I like hearing and reading about different perspectives in the real estate industry, and I invite others to write guest posts to share their knowledge or views about their work, or what they see. I think this can be a great benefit for my readers. The following is a guest post from a Home Inspector ,Ben Evans, who contacted me with the desire to write for you, so I hope that you enjoy it.
Purchasing a home is possibly the biggest investment a person will make in their lifetime. But no home is perfect. Many homes, whether new construction or resale, may be in need of repairs or corrections. While some items that need attention may be obvious, this is a job for a professional. A home inspector is trained to notice the difference between major and minor problems, determine the cause of the problem and offer you a solution. Obtaining a quality home inspection will make you aware of any items that need to be addressed and help you protect your investment.
A home inspection is just that – a visual inspection of the home, made by a qualified professional, who is trained and has experience in evaluating all the component features in a house. This is not a test, as a house cannot fail this inspection. It is simply the examination of the current condition of a house. It is not an appraisal, which will help determine the market value of the home. It is not a municipal inspection, which ensures the home is up to local code compliance. A Home Inspector will not pass or fail a house, but will indicate items that may need major repair and could affect your buying decision. The inspector will advise you on how to repair or correct those items and how much those repairs or corrections may cost you. Home inspectors will also notify you of any items that are showing wear or that will require maintenance in the near future so you can be aware and prepared for that. You do not want any expensive surprises when purchasing your home. That’s why an inspection is a must in order to inform you of the condition of the house and property, and reduce your risk. Many lenders will require a home inspection before proceeding with the loan.
It is important that you hire a professional. Even the most experienced homeowner or real estate agent lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector. They have completed thousands of inspections and are knowledgeable in the elements of home construction, proper installation, maintenance, and home safety. In addition, they have technical equipment they use for inspections to give you the most accurate assessment of the property. When choosing a home inspector, it is important to find one that is not only very thorough but will take the time to explain the results to you and answer your questions. When you call to get an appointment, ask questions concerning the inspection and their qualifications. Ask them what their inspection includes; what will the report look like that they provide to you; and what their cost is. Any qualified professional will expect these types of questions and will not be ready to respond.
The amount of time the home inspector will require in the home can vary upon the size, age, and condition of the home, but it will most likely take somewhere between 2-4 hours. It will be helpful if you are able to be there for some portion of the inspection so that you are seeing the findings first-hand and have the option to ask any questions. Take notes on anything they point out so you can discuss any concerns you have and can get a better explanation later. Just make sure not to get in the inspector’s way. They will inspect everything from the roof to the foundation: attic, ventilation, gutters, basement/crawlspace, foundation, siding, trim, driveways, insulation, roof and flashings, grading, retaining walls, ceilings, walls, chimney, fireplace, electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, flooring, doors, windows, garage and more. When the inspection is complete, you will be presented with a very detailed and easy to understand report outlining their findings. It will have a thorough explanation for each finding and even digital photos identifying what they found. It will alert you to items that need to be repaired or replaced and suggestions on how to handle them. It will possibly even provide you with estimated costs for the repairs so that you will have a good idea of where you stand with the home.
When you receive the results of your home inspection, you should feel confident that you know the condition of the home you are purchasing, including all positive and negative aspects. You should know what repairs are needed, as well as the urgency of the needed repairs, and the magnitude of the repair costs. You should know a proper course of corrective repairs and whether alternatives are available. You should also be aware of any unsafe conditions in the home and the risks involved. You should expect the home inspector to provide the answers to any questions you may have regarding the report and that the inspector will be available to answer any questions in the future.
If any of the problems are significant and too expensive to fix, you can evaluate your options. You can choose to walk away from the purchase of the home if the contract allows it. You can also ask that the seller fix the some of the items noted on the report prior to closing. In addition, you can ask the seller to reduce the purchase price of the home so that you are able to budget for the repairs the home may need. Otherwise, you will need to plan to address the items yourself and come up with an estimated budget that will allow you to do so, as will as a time line that may affect the date that you are able to move into the home.
A home inspection will cost you a little bit of time and money, but in the long run you will be glad you did it. The inspection can reveal problems that will allow you the opportunity to address them before purchasing the home. Remember, you must protect your investment and that starts with a home inspection.