Although a home inspection is not required by law, it is always a good idea to have an objective third party inspect a home you wish to buy. A reliable home inspector can save you literally thousands of dollars in unexpected home repairs.
Paying for the inspection
Usually, the buyer pays for the inspection. But everything in real estate is negotiable. Put it in the contract to split the cost of the inspection to see what the seller says. If they are motivated – and confident in what the inspector will find – they may agree, which will save you a few hundred dollars.
What home inspectors look at
Home inspectors start by looking at exterior features: outside walls, soffits, decks, roof, chimneys and drainage conditions. On the interior, they examine the condition of windows, doors, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets and switches. They examine the heating and cooling systems. They also look at the attic and crawl space to ensure that they have adequate insulation and ventilation.
And what they don’t
Home inspectors are generalists and usually not qualified to assess things like pools, septic systems and trees and shrubs. If you want to have a termite inspection done, expect to hire a specialist in that area.
Accompany the inspector
A written report doesn’t give you the whole picture. Although it’s not required, if you go along on the inspection you’ll have a better indication of the issues associated with the home.
Questions to ask
It is essential that you trust the home inspector. Make sure to ask questions about the inspector’s background and qualifications, their training and what they’re looking for when they perform their inspection. Here’s a list of questions to ask your inspector (http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/sfh/insp/inspfaq) as suggested by HUD.
Finding a home inspector
If you’re in the market for a new home, ask your real estate agent for a list of trusted home inspectors that they use regularly. You can also ask friends and relatives for a referral. Make sure to do some research on the inspector; look for reviews online. In addition, make sure to ask to see a sample report. That way you’ll ensure that you’re comfortable with what the inspector reports and how they report it.
A home inspection is protection for the investment that you’re planning to make. Weighed against the potential cost of repairs and what you pay for your home, it is a wise decision to protect your investment.