So you think you’ve found the perfect home to purchase. Before signing on any dotted lines though, you’ll want to ensure that there are no glaring problems with your home that will break the bank. As you tour potential homes, you will want to keep your eyes open for any obvious problems. You may love the character of an old home but if you look closely, you might see water marks on the ceiling, indicating water damage. Even in a new home, if you stay alert, there might be something that sticks out to you, like floors that are sloping. However, if there isn’t anything that is obviously wrong with the structure, you will typically bring in a home inspector in once your property is under contract.
What is a home inspection? A home inspection is a detailed visual inspection of a home and its property. For a few hours, an inspector or home contractor will walk through and around the dwelling meticulously examining the property for signs of a problem. While a home inspection can help identify many problems, it is important to remember that it is a visual inspection and not an invasive endeavor. As such, do not expect a home inspector to be peering into walls or digging in the yard. If you have concerns that are not covered in a basic home inspection, there are certified inspectors that can be brought in to investigate further.
So what is included in this basic inspection? A home inspection will examine the interior and exterior of your home looking at the structure as well as the mechanical and electrical systems. The foundation will be examined to detect any structural defects. On the exterior of the home, the roof will be looked at, noting missing shingles or other signs pointing to needed renovation. The inspection will also check to see if there is significant drainage issues on the property. On the inside, mechanical and electrical systems are investigated. Other more apparent signs can be spotted too, like water damage or a musty odor, which could point to a more expensive problem. Attics and crawl spaces will also be included in inspections, along with outside structures, like garages.
Because there might be issues with a home, it is important you pay attention to the statement of disclosure from the previous owners. If the sellers are aware of problems with the house, they are required to disclose these issues and present them to you. This can help you to pay close attention to these problem areas and note them to your home inspector for close examination. You should bring this document and any other building plans or documents related to the house when you go for the inspection. These papers can be a helpful guide for your home inspection and can alert you to areas your inspector should pay special attention to. The inspector may recommend a certified specialist be brought in to examine certain things further too. There may be signs that point to a potential issue, or a home inspector may feel further examination for any environmental hazards with the home is warranted. Radon, mold, carbon monoxide, asbestos, and pest or rodent inspections will be worth investing in. Certain home inspectors will be certified to also carry out these special investigations, but will probably charge extra for these services.
Once the inspection is complete, you will hopefully be confident finalizing the purchase of the home. Ideally, no problems will be found or suspected and the disclosure from the owners will not reveal anything significantly awry with the property. However, if there are problems found, you will have a decision to make. It may be the property needs so rehabilitation. You can consult with a contractor about the costs. If it will be costly to fix all the problems, it might lead to a need to try and get the sellers to come down in price. If the damage is too extensive though, it may be that this house isn’t for you. It is important that you establish contingencies before you’re under contract on the property. If you have an inspection contingency, you will have a safety net that will allow you to walk away from the home if the disclosure statement or inspection reveals a glaring problem.
When you fall in love with a house, you may want to jump at the first chance to finalize the sale and start creating memories in it. However, before you can move it, it will be important that you inspect the home before buying it. Nothing could be more heartbreaking than moving into your dream home, only to find you have to completely rewire the electrical or have a problem with the foundation. These costs will not only sour you to the home, but could harm you financially. Hiring a professional, reputable home inspector will be important. Your inspector will know what to look for and will be able to answer any questions you have so that you feel confident going forward with the purchase of your home.