When you buy a property, a home inspection may not be required. However, the little amount of money you spend to check for deficiencies and potential issues will be worth the cost. Each state’s language in the Contract to Purchase is different, and your real estate agent will be able to explain the process specific to the state in which you reside.
A home inspection done right will benefit both the buyer and the seller. If issues are present, the seller will be made aware and hopefully take steps to have those issues resolved. You, as the buyer, will be better prepared to make an educated and informative home purchase.
What is involved in a home inspection, and what can you expect when you arrange for one?
- Although your real estate agent may pass on recommendations for home inspectors, you ultimately decide who to hire for this process. Ask him or her for proof of state certification or membership in the NACHI (National Association of Certified Home Inspectors), NAHI (National Association of Home Inspectors), how many inspections they have performed, and proof of licensing (if state required).
- Inquire as to whether the inspector carries “errors and omissions” insurance.
- Work with a home inspector who does not mind you coming along for the process. Good communication is key, and a professional will be willing to answer your questions and not mind explaining things.
- The cost for the inspection will be dependent on several factors, including the experience of the inspector, the type of home, and the location. However, cost is not the most important factor you should consider.
What to Expect From the Inspection
Since the mid-1970s, standard guidelines for home inspections have been in place.The world’s largest organization of residential and commercial property inspectors (NACHI), has set forth International Standards of Practice for home inspections.
A qualified home inspector should focus on:
- Exterior areas such as the roof, foundation, flashings, and gutters
- Electrical outlets and switches
- Walls, ceilings, and floors
- Central air and heating systems
- Attic, basement, and garage
- Attached porches and decks
What a Home Inspection is Not
- Home inspectors are not superheroes, with the power to see behind walls or look into the future for potential problems. A home inspection is based on what he or she can see, including obvious defects that may negatively affect the home’s systems.
- A home inspection is not a pest inspection.
- A home inspection is not a guarantee or a warranty.
- A home inspector is not required (when a part of NAHI and NACHI) to determine the presence of mold or mildew.
- A home inspection will not go into detail concerning every nook and cranny of the home.
A high quality, professional home inspection will be worth both your time and the cost required. Although no process is perfect, and future predictions on a home’s quality are difficult to determine, a home inspection can bring peace of mind as you journey through the world of purchasing a home.