in many homes or something more unusual. You can also ask for advice on whether you need to fix a problem as soon as possible or if you can wait to fix it.
6. How do I choose a good Home Inspector?
You can find a good Home Inspector with a little research.
It is important to pick a home inspector that you feel will do a good job. Tips for choosing a home inspector include:
- Ask for references
- Make sure that the inspector is bonded and insured
- Choose an inspection company that focuses on inspections—not one that offers repairs and/or renovations
- Request to accompany the inspector during the inspection so you can see things for yourself
- Ask for a sample inspection report so you can see what they look like
- Shop around—some companies will be more expensive than others
7. What should I do if a house fails a Home Inspection?
You can make requests of the seller for repairs based on the Home Inspection report.
You may get the inspection report and discover that there are issues that you are unhappy with. The next thing you must decide is if you want to request that the seller fix any of those issues. It can be challenging to know what things to ask for and what to not ask for.
Generally, it is best to keep your requests for repairs to more significant issues. For example, if a home has two leaky faucets, a loose handrail, and some major wiring issues, it would be better to focus on the wiring and leave the other minor problems for later.
Help for Buyers and Sellers
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