Buying a house is one of the most important purchases someone will make in their lifetime. Home inspections are designed to help buyers know what they're getting into before signing on the dotted line, but there's a lot that can be missed with just one inspection. In this article, we'll go over some home inspection tips that buyers should know before going through an inspection so they know exactly what to look for and can get more money back when negotiating with sellers.
What To Know Before Scheduling Your Inspection
1. What Is A Home Inspection?
Home inspections are an examination of the physical structure and systems in a house. Inspectors check for signs of damage, leaks, issues with plumbing or electrical wiring, etc., that may not be visible to buyers during their initial walk-through. They can also include pest control (termites), radon levels, how well things like insulation work; anything that would affect the overall quality of life within a home is included in these reports. Any good home inspection company will be more than happy to provide you with a sample report prior to having your house inspected.
When should you have one? Anyone buying a new property will benefit from having it inspected before moving forward on purchasing it. It’s important to do this as soon as possible so any problems with the house don't go under the radar by being drowned out among everything else happening at once.
2. Am I Required To Have A Home Inspection?
No, they are not legally required, but there is a lot of documentation that goes into buying and selling real estate. Home inspection reports can be used to help determine what kinds of repairs may need to happen before closing or if the house has been kept up well over time. They're also helpful tools for negotiations in a home buying process - buyers can show sellers their inspection report as proof they want things done right so they don't have problems in the future with anything wrong with the property. Sellers might ask how much more money you would like them to put towards repairs since it will cost less than making an entirely new house sale agreement and starting from scratch all over again.
3. How Can I find An Inspector?
When hiring an inspector, it's important to pay attention to who has the most experience and is most familiar with your area. Inspectors typically work on their own or in groups of two or three people, so finding someone you trust will be very beneficial for your peace of mind during this process. Often times you can just ask your real estate agent for a referral or a friend in the area who had a great experience.
It might also help to know if they are certified by any organizations like North American Association Of Home Inspectors. You can also look them up on the Better Business Bureau website to see if they have any complaints filed against them. Home inspection service providers are typically listed in your local phone book or online, so it shouldn't be too hard of a process to find one you like and feel comfortable with.
Here are some things we recommend you ask your home inspector;
How long have you been in business?
Are there specific types of issues you always look out for when doing an inspection? (mold, asbestos exposure, etc.)
What is the most common problem or concern found during your inspections?
How often do they happen within homes like this one that is sold on the market today?
A Home inspector should be able to answer all kinds of questions about what their reports include and how frequently different things tend to show up. They definitely know more than anyone else will about these topics so it's important to get any information necessary before moving forward with anything!
4. What does a home inspection include?
A home inspection includes a general overview of the entire building or property being inspected, including a detailed report that's written by the home inspector. The inspection process is about an hour or two long at most and can be done on any day, though it usually happens during weekdays only due to private schedules. Inspectors do not paint over cracks in walls or clean up moldy surfaces – they simply write a report based on what they see during the process. Sometimes, if a home inspector detects something during their initial visual inspection, they'll go into a deeper analysis of their findings to be sure you're getting as much information as possible about the issue.
A professional home inspector will generally check for these things when doing a general home inspection on a property:
Roofing deterioration due to age/lack of maintenance (holes, leaks)
Cracks in walls resulting from either water damage or settling (this can be a sign of larger issues underneath the surface, like foundation problems).
The integrity of the house's heating and cooling systems to include the air conditioner, water heater, etc.
The electrical panel and any circuit breakers throughout the home
Leaks near the roof and other parts of the house due to structural damage
Bugs in the wall by plumbing access points: this is usually an indicator that there could be bigger termite/wood-eating insect problems within the home
Peeling paint, the septic system, broken appliances
Additional types of inspections may include checking for sprinkler system issues, carpenter ants, radon, and more.
Inspectors will include these kinds of things in their reports so buyers know what they're getting into before buying a property.
5. What happens during an official home inspection?
Home inspectors will generally take a look around the property that's being inspected to determine what kinds of things might need repairs or come up as issues later on down the road.
Homebuyers should definitely be aware of this since it has such an impact on how much they're going to pay for any house/property, along with their own safety and health! Inspections are actually really standard types of processes - nothing too crazy happens during them at all so homebuyers can rest easy knowing it's just a normal part of doing business in today's market!
Make sure that you are there on inspection day to ask any questions you may have or even ask for further investigation into things that may be bothering you during the inspection. If there are any maintenance issues or pre-inspection issues you saw, make sure you bring that up to the inspector during your inspection so they can double-check and ensure you are getting the home for a purchase price that makes sense.
6. How much does a home inspection cost?
Inspections cost about $400 on average - it's a pretty common standard for this type of service nowadays. Inspectors have to pay for their own businesses so they can't give out any kind of special prices or deals, especially since there are no contracts being made between them and anyone else involved in the transaction! Homebuyers should definitely look into how much everything costs before looking at homes just so they know what exactly to expect when moving forward with anything.
Home Inspection Tips For Home Buyers
1. Have Your Own Checklist
It's crucial to have your own home inspection checklist when visiting your inspector. With his, you can choose specific issues to address and fix. Here is a home inspection checklist for buyers:
a. Home Inspection Tips for Safety
Check the ages of all appliances, wiring, and pipes. If they are older than 40 years, it's time to replace them or have an electrician assess their condition. Proximity to water sources is also important to check for any rusting in sinks/showerheads etc.
