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One of the best things you can do for yourselves when buying a home is getting a top-notch home inspector.
While a great real estate agent can help you find a beautiful home, a great inspector can give you some peace of mind with making sure the house is ready to be a home for you and your family.
Why You Want a Home Inspection
Lenders have appraisals done on homes for the benefit of the seller, to help make sure that the house in sell-able condition.
They will go ahead and estimate the market value of a house based on the comparable sales in the neighborhood and the house's condition.
Home inspections are to protect the buyers and with this probably being the biggest purchase in your life, you want to make sure you're getting a good deal.
Few things can drain a wallet faster than extensive (and expensive) home repairs.
A well-trained home inspector will evaluate the house in more detail, looking at the structure and mechanical systems and identifying anything that needs to be repaired or replaced.
What to Expect with a Home Inspection
If you're a first time home buyer, you may be wondering how exactly does a home inspection work.
While it can vary somewhat depending on the condition of the house, there are some general guidelines that have to be followed by licensed inspectors.
Inspections can take a few hours as the inspector is looking over the house from top to bottom and may need to dig in deeper if they see something that could be a problem.
Here are just some of the items that your home inspector will be reviewing:
- Exterior: The house's windows, siding, gutters, decks, and walkways will be looked over.
- Roof: The inspecting will be keeping a close eye on the materials, chimney (if applicable), and drainage system.
- Structural: Walls, floors, and foundations are checked for damage
- Heating and Air-Conditioning Systems: The home's furnace, duct-work, and central air are carefully investigated.
- Plumbing: Your inspector will make sure the toilet, sinks, and faucets are functioning properly.
- Electrical: The house's wiring, central panel, and main panel will be reviewed to make sure they are safe.
Please keep in mind that cosmetic work doesn't fall under the home inspection; those are things that can be handled by most homeowners and are relatively cheap to fix. The home inspector's focus is on the function of your potential home.
Try to be present for the home inspection it's opportunity.
Besides gaining a better understanding of the home from a professional (which you will certainly need if you intend on buying the place), you can also ask questions and have him or explain to you which problems are major and which ones are not.
Some uninformed buyers make the mistake of complaining over some small matter and completely miss a bigger problem because they couldn't gauge a repair's importance properly.
Soon after the physical inspection, you and your agent should receive a written summary and report from the home inspector.
You can use that information in your negotiations, either having the seller fix the items before you buy or having them lower the price accordingly.
How to Find a Home Inspector
Now that you understand how valuable having a home inspection is when it comes to buying a house, you may be curious about finding the right one for you.
Two of the biggest organizations for home inspectors that you'd want to start looking at are the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI).
- Ask for references. Ask your friends, family, or co-workers if they recommend anyone local. If they don't have have a suggestion, make sure you ask the inspector for references from recent clients.
- Don't go solely on price. I completely understand not wanting to overpay, but do not choose your inspector simply based on the price they quote. You're about to make a huge purchase so consider it a wise investment to know exactly what you are getting yourself into.
- Make sure they are properly insured. Just as licensing is important, you want to double check that your home inspector has insurance.
Thoughts on Home Inspections
If you're in the market to buy, I hope these tips help you find a home that fits your needs.
For those who have already gone through the process, what tips do you have on finding a well-qualified home inspector?