If you're not familiar with home inspections, then you might have a lot of questions about what gets inspected, how thorough the inspectors are, why you even need one, and what you can expect if you're walking with an inspector through the house you're hoping to buy.
There's a lot to know about home inspection, and your questions deserve answers. Here they are!
What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is an event that is basically exactly what the name implies: A home inspector walks through the home, looking at specific elements and features of the house, and then provides a report detailing the condition of the home from the top to the bottom.
Why would I want a home inspection?
An inspection is a good idea anytime you want a full rundown on any issues or problems with your house. If you're already living there, it's a lot less necessary than if you're buying the home -- when you will most definitely want an inspector to check for any potential red flags. They'll be your problem after closing, so home inspections are most common after an offer is made on a house but before the closing finalizes the deal.
What does the home inspector look at?
There are six essential parts of an inspection that you can expect every inspector to hit. They are the roof and attic, the basement and foundation, the plumbing, the electric, the heating or air conditioning systems, the interior of the house, and the exterior of the house.
Depending on where you live and what common problems tend to manifest in the homes, you might also want to think about hiring a pest inspector, a radon inspector and maybe even a sewer line inspector.
How much does it cost?
The price of the home inspection is going to depend on the size of the house. You can typically expect to spend around $350-$500 on a home inspection, but condominiums or much smaller properties (less than 1,000 square feet) might cost only $350, whereas larger homes (more than 2,000 square feet) cost upwards of $500 to inspect.
Do you need an inspector for a new house?
It's always a good idea to get a home inspection -- even in a brand-new house. You don't want to find out there's a problem after you move in, and an inspection is the best way to figure that out. So follow the "trust, but verify" process with your builder: Trust that they did their very best to get your home in the best condition possible ... then verify that they did just that with an official inspection.
Who licenses inspectors?
Home inspectors are licensed by each state, and there are slight differences in how they are certified and how they maintain their license from state to state.
Should you attend the inspection?
It'sa smart idea for the buyer to attend the inspection in case they have questions for the inspector or want to follow up on any notes the inspector makes. Many inspectors today use new technologies that allow them to include photos of any issues or potential problems, but there's nothing like being there in person to better understand exactly what's going on.
What happens if a problem is uncovered?
First of all, there are always problems uncovered. No home is perfect. But there are options. Buyers might be able to ask for some money to be knocked off the final sales priceor a seller credit to fix some things, or sellers might decide to go ahead and fix some things before closing, or some combination of the two. If everyone can come to an agreement that suits everybody, the sale moves forward. this part always takes some compromising, and as long as everyone is reasonable, we can usually find a way forward.
Can you get out of a contract if a major problem is revealed?
Most contracts to buy a home have an inspection contingency. The inspection contingency stipulates that the buyer can bow out of the contract if there's a big problem that cannot be worked out between buyer and seller. Talk to your real estate agent to be sure you understand these rights and to be sure that you are getting all of the proper inspections typical in your area and for the type of property you are buying.