A home inspection can be a nerve-racking part of the home-buying process – but it is also a vital step.Your home purchase is likely one of the biggest investments of your life and it’s important to know exactly what you’re buying. The best way to ensure this is through a professional and thorough home inspection.
Why You Need a Home Inspection
In your excitement to buy a home, it’s easy to miss a small crack in the foundation, some leaky pipes under the house, or a roof that needs to be replaced.
The sellers worked hard to make the home look as desirable as possible, but looks don’t tell the whole story. That’s where your home inspection comes in.
What about inspections for sellers?
While this material speaks primarily to buyers, it’s a good idea for sellers to do an inspection prior to listing their home for sale. An inspection can help you turn up issues ahead of time so there will be no surprises when serious buyers start inquiring. Knowing in advance means you’ll be able to consider all your options – either making repairs before listing or pricing your home to account for anything you’re not going to fix.
For more information about inspections for home sellers, see the Tips on Selling a House.
What does a home inspection include?
A general home inspection will evaluate the house and adjoining structures from top to bottom, inside and out, including but not limited to:
Outside: Roof, porches, driveways, garage, drainage, retaining walls, grading, and plants or vegetation that may impact the home’s condition.
Inside: Electrical and plumbing systems, foundation, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, water heater, septic system, electrical system, windows, doors, floors, ceilings, and walls.
What a home inspection doesn’t cover:
The home inspector can’t make any alterations in the course of inspecting a home – so there’s no digging up the ground, lifting carpets, knocking out walls, etc.
Also consider that a home comprises tens of thousands of parts, pieces, nooks and crannies. An inspector will look at a representative sampling, but there’s simply no way to check every single element.
Specialized Inspections – When Do You Need One?
Some states and cities require additional inspections on top of a general inspection. Beyond that, you may simply want a specialized inspection due to a special circumstance, or perhaps a particular concern you or your general inspector may have.
Examples of specialized inspections:
Here are a few things an inspector may find that could add to the cost of your home – or save you from buying a lemon altogether:
Five Deal-Breakers from an Inspection
Easily fixed pipes or a few outdated electrical outlets are no reason to back out of a deal. However, other issues that come up during a home inspection should give make you pause and think about whether or not to proceed.
Here are some red flags that warrant closer attention:
RE/MAX Home Inspection Tip: Condo or co-op boards pay for many repairs, but remember the costs will get passed on to you eventually – so it’s good to know the building’s overall condition from the start.
Home Inspection Checklist
Attend your home inspection to see first-hand what the inspector notes, and learn some important details about the house — like how to properly use the water, sprinklers, heater, electricity, etc.
When attending your inspection:
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