What is a home inspection?
After you view a house and you like what you see, the next thing is to place an offer. When your offer is accepted, the next important thing to do before you close on the home is to arrange a professional home inspection. The walk around that your real estate arranges at your prospective new house is not enough to assure you that what you are about to buy is exactly what you saw.
A home inspector checks both the outside and inside of the house for major safety, health, and mechanical deficiencies. The inspector will alert you about major appliances that are not functioning well or are near the end of their useful life e.g. water heater and air conditioning unit. If there is mold in the attic, crawl spaces, or the basement, the inspector will inform you. Faulty electrical system, venting, and structural components will be highlighted. The inspector lists the major components that need to be repaired or replaced.
How to get a good home inspector
Your real estate agent may be able to refer a home inspector they trust and use on their projects. Also, you can visit the website of the American Society of Home Inspectors and get a local professional inspector who adheres to a code of ethics and standard of practice.
How long and how much?
It costs about $300 for the physical inspection and report. Although it is not mandatory to inspect the home, the amount you pay cannot be compared to the value of what the report may reveal. The inspection takes about two hours and the report is ready within three days.
It is a good idea for both the buyer and real estate agent to be present during the inspection. This facilitates a better understanding of the report and provides an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the house from an independent source.
What’s next after the inspection?
If the home inspection report reveals costly repairs and/or replacements, then the seller could fix the issues or reduce the selling price. However, the buyer also has the option of walking away from the purchase if the seller is unwilling to renegotiate the selling price or fix the issues before the closing date.
A good home inspection report gives the buyer confidence and eliminates nasty surprises after moving into a new house.
What if you do not agree with the home inspector?
If the home inspector is a member of a professional organization, you can reach out to the organization for assistance on how they handle disagreements. Otherwise, you can ask the home inspector to refund your fees and you can hire another inspector. Ultimately there is the option of contacting the relevant state governing body for further direction.