A home inspection is an important way to protect your investment. Here’s how.
A home consists of many complex components, including structural framing, electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems. When you’re considering buying a home, you need to make sure that everything beneath the surface is in good shape. That’s why an extensive home inspection is both valuable and necessary.
The Home Inspection
During a home inspection, a licensed inspector will do a visual examination of the home. This will give you an accurate evaluation of the home’s condition and let you know if there are any problems with the house that could affect its safety or resale value.
While Chase doesn’t require a home inspection, we highly recommend it. After all, it’s there to protect you and your investment.
What Your Home Inspector Will Be Looking For
Your home inspection will examine over 500 different parts of the house.
Here are some of the things your home inspector will be examining:
- Structure and foundation
- General construction quality
- Electrical systems
- Heating and cooling
- Windows and doors
- Kitchen and bathroom
- Interior walls and ceiling
- Air conditioning
- Ventilation and drainage
- Gutters and leaders
- Garages and carports
- Patios and decks
- Walks and driveways
- Lawn sprinklers
- Pools and spas
- Termites and wood destroying organisms (WDO)
Prepare for Your Home Inspection
Found a good home inspector? Here’s what you’ll need to do to get ready for the inspection.
- Contact the property owner to confirm the date, time (during daylight hours), and estimated duration of the home inspection.
- Provide the home inspector with the buyer’s full name, address, and phone number.
- Provide the home inspector with the home’s address, specific directions, and access or lock box information.
- If an appointment needs to be canceled or postponed, contact the home inspector at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled inspection.
- Turn on all utilities: gas, electric, hot water heater, and refrigerator.
- Inform the owner that appliances, systems and equipment will be inspected.
- Make sure the inspector will have access to garage, closets, attics, etc.
- Advise the owner to remove all items that may block access to the air conditioner, hot water heater, attic, access panels, electric service panel, etc.
- Allow 2 to 2.5 hours for your home inspection (1 to 1.5 hours for a condo).
- Payment is expected upon completion of the inspection.
If You Find Property Damage During Your Home Inspection
Depending on the nature of the issues, you may want to ask the seller to fix the problems or lower the purchase price as a condition of your offer. First, find out how much it will cost to fix the defects. If you have time, you could get some repair estimates from licensed contractors.
- Asking the seller to fix the issues.
One option is to negotiate with the seller that you will remove the inspection contingency if they pay for and complete the specific repairs according to the estimates. Some defects, such as structural problems and termite infestation have historically been the seller’s responsibility.
- Asking the seller to lower the purchase price.
You can also offer to fix the defects yourself in return for a lower purchase price on the contract. Or you can offer to share in the cost of repairs with the seller.
- Walking away.
In some situations, you may want to consider rescinding your offer if the problems are too extensive or too difficult to fix.
How to Find a Good Home Inspector
Ask friends, colleagues, and your real estate agent for referrals. You can also look online or in the telephone book.
Here’s what to look for in a home inspector:
How many years have they been in the business and how many inspections do they do per year?
Choose someone who specializes strictly in home inspections. Beware of contractors who do house inspections “on the side”.
Find out what type of report will be issued—written, oral, or both. We recommend getting a detailed written report and a checklist. (A checklist alone may not include important details and information you’ll need.)
Make sure they are certified with a respected home inspection organization like the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).
Does the inspector have Errors and Omissions Insurance? This can protect you should the inspector miss something in the inspection.
Home Inspection Cost
A home inspection usually costs between $200 and $500, depending on the property location, the inspector, the size of the home, and the scope of the inspection and reporting. It’s a good idea to get estimates from a few inspectors before you choose one.
When to Get a Home Inspection
Home inspections are usually done seven to 14 days after the contract is accepted. Make sure to choose your home inspector ahead of time, so you can stay on schedule.
Should I Be There for the Inspection?
Definitely. You’ll gain a lot of insights about the condition of the home. Ask questions. That way, you’ll be fully informed about the home and feel confident about your decisions.
What to Look for on Your Own
Conducting your own personal inspections will help you weed out the properties that have too many obvious deficiencies.
Look for the following red flags:
- Apparent cracks or shifts in the foundation
- Overall condition and age of roof
- Evidence of leaks, inside and outside
- Basement or crawlspace dampness and insulation
- Interior structure of attic
- Obvious electrical malfunctions
- Appliance conditions and age
- Heating/cooling performance
- Exterior paint or repairs needed