What Buyers Should Know About Home Inspections
When you are buying a home for the first time, many things will look fresh and gleaming. That’s part of the excitement of buying your first home. It is not uncommon to get so caught up that you’re buying a home; some important things go unnoticed.
It becomes critical to look beyond the glitz of the shiny granite countertops in the kitchen and focus on the home’s structure and mechanicals.
You really need a home inspection checklist and a qualified inspector to go through the house you want to buy to identify any costly problems in need of immediate repair.
The best home inspectors can quickly identify problems, so you know exactly what your purchasing. It is crucial taking the time to pick a home inspector that will do a thorough job for you.
Never choose a home inspector based on price. Would it make sense to pick the best home inspector even though they charge $200 more? It certainly would! Remember you are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a home.
Once problems are identified, you may request that they are repaired or ask the seller for a discount so that you can undertake the repairs. By having a home inspection, you will ensure the house your buying with be a safe place to call home.
Let’s take a look at the home inspection considerations for buyers.
Checklist For Home Inspections
If you are unsure where to start, ask your real estate agent for several names of licensed inspectors, and check their references. Reports issued by the inspectors vary from place to place, some reports are really long and detailed, and others have a more simple checklist.
You are looking for clarity, so a briefer checklist is okay as long as it is clear. When you hire the inspector, let them know of any concerns you may have regarding the property, and then they can check them.
The home inspection cost will be between $350 and $1000, depending on the size of the house and where you are located. The home inspection price can vary tremendously with these two factors, along with whether you want any extras like testing for radon or lead paint.
Preparing Your Home Inspection Checklist
Before the inspection takes place, it is a good idea to make your own checklist. Besides looking at how awesome the kitchen and master bath are for your needs, it is also vital to look at the home’s more mundane features. The main things to include on your home inspection checklist are:
- The foundations – make sure you look for cracks and sinking.
- What is the condition of the roof -are there any missing shingles, cracking, or any interior ceiling stains.
- Attic space – is it dry? Do you see any black spots on the wood? If so, it could be mold.
- Are the gutters and downspouts filled with debris or potential damage?
- How is the exterior paint job – does it need painting?
- Lighting – do all of the switches work.
- Air conditioning units – do they look well maintained? Are they sitting level on the ground?
- Plumbing and hot water – what does the hot water tank look like? Is there any rusting or leaks?
- Fixed appliances such as the stove, and dishwasher – are they in good shape?
- Walls and ceiling – are there any large cracks or plaster damage?
- How do the floors look? Is there are extreme sloping or extra loud creaking?
- Garage and Basement – are there any damp areas? Dampness is a problem in many older houses.
Try to attend the home inspection with the inspector, as then you can ask questions about problems concerning you. The inspection can take between two and four hours to look at the whole house.
The inspector is mainly concerned with the house’s physical condition, and below is a list of things not included in the inspection, as it is a good thing to understand the scope of practice for inspections.
Great home inspectors will also educate you on how things are supposed to function within the home. The home inspection can be a great educational experience of knowing how things operate. It is not to just find issues.
Not Included Items in The Home Inspection Checklist
These are things that home inspectors commonly do not look at. You may need to get outside specialists if any of these items present concerns.
- The lawn and gardens – the home inspector may mention the need to keep shrubbery away from the home, but they will not be explaining the needs of your yard.
- Sewer lines or septic system – most home inspectors will not be checking sewer lines or inspecting a septic system.
- The Pool – if there is a pool, you will need a pool inspector.
- Lawn sprinklers – if there is an underground sprinkler system, home inspectors typically do not check them.
- The Chimney – chimney will get a look over from home inspectors. However, you will need a level 2 inspection from a chimney company to get a detailed interior liner assessment.
- Internet connection – home inspectors, do not check out the connectivity of the internet or television.
Most inspectors will note if they see wood-destroying pest damage, like termites, which can ultimately affect the structure of the building. If it is easy to crawl under the house, the inspector will go under there. They will also usually be checking for any evidence of rodents such as mice or bats.
They obviously can’t be responsible for what is inside the walls, because they can’t look there. If the home inspector does find any major problems with structure, you may decide not to purchase the property.
It would help if you also kept in mind it is not their responsibility to estimate repair costs. It will be your responsibility to get in the appropriate tradesman to quote on repairs.
Completing Your Home Inspection Checklist
Once you receive your completed home inspection checklist from the inspector, go through it very carefully to identify any urgent repairs and get them priced out for repair or replacement.
Non-urgent repairs can certainly wait until later, but you should make a one to a three-year plan of what to tackle first. When you first move into a new house, money is usually tight for the first few years, so it is important to plan your repairs and costs to stretch your budget.
The costs in purchasing a house are quite high, so be sure that you want to progress with the purchase and that there is not too much expensive work to be done.
Reasons to Reconsider Going Ahead With a Home Purchase
If the inspector identifies major problems, some of these may be worth it for you to cancel the sale. In real estate circles, these are known as home inspection deal breakers.
- Structurally cracked foundations causing a lack of integrity to the home.
- Extreme unsafe asbestos removal is required, which can be very costly to remove.
- If a new roof is required and the seller won’t compensate you appropriately.
- Extensive termite infestation causing structural damage.
- Dangerous electrical wiring that may cause a fire.
All of the above are expensive problems to fix and are often not revealed until you finalize your building inspection checklist. You would then have to estimate the cost to fix these problems and weigh whether it is worth proceeding with the purchase.
On the other hand, these home inspection problems will make the property much harder to sell, and you could probably negotiate a substantial discount in price when major defects such as these are found.
If you decide to negotiate, ask your real estate agent to help you, as he has most likely done it before and will know how to proceed.
Completion of Your Home Inspection Checklist
Once you have your home inspection checklist completed, you can gradually work through the minor defects, fixing them, as not everything needs to be fixed at once. Many things can wait.
If you have decided to get a price reduction, this will take time, and you may not get an answer immediately, but it is worth slowing things down as you don’t want to buy a house with an unaffordable defect.
Keep your home Inspection checklist filed safely away, where you can refer to it when necessary and have the spare money to progress with repairs.
Final Thoughts on What to Know About Home Inspections
When it comes to buying a house, it is the biggest purchase that you will ever make, and in many places, prices and costs are still rising. This makes having a home inspection crucial, as you are unlikely to detect the problems yourself because you don’t know what to look for.
A good property inspector will take the time to go over the house and detect problems that may have been hidden either intentionally or not yet noticed by the owner. Problems can be there that are not always deliberately hidden, so as with all purchases, it is buyer beware.
When the home inspection is done consult with your real estate agent and get their opinion on any open issue in your mind. Many real estate agents have gone through hundreds of inspections. Lean on them for assistance and guidance.
Hopefully, you have found this guide on home inspections and what to expect to be useful.