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The time has come for you to get a home inspection on your prospective purchase. This is a crucial part of the home buying process and must be treated with the utmost care. First and foremost, it is critically important to find a good house inspector. You should also know what a house inspector does and doesn’t do during the inspection, as well as what a good report looks like. Understanding the essentials will help you make an informed opinion and arm you with the facts to either continue to pursue the prospective home or to move on from it.
Finding a good home inspector is vital. There are several ways to go about finding the right home inspector for you. The easiest way is through a referral. Ask friends and family members that have been through the process successfully. You can also ask your real estate agent or your Lyons Mortgage Loan Officer (you can find them HERE). Your state housing authority should also have a list of certified inspectors that serve your area, as well as databases like the National Association of Home Inspectors, the American Society of Home Inspectors and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.
Once you have your list of potential inspectors, make sure you sit with each one and assess each professional to ensure they are the right match for you. For instance, if your future house is a “fixer-upper”, you’ll want to ask the inspector about his work regarding restorations of older structures. You’ll also want to ask him the more common questions, such as cost, what the inspection entails, and how long it will take to get back the inspection report. You should also ask for a sample of one of their previous reports. Inspection reports are costly, so you’ll want to make sure that your inspector is doing a thorough, detailed review.
So, you’ve picked your inspector, and have scheduled your inspection to be done shortly thereafter. The purpose of the inspection is to uncover issues with the home. Your inspector won’t give an opinion on if you are getting a good deal on the home. What exactly does the inspection entail? Your inspector will spend several hours doing a comprehensive walkthrough of your prospective purchase, taking pictures and notes; a top-to-bottom assessment of the physical structure, including roofs, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, and doors. Further, your inspector will look at the mechanical and electrical appliances, including heating and air conditioning, making sure everything is functional. The inspector will check the plumbing, the attic, and the basement. Upon completion of the walkthrough, your inspector will give you their objective opinion on the general shape of the house, with a report to follow.
A home inspector will not be able to detect problems that cannot be seen to the naked eye. Pests, asbestos, mold, and other potentially hazardous substances might go unnoticed. These types of issues require specific assessments from structural engineers. Furthermore, depending on the experience of your inspector, child hazards may go unnoticed. Do not expect your home inspector to know whether your home is compliant with the local building code, as he or she may not have much experience serving your particular area.
A good home inspection report is all-encompassing, containing checklists, summaries, photographs, and notes. It will approximate how much useful time the major systems and equipment have left. You will learn how much time the roof, structure, paint, and finishes have left. You will also get recommendations for whatever repairs and replacements the inspector deems necessary.
It is important to note that the home inspection is not a pass or fail exam. However, you’ll learn so much about your potential house that you’ll either have the ultimate confidence to go forward with the purchase or decide the home is not for you.
Written by Andrew Sophocleous