Congrats! You’ve made an offer and it was accepted! What’s next? It’s now time to have the home inspected prior to closing. A thorough home inspection when you’re buying a house can save you thousands of dollars in unexpected repairs — or from unwittingly buying a money pit.
What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation.
Agents often recommend you make your offer contingent upon a clean home inspection. Why? This contingency allows you to renegotiate the price you offered for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or in some cases, walk away if challenges arise. Your agent can advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed.
How Do I Choose an Inspector?
Your agent will most likely have a short list of inspectors they’ve worked with in the past to recommend to you. HGTV suggests you consider the following 5 areas when choosing the right home inspector:
#1 Qualifications – Find out what’s included in your inspection and if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.
#2 Sample Reports – Ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home.
#3 References – Do your homework. Ask for phone numbers and names of past clients who you can call to discuss their experiences.
#4 Memberships – Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate your choice. Membership in one of these organizations does, however, often mean continued training and education are required.
#5 Errors and Omission Insurance – Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. The inspector is only human, after all, and it is possible they might miss something they should see.
What Should I Expect During the Inspection?
Ask your inspector if you can tag along. This way you can explore your new home in detail and ask questions as you go. This process can give you much more information than the report alone.
A home inspection can take 2-4 hours, but may take more time depending on the size of the house.
Don’t be surprised if you see the inspector climbing on the roof or crawling around in the attic and on the floors.
What are some things the Inspector will Review?
The job of the inspector is to protect your investment and find any issues with the home, including but not limited to:
Heating and air conditioning systems
Fireplace and chimney
Foundation, and so much more
Work with a professional you can trust to give you the most information possible, so you can make the most educated decision about your purchase.