Home inspection Detects Problems Before Purchase
Fireplace? Check. Wood floors? Check. Finished basement? Yep. You’ve been searching for a while, and now you think you’ve found your dream home.
But how can you be sure there aren’t hidden problems with the property that will require expensive repairs or upgrades after the keys have been handed over to you?
A a home inspection by a qualified inspector can reveal major issues with the property that you’ll want to know about before signing the contract.
Why is it important to have an inspection done before purchasing or selling a home?
The same reason you’d take a used car to a mechanic before buying it — to make sure you are getting a good deal. Buying a home is a huge investment. It makes sense to know as much as you can about what you are getting. Although most of us know how to live in a house, we aren’t experts on how the mechanical systems of a home work. That’s why you call in an expert.
Inspections by professionals may reveal issues that are hidden from “untrained eyes.” Pro-active sellers can improve marketing power with a pre-listing inspection. Most buyers want to know there are no major issues prior to closing.
What sort of things should be on the inspection checklist?
HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), roof, electrical, plumbing (and) foundation are fairly standard. Mold and radon inspections are becoming more common.
Any system or structure that the buyer has concerns about should be checked out prior to closing. You can get individual systems inspected — like the electrical system, the roof or the furnace — or you can get a whole house inspection where the inspector will go from the roof to the basement or crawlspace and look at everything in-between.
I always suggest a sewer camera inspection because … it can be costly and messy to find out after closing that there is a problem.
Who should conduct the inspection, and why?
Choose a reputable home inspector who is a member of a home inspection association that has standards and a code of ethics. You want an inspector who is thorough and trustworthy, especially in the event there are issues that trigger more negotiations.
Professionals versus “my cousin Eddy who has remodeled his own home” are preferred. Not to say that Cousin Eddy isn’t knowledgeable, but he may not be well-versed in all facets of uniform building codes.
Who pays for the inspection?
I suggest that sellers do a pre-listing inspection — usually a whole house and sewer. This way they can identify and repair any big issues before pricing and putting their home on the market. In this case, seller pays. Most Realtor association contract forms require the buyer to pay for the inspections the buyer wants, but the matter is subject to negotiation. When making an offer, buyers using the Sunflower Association of Realtors form will include in the contract what inspections the buyer wants, who will perform the inspection and estimate the anticipated cost.
What are some other things people should know about home inspections?
While most home inspectors are trained professionals, they are not perfect. Inspections are not invasive. For example, if access to a crawl space is blocked or furniture is placed over a hole in the floor, the inspectors are not responsible for moving these items. At the end of the day, most inspectors are reputable and bring value to the transaction process.
Inspections are not appraisals. Your lender will require an appraisal to get the value of the home. (An appraisal) will not identify defects like an inspection will. An inspection is not a guarantee, nor is it a warranty. It is a snapshot of the condition of the home at that time.
Inspections likely will disclose problems. No matter how new or well-maintained a home is, there will be issues. The random reversed electrical outlet or loose tile — and those are important to find — but the real purpose is to identify potentially costly repairs that the average person probably wouldn’t be aware of, so don’t get freaked out if there is a big list of little things. Concentrate on the big-ticket things.