A home inspection prior to purchasing a home or condominium can bring peace of mind when you sign the sales contract. Knowing what to expect both inside and out will help you make an informed decision about the value of the home and the future upkeep.
A home inspection accomplishes two important goals. First, it gives you a chance to determine the condition of the house, its structural soundness, and the condition of its mechanical systems. Second, it brings any problems to the seller's attention at a time when they can be resolved before closing a sale.
If you sign a contract before inspection, consider including a clause that the sale is contingent upon a satisfactory structural inspection, and specify when the inspection is to be carried out. That way, you are protected.
What's Involved in a Home Inspection?
A comprehensive inspection includes a visual examination of the structure from top to bottom, including the heating, air conditioning systems, the interior plumbing and electrical systems, the roof and visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, the foundation, basement and visible structure.
Following the examination, the inspector will provide a report that not only points out possible defects or areas of concerns, but also the positive aspects of the structure as well as the type of maintenance that will be necessary to keep the home in good shape.
Deciding on a Home Inspection
The inspection fee for a typical single-family house can vary depending on features of the home such as size, age and special structures. A decision to have a home inspected is a good investment. You might save many times the cost of inspection by being aware of defects, maintenance requirements, and upgrading requirements.
Good decorating alone should not sell you on a house. Remember, you're also buying structural and mechanical systems. Walk through a house twice before you hire an inspector. The first time, look at the rooms, the floor plan, and envision your own decorating ideas for the house. The second time, go back and look at the condition of the walls, doors, appliances, and plumbing. If the home still looks good after two visits and you're getting serious about the purchase, hire an inspector.
Inspectors should be licensed in building-related fields; architects, contractors, and structural engineers are good examples. When interviewing a potential home inspection firm, carefully inquire about the specifics of their work and company. Ask how long they have been in business; ask for references from previous customers. Find out what type of insurance they carry and do they guarantee inspections?
A home inspection usually lasts about three hours. Professional inspection companies will be happy to answer all your questions. Avoid firms that issue only a verbal report. The report should be in narrative form, not just a checklist of items inspected. The home inspector should also issue a written report with accurate cost estimates for any major defects discovered during the inspection. You may find it valuable to accompany the inspector as he goes through the house.