If there are any issues with walls (holes, cracks) then you'll want to get these fixed before anything else happens! Inspectors won't always mention everything about home safety unless it seems like something worth knowing right away.
Having updated locks on doors/windows will help keep you safe from intruders while inside the house at night especially since most of these break-ins happen this way! Homebuyers should definitely check out the locks on all doors and windows as a step to ensuring their safety at night.
b. Home Inspection Tips for Structure
Homebuyers should check for any cracks in walls or ceilings, water stains on the ceiling, and floors curling up.
Home inspections come with a report of what's wrong but only if you ask your inspector about it! Keep this list close to you when visiting one so that nothing slips by without being noted properly.
Inspectors will usually use infrared scanners to aid them during an inspection. This is very useful because they can see behind walls which makes identifying issues much easier. You should consider purchasing your own infrared scanner as well.
c. Home Inspection Tips for Functionality
Inspectors will look at what appliances are included in the sale, how old they are, and whether or not anything needs to be repaired before moving forward.
The checklist for buyers should include checking things like all faucets (toilets/sinks), doors (sliding doors especially), and windows to make sure nothing has problems opening/closing, etc.
d. Home Inspection Tips for the Electrical System
Check the electrical system for wiring problems, faulty electric outlets, light switches, and other serious electrical issues. Homebuyers need to know that they can ask their home inspector about anything specific related to the house! All of this information is available in his report but it never hurts to request more documentation if something isn't quite right. For example, just because your electrician says everything checks out doesn't mean you should believe him - Check with your home inspector as well! The last thing any buyer wants is to find themselves living in a dangerous property.
2. Know When To Ask For Repairs, Take Credit, Or Leave A Message.
Home inspection service providers will generally take down any issues they find during their inspections and include them in the report so it's up to buyers whether or not they would like repairs made. Keep in mind that not asking for something as part of your home inspection contingency can result in you being responsible for any major repairs, major structural issues, foundation cracks, or any other safety problems that may come up due to issues.
Inspectors can't make anyone do anything at all - everything is written within their reports so it's really just a matter of what someone decides based on that information.
If there are big problems with things like water damage, mold exposure, structural damages, etc., then homebuyers might want to seriously consider having those fixed right away before moving into something that could potentially cost more money than originally planned for!
3. Make The Inspection Official By Writing It In As A Contract Contingency.
Making an inspection official via a contract is important for both parties involved in the transaction. Homebuyers should absolutely be willing to write it into their contracts so that everyone is on the same page about getting the home inspected- whether or not they decide to have repairs done after everything has been inspected.
In particular, the inspection contingency clause allows a buyer to specify that they have a specific period of time (typically 10-14 days) to inspect the property after both parties sign the purchase offer. If the buyer and seller cannot reach an agreement on this, then the buyer can back out of the transaction and get their earnest money refunded.
Inspectors should also include this information within any reports sent out since buyers will want to know what kind of condition things are currently in before even thinking about buying anything!
4. Temper Your Expectations For A Perfect Inspection.
Inspections are usually pretty basic things - not everything will show up as an issue within the report. Inspectors aren't miracle workers and they can only do so much during each inspection. Sometimes, homebuyers might feel like there's more that could be checked based on what kind of issues their family members had to deal with in the past but this isn't always something that shows up before closing! inspectors follow a specific set of rules when inspecting homes which is why it's best just to let them handle everything without too many opinions getting into involved until after all reports have been turned in.
5. Use the Provided Home Inspection Report to It's Fullest Potential
Using a home inspection report is the best thing that homebuyers can do when it comes to making any kind of big decision about buying something. Inspectors are the most reliable sources for information within these reports so they should definitely be used as a resource whenever possible! Homebuyers will want to ask their agents how often this happens, what kinds of things tend to show up during inspections, and how much everything costs them in general before looking into anything else!
Having repairs made after an inspection report has been written is important but not necessarily mandatory. Homebuyers have enough on their plates just by wanting to buy anything at all - having someone fix problems right away might feel like more than anyone could handle without thinking twice.
6. Be Prepared To Attend The Inspection And Ask Lots Of Questions.
Ensure you attend the inspection. It's not always possible to attend, but you can ask your agent about this beforehand and see what the best option is for everyone involved depending on where the home is located. Inspectors will also talk with buyers about their questions or concerns before writing up a report so it works out well either way!
7. Request Documentation to Prove Completed Repairs.
Requesting documentation to prove completed repairs is going to be very important for homebuyers in the long run. Inspectors should always make sure that they have a list of everything repaired during an inspection if buyers ask for one - this can help them later on down the road when trying to sell their property!
When buying a home, it's important to look past the floor plan and features. It’s also crucial that you consider what may be lurking behind the walls of a house. Remember, there is no such thing as too much information when buying a new house; this is why we recommend getting an inspection done before making any final decisions on a property.
A professional inspector can tell you if there are structural issues like mold, pests like termites, or even lead paint in the home – not something anyone wants to discover after they've already bought their dream home!
So, next time you're in the market for a home inspection, give us a call at 410-693-5539. We'll be more than happy to answer any questions and help make your buying experience as smooth as possible.