Doing your homework before buying real estate is extremely important, as this ensures that you’re getting good value for your hard-earned money. This practice is referred to as due diligence, or the ‘free look period.’
Buyers are generally given 17 days after signing a contract to decide whether the house is a worthy investment. Once this deadline has passed, the deposit money becomes non-refundable, and you can no longer walk away.
This is why I always advise my clients to get a professional analysis or home inspection done before they end up with a money pit.
The process of home inspection involves going through all the nooks and crannies of the house to uncover potential issues. This provides buyers detailed information on what exactly is in store for them once the deal is final.
An expert home inspector typically walks through the house, jotting notes on anything that may seem iffy. You can even accompany the inspector to get pointers and suggestions along the way, and to familiarize yourself with the property.
Just make sure you don’t get in the way – or try to take over the inspection!
Why Opt For Professional Home Inspections?
A home inspection is the real-estate equivalent of taking a car out for a test drive – only more thorough. While your new place may look absolutely gorgeous, it could be hiding leaky pipes and ugly infestations under the stylish décor.
A professional inspector will have their eyes out for any problematic areas; even providing solutions and estimations for repair costs. In short, you will have everything you need to decide whether the house is in a good enough condition.
Another important benefit of a professional inspection is safety assurance. The expert also carefully scrutinizes the electric wiring and the HVAC system to ensure that there are no chances of blow outs or short circuiting. You can even get a Radon test done to ensure that the house doesn’t contain harmful levels of the odorless gas.
Choosing The Right Inspector
Since there is a lack of federal regulations and special licenses for home inspectors, you will need to depend on recommendations from family and friends.
Another way to find a registered home inspection service is by looking through the database of professionals from the American Society of Home Inspectors, or the National Association of Home Inspectors. These organizations generally have some ethical codes set in place, and require members to be well-versed in the field.
Before deciding upon an inspector, be sure to:
- Look up any references you can find
- Request a sample report to review how thoroughly the property will be inspected
- Find out everything the inspection service covers
- Determine the inspector’s rate of liability (their chances of overlooking some issues)
Areas Covered In A Home Inspection
Within a few hours, your expert will conduct a top-to-bottom review of the entire property. They will go through the exterior and the interior, reviewing all mechanical and electrical systems.
The inspector will even crawl into the basement and attic spaces to check for stability, and appropriate structuring.
These are general inspections that typically cost an average of $300. If you want to take it a step further, here are some special inspections you can opt for as well.
- Chimneys – a chimney inspector will tell you if your inner brickwork is crumbling, and whether you need a flue liner installed
- Wood – wood destroying pests can be found in any property. Only a proper pest inspector will be able to detect the presence of these pests, and find you a proper solution
- Pool and Spa – specialized inspectors can predict the life expectancy of your pool and spa unit, and check for any leakages
- Landscaping – an arborist can be brought in to figure out the health of the greenery around your real estate
- Lead-Based paint jobs – since the use of these paints was banned in 1978, you will need a certified lead abatement contractor to remove it
The Inspections Report
Depending on the kind of inspection you’ve selected, you will receive a detailed report highlighting the problem areas found in the house.
This report will contain an in-depth evaluation conducted by the inspector. It will be comprehensive; containing summaries, checklists, and maybe even photographs of the issues. The inspector might even provide estimations of the working life of main appliances, and the paint job.
If you end up getting a thick binder full of defects, don’t be alarmed – it is perfectly normal for home inspection reports to include fifty to a hundred issues, since even the smallest of flaws are mentioned.
If the inspection turns up problems that require hefty repair work, it might be time to reconsider the contract. It is well within your rights to try to renegotiate the terms of the agreement for a lower price, or even back out completely.