The experience of buying a home can be interchangeable with buying a car. The typical routine before buying a car involves taking it for a test drive, looking under the hood, checking the mileage, etc, etc. Same thing goes for a home…although, if you’re hesitant to buy, you can’t ask the realtor to leave you the keys so you can live in the house for a few days. There are a lot of things to look at before buying a home, like, checking if that picture frame on the wall is there for decoration or structural support, or if the carpet is hiding a sinkhole. I know that sounds farfetched, but you can never be too sure your future home won’t hold any hidden booby-traps.
That’s where the importance of a home inspection comes into play. Even when buying a newly built home, which can still have defects due to shoddy workmanship or overlooked discrepancies, a professional home inspector can find these complications before they eventually creep up on you. There are a few guidelines you should follow throughout the entire home inspection process, which are neatly outlined for you below:
Guideline #1: Review Your Purchase Agreement
First and foremost, make sure your purchase agreement has an Inspection Contingency Clause that will give you a time frame to conduct an inspection. It will also allow you to negotiate any necessary repairs with the Seller. Lastly, if you’re not satisfied with the condition of the home or the Seller’s response towards completing any necessary repairs before you purchase the home, the Contingency Clause allows you to cancel the contract and have your deposit returned. Once you have yourself covered legally, it’s now time to search for a Home Inspector!
Guideline #2: Know Your Home Inspector
You want to start looking for an inspector that is licensed, trained and educated. New building codes and state regulations can be added or modified, so it’s important that your inspector is up-to-date with all current laws in your state. You’re also looking for an inspector with experience, not so much in years, but in how many inspections they’ve conducted.
Another thing to check is if they carry Professional Liability Insurance. This protects you and the inspector if, for whatever reason, they missed or left out any item on their report. If an overlooked item does becomes a problem after the inspection is complete, the inspector will be protected and you’ll be able to get the repairs needed, hassle-free.
Guideline #3: Be Present at the Home Inspection
It’s also advisable that you attend the inspection. You’ll be able to see firsthand what types of problems the home may have and to what extent. Be prepared to take 2 to 4 hours out of your day, though. That’s roughly the amount of time it takes to thoroughly inspect an average sized house.
Guideline #4: Consider the Home Inspection an Investment
Now, I suppose the most important question that comes to mind is, “How much?” As the saying goes “you get what you pay for.” This very much applies to home inspectors. It can be anywhere from $300 to $700, depending on various factors like the size of the house, its age, and where it’s located. But this is a very important investment, so you shouldn’t skimp on it.
There are many resources available on the internet that will help you choose a qualified home inspector. One place you might want to check out is the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website. You’ll find toolsthat will facilitate your search and even a list of questions you should ask an inspector.