When you are buying a new home, it is very important to have a home inspection and to understand what it says about the home. For most people, your home will be the most expensive purchase you will make. You want to know what you are getting into, and even new homes can have problems.
Finding a Home Inspector: Your realtor or agent should be able to refer a home inspector to you. A successful realtor will have used many home inspectors in the course of their work, and should have had enough experience to find several that you can that check out individually and compare. Some states have licensing and certification for home inspectors and you can find their websites online. There are also several professional organizations for home inspectors that let you search for inspectors in your area, including National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc., National Institute of Building Inspectors and American Society of Home Inspectors.
What Your Inspection Will Cover: Your home inspection will cover the building quality and condition of the interior, exterior, and garage. It may cover other buildings on the property, but please clarify this with your inspector prior to the inspection. Your inspection will cover heating and cooling, electrical and plumbing. It will cover major appliances if they are included. The inspection will give you a list of things that are health and safety violations, as well as things that will need immediate repair or have some sort of deficiency.
What Your Inspection Won’t Cover: There are many things your home inspection will not cover. Although the report may point out damage due to insects or rodents, you will most likely need a full inspection from an exterminator to tell you the extent of your pest problem. The same applies for mold and fungus, which may not be covered in your home inspection. If you have an older home you may want a separate inspection for lead and asbestos. You can find the EPA guide on asbestos in your home here. If the home has a pool, it may not be covered, but many pool building and pool repair and service businesses provide free inspections. Most inspection reports will not provide estimates for the cost to repair problems with the home. For estimates you will need to find a contractor or work with the seller to resolve any issues prior to the sale.
What You Can Do: You can take an active roll in your home inspection. Before the inspection, be sure to ask questions you might have or specific concerns. You may ask the inspector for a sample report so you can see the quality of their work. You should ask them to go over what they will do during the inspection, and exactly what will and will not be covered. You also want to make sure that you have in writing what will be done and the total cost prior to the inspection, so that there are no surprises.
If you can be there during the inspection, you should. That way you can ensure that it is thorough. A thorough home inspection should take 3-4 hours. If you are there you can see exactly where the problems are instead of just in the report after it is done. Also, make sure that photographs are taken of problem areas for the report. Once you get the report, you can ask any questions you have. If you don’t understand what something means, most good home inspectors will be happy to review the report with you.
Purchasing a home is a huge expense. You need to be very careful whenever you are spending large amounts of money. That is why it is very important to make sure you are getting a good home inspection and understand what is going on, both with the inspection itself and what it says about your home.
Did you get an inspection on your current home? Where you happy with your inspector? Let us know in the comments.