What You Need to Know About a Home Inspection
For a first-time home buyer — and even for repeat buyers — hiring a home inspector can be a last-minute task the buyer is unprepared for. Depending on the seller, you may have only a few days to find, schedule and get a report from a home inspector to show what types of problems a home might have. This can include checking electrical and plumbing systems as well as the foundation, among many other things. It’s not a job you want rushed. Many home inspectors are recommended by a buyer’s real estate agent, which can come in handy if you’re pressed for time, or you haven’t selected one in advance. Even a newly built home needs an inspection. A home inspection is not required in Indiana, but as any good real estate agent will tell you, it is highly recommended. VA lenders will require a termite inspection. The cost of the inspection will depend on the size and sometimes age of the home and any additional items you want added to the inspection, such as termite inspection, radon test, etc. Your agent is familiar with many inspectors and knows which ones will give you a thorough and detailed report. It’s also worth being prepared to hire contractors or specialists, such as plumbers and electricians, to check areas of a home that the inspector may flag as needing additional work. Having a home inspector is like going to your general practitioner, your family doctor, who will refer you to a specialist if needed. Unlike a specialist, who will look at specific areas, a home inspector will look at a house as a whole system. A problem in the attic, for example, could be caused by something in the basement, such as moisture in the attic being caused by a leaking vent from a downstairs bathroom.
Hiring an inspector is cheaper than hiring a specialist in each trade, though a structural engineer, for example, could be hired to check the foundation if the inspector finds initial problems Even after living in a house for a while, it’s worthwhile to get a home inspection to see how the house is holding up. There’s no ‘check engine’ light on a house.
Attend the Home Inspection
Ask if you can attend the inspection and if the inspector will walk you through the property after the inspection is completed. Most home inspectors are happy to have you there to show you what they have found and explain why it could be an issue and/or how big of an issue it is. They should also give you tips on maintenance or things to keep an eye on in the future before it becomes a problem.
Inspection Report A good home inspector should provide a thorough report. Reports that include digital photographs along with typewritten reports are best. Any other manner or method won’t help you in the future when the home inspector ‘can’t remember’, you want this inspection to be worth it and have real value. It helps to have photographs to show to the seller when requesting a specific repair, especially if the repair request comes across as being vague.
Before you put your house on the market
It can also be a good idea to have a home inspection before you put your house on the market. Sometimes when you’ve lived in a home for a while you become blind to some issues. When is the last time you crawled up in the attic or in the crawl space and had a good look around? You could be much better off dealing with a repair issue before a potential buyer sees it.
For example, if it’s a visible repair issue chances are you started out listing your home with this in mind and already discounted your potential selling price for it. Next the buyer comes along who now sees it and then mentally discounts the same issue in their mind in their offer. Next comes the home inspection and the inspector makes note of the repair issue. The buyer now wants the issue repaired, which costs you money. See where this is going? Not only do you still need to pay to do the repair, you also potentially lost money upfront on the deal due to the same issue. You could end up with more money in your pocket if you had just made the repair before going on the market.
~ Pam Hornett