Home Inspection Tips: What Buyers Should Know

Home Inspection Tips: What Buyers Should Know

Unlike a mass-produced car, couch, or laptop, each home for sale is likely to have had at least some type of unique features added or experienced its own set of repair or renovation issues.
While this means that each home might offer something different to prospective buyers, it can also leave considerable potential for there to be unknown or hidden defects capable of creating safety issues for the occupants or expensive repair problems that will have to be addressed. Luckily, prospective buyers who use the home inspection process correctly can weed out many of these issues, before finalizing the purchase of a home.

Buyers Shouldn't Skip the Inspection

Cash-strapped buyers may be tempted to forego a home inspection or use the findings of a pre-listing inspection ordered by some sellers before listing, but these are not wise decisions. In order to make sure that buyers get the most impartial home inspection findings, they must be the party that chooses the inspector, orders the inspection, and pays for it. Doing so helps to ensure that the home inspector is working solely for them and not the seller.

Some Major Problems Can Be Found

Home inspections are not designed to be an invasive, all-seeing examinations. Instead, the home inspection process is designed to be somewhat like a routine well-being checkup your doctor might perform just to make sure that your basic health is sound.
According to information provided by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), most inspections will include an examination of:
  • Basements, foundations, and crawl spaces
  • Major systems of the home, including plumbing, electrical, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)
  • Windows and window frames and doors and door frames
  • Surface conditions, such as walls, floors, ceilings
  • Attics, including visible insulation
  • Exterior siding or surfaces

Not All Parts of a Property Are Covered

Home inspections, however, generally do not cover all parts of a property. In most cases, home inspectors typically do not examine:
  • Spaces inside walls or between floors
  • Roof coverings
  • Chimneys and flues
  • Septic systems or tanks
  • Water wells, sheds, garages, or any separate structures from the house
In some cases, home inspectors will consider also inspecting some of these areas on a case-by-case basis at the buyer's request and for an additional fee. Buyers who want these areas to be included in a home inspection should discuss the possibility with their inspector or consider having a separate inspection done on these areas by a licensed contractor or installer in each particular area of expertise.

Buyers Should Tag Along for the Inspection Process

Many prospective home buyers are surprised to learn that their attendance is encouraged by most home inspectors. Prospective buyers who do this will have an excellent opportunity to learn more about the home they are considering and be able to ask questions and receive qualified answers from a reputable authority on the subject of home construction and safety. If buyers cannot attend the inspection, many inspectors are willing to record the process and provide the recording to the buyers to view later.
In addition to the information detailed information above, buyers should know those home inspections:
  • Should include a detailed, written report both for their own reference and to be used when negotiating any requested repairs noted on the inspection
  • Are not always a tool capable of forcing a home seller to meet buyer demands for repairs or monetary concessions and are, instead mostly to inform the prospective buyer about the condition of the home
  • Can, however, be used as the basis for withdrawing from a home purchase agreement, provided the buyers are working within all timelines and limits of an applicable inspection contingency in their contract
Prospective buyers can learn more about the home inspection process or receive knowledgeable answers to specific questions by speaking with their real estate professional. In addition to discussing the home inspection process before ordering one, buyers should also consult with their agent regarding any necessary inspection negotiations with the seller after the inspection is completed.

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