When you’re buying a home, one of the most crucial steps before closing is the home inspection. This process can make or break the purchase agreement, and many buyers include a contingency clause that allows them to withdraw from the deal if significant issues arise during the inspection.
A skilled home inspector will thoroughly evaluate the property, identifying both minor and major issues that may need to be addressed. While minor problems can often be resolved through negotiations with the seller, major issues could mean that you have to walk away from the deal altogether.
It’s important to remember that the home inspection process is an opportunity for you to gather information about the property and make informed decisions about the purchase. By working with a reputable inspector and being prepared to negotiate with the seller, you can use the inspection to your advantage and ensure that you’re getting a fair deal on your new home.
What Exactly Is a Home Inspection
When buying a property, it’s important to have a highly experienced home inspector thoroughly review its crucial components, such as the roof, structure, electrical system, and air conditioning/furnace, before closing.
This inspection typically takes several hours and is scheduled shortly after the seller accepts the offer, allowing enough time for the inspector to provide a comprehensive report prior to the closing date. Conducting an initial inspection early on also facilitates scheduling a follow-up inspection if necessary.
As the purchaser, it is your responsibility to schedule and finance the home inspection, which usually costs between $300 to $500. This is essential since you want the inspector to furnish you with any valuable insights that could impact pre-closing discussions.
Home Inspection In Comparison To Appraisal
As a buyer, you hire a home inspector to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the condition of the property you’re interested in purchasing, while your lender hires an appraiser to determine its value. The appraiser evaluates the property, as well as similar properties and their sale prices.
If you’re utilizing an FHA loan to buy a home, the appraisal also incorporates an inspection. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development mandates that appraisers investigate any health or safety problems and suspend the loan application until the seller resolves them. HUD highly recommends that prospective buyers who are using an FHA loan also obtain their own home inspection.
Here Is How You Can Hire a Home Inspector
To hire a home inspector, it is recommended to seek recommendations from your real estate agent or acquaintances. It is also advisable to conduct online research by checking ratings and reviews.
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) offer a tool to locate inspectors and verify their certification and code of ethics. Additionally, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website can be consulted for any complaints against the inspector.
It is essential to note that state regulations often govern the home inspection industry and set requirements for inspectors. The ASHI website provides information on state regulations.
Questions To Ask From a Home Inspector
If you’re in the market for a home inspector, it’s important to gather information beforehand. You can ask these questions to the inspector directly or to someone at the company:
- Can you explain your process for inspecting a home?
- How soon can I schedule an inspection?
- What is the expected turnaround time for receiving the inspection report?
- Will the report be sent to me electronically, or do I need to pick it up in person?
- Who will be conducting the inspection, and what is their area of expertise?
- Could you provide references for the inspector or company?
- Does the inspector have experience with residential properties?
- What will the inspection cover?
- Can I attend the inspection, and how long will it take?
- How much will the inspection cost?
The cost of a home inspection is typically between $300 and $500, which is a reasonable fee for a professional to conduct a thorough review of the property and issue a detailed report in a timely manner.
When it comes to paying for a home inspection, it’s essential to note that payment is typically required prior to or at the time of the inspection. The cost of the inspection varies depending on the size of the property, and if it exceeds 2,000 square feet, the cost may be higher than average. It’s prudent to compare prices and other details from multiple home inspectors or inspection companies before making a decision.
You might also require specialized inspections for problems like mold, pests, radon, or lead in addition to a general house inspection. While some inspectors provide both general and specialty inspections, it’s important to ensure that they have the training and credentials necessary to carry out these extra evaluations.
What Does a Home Inspector Look For?
In order to find any problems that might lower the value of the house, the inspector carefully inspects the entire house, from the basement to the roof. The foundation and general structure of the house, as well as the plumbing and electrical systems, are some of the key areas that the inspector focuses on to make sure they are in good working order. Additionally, they check the roof, gutters, windows, cooking appliances, driveways, porches, and heating and cooling systems. The inspector also looks for any indications of leaks or mold in the attic.
How Long Will It Take a Home Inspection To Get Completed?
The duration of a home inspection typically depends on the size of the property and its surrounding area. To conduct a thorough inspection, it usually takes a minimum of a few hours for the inspector to examine every aspect of the house, including the roof, HVAC system, electrical outlets, and plumbing.
As a homebuyer, it’s important for you to be present during the inspection so that you can witness the inspector’s findings firsthand. Although the inspector’s report will document all of the issues discovered, being physically present during the inspection will help you determine the severity of any structural or electrical issues and whether they need to be addressed with the seller.
In addition, the buyer’s agent may also attend the inspection to provide another perspective on the seriousness of any issues and suggest the best course of action after the inspection report is issued.
How Can You Read Your Home Inspection Report?
When receiving your home inspection report, it is typically sent to you as a PDF and/or through an online portal within a few days of the inspection. Attending the inspection and communicating with the inspector can usually prevent any major surprises from appearing in the report.
However, it is crucial to have a written record of any issues discovered during the inspection, as it can provide valuable information for discussions with your real estate agent, lawyer, and seller.
Some of the most expensive defects to address include leaks, which can be caused by foundation cracks or faulty plumbing and require significant time and money to fix. The presence of mold is also a concern, as minor issues can be resolved quickly, but more severe problems may necessitate extensive cleanup and repair.
Additionally, outdated and hazardous electrical systems can pose significant risks for homeowners who rely on them for power in their home offices and gaming centers.
What Should You Do After a Home Inspection
After receiving the home inspection report, it is important to discuss it with your real estate agent and possibly a lawyer. Your next steps should include prioritizing the issues found in the report and deciding which ones are the most important to address. You should also estimate the cost of necessary repairs before contacting the seller.
When negotiating with the seller, it is important to remain flexible and consider compromises. You may be willing to accept certain repairs after moving in rather than requiring them to be completed before closing. If the seller agrees to make repairs, be sure to schedule a follow-up inspection to ensure that they were done properly.
If the seller is uncooperative or unwilling to address the necessary repairs, you may need to consider backing out of the purchase contract if you have a contingency clause in place. However, if you are able to negotiate and reach an agreement with the seller, the inspection report can serve as a helpful guide for the initial repairs you will need to make after moving in.
Getting a professional, impartial assessment of a house you intend to purchase through a home inspection is a simple and effective way to determine its condition. While it may be disheartening to discover that the home you desire is in need of repairs, it is better to confirm this prior to completing the purchase and moving in. Otherwise, you may be unexpectedly responsible for additional expenses beyond what you had planned for.
Visit clearviewhomeinspectionsnj.com or call 201-983-8198 to schedule your home inspection.