It is your responsibility to be an informed buyer. Be sure that what you buy is satisfactory in every respect. You have the right to carefully examine your potential new home with a qualified home inspector. You may arrange to do so before signing your contract, or may do so after signing the contract as long as your contract states that the sale of the home depends on the inspection.
Why a Buyer Needs a Home Inspection
A home inspection gives the buyer more detailed information than an appraisal – information that you need to make a wise decision. In a home inspection, a qualified inspector takes an in-depth, unbiased look at your potential new home to:
- Evaluate the physical condition: structure, construction and mechanical systems
- Identify items that need to be repaired or replaced.
- Estimate the remaining useful life of the major systems, equipment, structure and finishes.
What goes on in a Home Inspection
A home inspection gives the buyer an impartial, physical evaluation of the overall condition of the home and items that need to be repaired or replaced. The inspection gives a detailed report on the condition of the structural components, exterior, roofing, plumbing, electrical, heating, insulation and ventilation, air conditioning and interiors.
What to Expect From a Home Inspector
What can home buyers expect from a private home inspector – besides a bill for around $350 (depending upon size of property and/or complexity of the inspector's report)?
First of all, we suggest you require proof of membership in the American Society of Home Inspectors. Home inspection is presently a comparatively unregulated industry in many states; ASHI-certified inspectors meet stringent requirements and abide by a sturdy Code of Ethics.
Next, expect a written report within one or two days following the inspection.
Our experience has taught us that home buyers don't hesitate to make necessary repairs to the home they're considering – they just want to know up-front what to expect, and how much money to plan on spending.
Your private home inspection protects your interests, just as an appraiser's inspection protects the lender from whom you'll obtain your mortgage. Your inspection assures you that the house you're purchasing is what it appears to be. And it alerts you to the maintenance and repair your new home will need as time goes on.
If no serious problems are found, inspection can pay off indirectly in maintenance tips and the assurance that you are making a sound investment. And if the inspection unearths catastrophic problems that can't be resolved to your satisfaction, the purchase agreement protects your interests. Ask Teresa to explain all the possibilities.
What Your Home Inspection Should Cover:
- Siding: Look for dents or buckling
- Foundations: Look for cracks or water seepage
- Exterior Brick: Look for cracked bricks or mortar pulling away from bricks
- Insulation: Look for condition, adequate rating for climate
- Doors and Windows: Look for loose or tight fits, condition of locks, condition of weather stripping
- Roof: Look for age, conditions of flashing, pooling water, buckled shingles, or loose gutters and downspouts
- Ceilings, walls, and moldings: Look for loose pieces, drywall that is pulling away
- Porch/Deck: Loose railings or step, rot
- Electrical: Look for condition of fuse box/circuit breakers, number of outlets in each room
- Plumbing: Look for poor water pressure, banging pipes, rust spots or corrosion that indicate leaks, sufficient insulation
- Water Heater: Look for age, size adequate for house, speed of recovery, energy rating
- Furnace/Air Conditioning: Look for age, energy rating; Furnaces are rated by annual fuel utilization efficiency; the higher the rating, the lower your fuel costs. However, other factors such as payback period and other operating costs, such as electricity to operate motors.
- Garage: Look for exterior in good repair; condition of floor—cracks, stains, etc.; condition of door mechanism
- Basement: Look for water leakage, musty smell
- Attic: Look for adequate ventilation, water leaks from roof
- Septic Tanks (if applicable): Adequate absorption field capacity for the percolation rate in your area and the size of your family
- Driveways/Sidewalks: Look for cracks, heaving pavement, crumbling near edges, stains.