A home is not just what it appears to be on the surface. It consists of many complex components including structural framing, physical components electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems. When considering a home for purchase, you may be able to settle for minor cosmetic repairs, but you need to make sure that everything beneath the surface is in shape. This is why an extensive home inspection is both valuable and necessary.
A. A pre-purchase home inspection, performed by a professional, is a visual examination of the readily-accessible areas of a home to provide an accurate evaluation of the home's condition at the inspection. Home inspections are designed to disclose defects in the property that could materially affect its safety, livability or resale value. They are not meant to disclose cosmetic defects. The evaluation is presented to the buyer in a comprehensive report so buyers are fully informed of the home's condition prior to purchase.
A. Buying the right home is an important investment in your future. To select the right home inspection company, you should base your decision on the experience of the inspector. Ask friends, colleagues and your real estate agent for referrals. You can also look online or in the telephone book. A qualified home inspector possesses a working knowledge of residential structures and systems, a general knowledge of real estate.
TIP: KEY THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A PROFESSIONAL HOME INSPECTOR
- The inspector's experience. How many years have they been in the business and how many inspections do they do a year?
- Exclusiveness. Choose someone who specializes strictly in home inspections.
- Beware of contractors who do house inspections "on the side".
- Reporting. Find out what type of report will be issued, written, oral or both.
- Insurance. Does the inspector have Errors and Omissions Insurance? This can protect you should the inspector miss something in the inspection.
A. A home inspection can cost between $200 and $750, depending on the property location, the inspector, the size of the home and the scope of the inspection and reporting. It's a good idea to get estimates from prospective inspectors before you choose one.
A. Complete your home inspection as quickly as possible. It usually takes place seven to 10 days after the contract is accepted. You should have already conducted your home inspector search before this time, however. If you try to find an inspector once an offer is placed on the house you may not be able to find an acceptable one, or you may run past the deadline for the inspection.
A. Yes. This inspection will provide you with greater insight on the condition of the home. It's a good idea to schedule it during daylight hours. And you are encouraged to ask questions. This will allow you to be fully informed about the home and feel confident about your decisions. Also be sure that your home inspection report will include a detailed written report as well as a checklist. A checklist alone may be void of detail and may not provide all the information that you need.
A. No. A comprehensive inspection should not only bring defects and problem areas to your attention; it should also highlight the positive aspects of a home as well.
A. It depends upon the size of the home and the number of rooms. An average inspection takes about 2-2½ hours (1-1½ hours for a condo). The time is well-spent considering there are more than 500 components in the average home.
A. First find out how much it will cost to fix the defects. Weigh the positives against the negatives. If you have time, you could get some repair estimates from licensed contractors. Then, you have some options on what to do. You could negotiate with the seller that you will remove the inspection contingency if they pay for and complete the specific repairs according to the estimates. Some defects, such as structural problems and termite infestation have historically been the seller's responsibility. You can also offer to fix the defects yourself in turn for a lower purchase price on the contract. Finally, you can offer to share in the cost of repairs with the seller. Just remember that every deal is different and negotiable, and much depends on the current demand in the real estate market.
A. Your professional home inspection should include:
* Performed by licensed pest control company.
** Performed by independent contractor.