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Home Inspections Avert Future Headaches
Suppose you bought a house and later discovered, to your dismay, that the foundation needs repair. Or suppose that when you fired up the furnace in the winter, you discovered a cracked heat exchanger leaking gas into your home. The best way to avoid unpleasant surprises like these is to arrange for a home inspection before you buy.
Home Inspections Help You Avoid Unpleasant Surprises
A good home inspection is an objective, top-to-bottom examination of a home and everything that comes with it. The standard inspection report includes a review of the home's plumbing and wiring; roof, attic, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation and basement.
Getting a professional inspection is crucial for older homes because age often takes its toll on the roof and other hard-to-reach areas. Older homes also tend to have code compliance issues, such as not having earthquake straps on the hot water heater, or spacing from stair rails being to far apart. Problems can also be the result of neglect or hazardous repair work, such as a past owner's failed attempt to install lights and an outlet in a linen closet.
Although home inspections for older homes is always a good idea, even new homes can have home inspections. In fact, new homes frequently have defects, whether caused by an oversight during construction or simply human error.
Getting an Inspector
Real estate professionals can usually recommend an experienced home inspector. Make sure to get an unbiased inspector. You can find one through word-of-mouth referrals, or look in the Yellow Pages or online under "Building Inspection" or "Home Inspection."
Home inspections are running around three to six hundred dollars, depending on the size of the house and location. You may find the cost of inspection high, but it is money well spent. Think of it as an investment in your investment – your future home.
Some builders may try to dissuade you from getting a home inspection on a home they've built. They may not necessarily be trying to hide anything because most builders guarantee their work and will fix any problems in your new home before you move in. Some builders, in fact, will offer to do their own inspections. But it’s best to have an objective professional appraisal - insist on a third-party inspector.
An Inspection Will Educate You about Your House
Education is another good reason for getting an inspection. Most buyers want to learn as much as they can about their purchase so they can protect their investment. An examination by an impartial home inspector helps in this learning process.
Ask if you can follow the home inspector on his or her rounds. Most inspectors are glad to share their knowledge, and you'll be able to ask plenty of questions.
Home inspectors usually have you sign a contract before the inspection, outlining what will be and what wont be covered. Usually, home inspectors do not inspect anything they cant see, which can sometimes be a concern when sellers houses are too cluttered or access to attics are not provided. Some items that home inspectors do not inspect do get written up in the report as something a buyer should get inspected by a specialist. The most common request home inspectors make is to get the homes heating system evaluated by a licensed and bonded heating specialist.
Good Realtors® will attend the home inspection with you and should be able to help ask questions about your new home, ensuring you get the most out of your inspection.
Inspection Timing and Results
Homebuyers usually arrange for an inspection after signing a contract or purchase agreement with the seller. The results may be available immediately or within a few days. The home inspector will review his or her findings with you and alert you to any costly or potentially hazardous conditions. In some cases, you may be advised not to buy the home unless such problems are remedied.
Although most purchase agreements include a clause for buyer and seller to agree on home repairs, you could include a clause in your purchase agreement that makes your purchase contingent upon satisfactory inspection results. If major problems are found, you can back out of the deal. If costly repairs are warranted, the seller may be willing to adjust the home's price or the contract's terms. But when only minor repairs are needed, the buyer and seller can usually work out an agreement that won't affect the sale price.