Before you buy a home, consider hiring a home inspector. The home inspection, while not required by most mortgage companies, can help you avoid investing in a home with many issues. Consider it an important tool to avoid buying a money pit.
What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is a thorough walk-through and evaluation of the house. A home inspector looks at the home's structure and all systems. Inspectors don't evaluate a home's aesthetic appeal or value- that's the appraiser's job.
Inspectors look for current and potential issues based on the home's condition during inspection. The goal is to inform homebuyers of the property's true condition to help them make informed decisions before buying a home.
What to Expect
You can hire an inspector after the seller accepts your bid. If you have an inspection contingency in your contract, you can attempt to negotiate repairs, ask for a credit, or even back out of the sale if the inspection shows that the home has major issues.
As a buyer, consider hiring your own home inspector even if the seller offers the report completed by their inspector.
The inspection usually costs anywhere from $300 to $500 depending on your location and home size. Typically, the buyer will cover this cost. The inspector will make an appointment with the seller to walk through the home. Here's what happens:
Evaluate the Home's Structure
Inspectors look at the home's entire structure from the roof to the interior walls. They often look for visible insulation in the attic, issues with the roof, leaks in the walls, cracks in the ceiling, and issues with the foundation. The inspector will usually check the windows and doors, looking for leaks or locks that don't latch.
Evaluate the Home's Systems
The inspector will also look at all systems, including:
This is a crucial part of the inspection. The inspector will look for immediate problems and any wear or tear or impending issues that could become an expensive problem shortly.
Can Sellers Hire an Inspector?
It's a good idea for sellers to hire an inspector too, before listing the home. An inspector can help you determine what the home needs before you list it. Minor issues typically aren't a big deal and won't stop a sale, but major issues might.
Knowing what your home needs upfront can help you decide if you should fix the issue or prepare to give buyers a credit for the repairs/replacement.
A home inspection is one of the best investments both buyers and sellers can make on a property. It provides reassurance that a home is safe to sell and/or buy. Knowing what's wrong with the home now, along with what potential issues may occur, helps everyone make informed decisions.
A home inspection only takes a few hours to complete, but the report itself can take several days because of its complexity. It's a service well worth having before any real estate transaction.