With the long list of items you need to do when buying & selling a house there is the home inspection. Wondering what is involved, and how much it costs? Why you need one? You need to understand what a home inspection entails and how it affects the sale of your home or the purchase of a new one. The more you know, the more prepared you’ll be.
What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is NOT an appraisal. An appraisal is the estimate of a property’s market value. A home inspection is more detailed and practical - done for a completely different reason. It ’s not a code inspection and does not report on building code compliance or give a “passing” or “failing” grade. It is defined as an objective visual examination of the structure and systems of a home by an impartial, neutral third party not related to the buyer or seller. Basically, it shows you what’s wrong with the property that you’re considering buying or selling.
The three main points of the inspection are to
1) evaluate the physical condition of the home, including structure, construction and mechanical systems;
2) identify items that need to be repaired or replaced;
3) estimate the remaining life of the major systems, equipment, structure, and finishes.
What Does a Home Inspection Cover?
A home inspection includes a visual examination of the entire home. There are hundreds of items that a home inspection covers. This includes the structure, flashings, basement, framing, central cooling and heating, chimneys, plumbing and electrical systems, drainage, bathrooms and laundry, foundation, common safety devices, fireplaces, kitchen and kitchen appliances, general interior, attic, insulation. ventilation, roof, and exterior.
An inspector can’t report on items that are not visible. If defects are hidden behind finished walls, beneath carpeting, behind storage items and in inaccessible areas, they are not responsible for noting possible problems.
Hiring a Home Inspector
When hiring a home inspector, get recommendations from your Realtor. It’s a good idea to be present during the inspection. Remember, you can ask them questions during the inspection. Also, the inspector will be able to point out areas of potential trouble, which will mean more to you if you see it with your own eyes than read it in the inspector’s report later. Many inspectors also will offer maintenance tips as the inspection progresses.
Is the Seller Obligated to Make Suggested Repairs?
The seller is not required to make any repairs, replacements or maintenance since this is not a code inspection. However, the buyer can use the inspection report as a negotiating tool. For instance, if certain repairs or replacements are made, the buyer might offer to pay more, or if they’re not, the buyer can bid lower. Also, never allow an inspector to contract with you to make repairs he/she has suggested — this is a major conflict of interest, not to mention unethical.
How Much Does it Cost and How Long Will it Take?
Remember that a thorough, accurate home inspection takes time. The last thing you want to do is to try to hurry the inspector along. The inspector’s most important priority is accuracy, and that takes time. You should expect the home inspection to take anywhere between two and five hours. Of course, older homes will take longer than newer ones.
Expect your inspection to cost anywhere from $200-$500 depending on the size & age of your home. The cost is definitely worth it and may be one of the most important investments you make a home purchase!