A home inspection will reveal a lot about the home you’re interested in buying. It’s important to know what to look for ahead of time and what you should do if you uncover something unexpected.
Home inspections are important to buyers because they are meant to discover problems in the property that could affect safety or resale value. You may also find out if there are significant defects in the house or if major repairs are needed.
On the other hand, home inspections are not meant to disclose cosmetic defects, so don’t be surprised if your home inspector ignores the ugly wallpaper you can’t wait to replace. But even a small crack in the foundation could draw the home inspector’s serious attention.
Hal, a home inspector in this video, discusses the five major categories he inspects when he goes into a home: “I break it up into five different categories. The structure of the building, we basically want to see what kind of bones the building has so we look at the structure, the mechanical systems, the exterior envelope of the building, the general interior finishes like floors, walls, ceilings, bathrooms, kitchens, that type of thing. A lot of people ask us about what is involved in doing renovations in terms of costs, feasibility, government regulations so that’s another aspect of it which applies in many cases.”
Here’s a quick checklist to prepare for your home inspection:
• Allow 2-3 hours for the inspection.
• Be present for the home inspection — You’ll learn more about the home, such as the major systems.
• Confirm the date and time with the seller.
• Be sure to give the home inspector all of your contact information and the property information.
• Turn on all utilities such as gas, water, and electricity.
• Make sure seller removes all items that may block access to air conditioner, hot water heater, attic, and electric service.
After the home inspection is complete, you will receive a report describing what problems may have been found. First, find out how much repairs will cost. Then you have two options:
• Negotiate with the seller to fix the defects.
• Negotiate a lower purchase price and take on the responsibility of repairing them yourself.
No home is perfect, so pick your battles wisely and be smart about what you ask of the seller and how you ask it. Typically, any structural problems and/or rodent infestation are the seller’s responsibility. But other issues, such as general wear and tear just come with the territory of being a homeowner.
HAL: It gives the buyer an understanding of not only the condition of the building now but what his liability would be over a period of time. So let’s say over the next five years or ten years, how much additional money over and above what he’s buying the building for will he have to put into that building to keep it going.
HAL: I break it up into five different categories. The structure of the building, we basically want to see what kind of bones the building has so we look at the structure, the mechanical systems, the exterior envelope of the building, the general interior finishes like floors, walls, ceilings, bathrooms, kitchens, that type of thing.
HAL: A lot of people ask us about what is involved in doing renovations in terms of costs, feasibility, government regulations so that’s another aspect of it which applies in many cases.
HAL: If it’s at all possible, definitely be present at the inspection. It’s much easier for the inspector to point things out to you, see the big picture and so I think that’s very important.
MARLA: I was here when the home inspector was here, and I think that’s a really good idea. I wanted to make sure he was getting in the crawl spaces and getting up in the attic and checking all the windows; do they open and close properly? I mean I wanted to see what he was doing and making sure that I knew that he was doing what he was supposed to do.
MARLA: You’re spending a lot of money on a house that you’re going to be in hopefully for a long time and you want to make sure you’re not surprised.