Buying a home is exciting. The red tape involved in the purchase is not as fun. Amid meetings with mortgage brokers, real estate agents and moving companies, it’s easy to forget about the house itself. Understanding the current condition and history of a home is crucial to the enjoyment of it. Without the full picture, new homeowners may find themselves on the hook for a number of surprises.
A home inspection can fill in the gaps and prepare buyers for what to expect. While not mandatory in every state, these inspections are often required by banks financing a home mortgage. Beyond serving as a physical examination of a property, a home inspection can offer unique insight into the value and long-term health of an investment.
Home inspections are indeed one of the most revealing steps in the due diligence process of buying a house. If you’re hoping to make the most of your upcoming inspection, keep these tips in mind:
In states with lax home inspection regulations, just about anyone can perform a home inspection. Regardless of their training, professional background or work history, people in states like Pennsylvania can conduct a home inspection. Most states require some kind of licensure process, though, so when you’re in the market for a home inspection, be sure to hire someone certified for the job.
Where should you look for a qualified home inspector? Find an inspector in your area using trusted services such as Hire an Inspector, a resource for homebuyers, real estate agents and lenders seeking home inspection assistance.
Conduct a Pre-Inspection Walkthrough
You’ve probably walked around your new home a million times throughout the purchasing process, but give it one last stroll before welcoming your home inspector inside. Conduct a pre-inspection walkthrough with an eye on the things that most concern you. While you may not necessarily have much experience with homebuilding or maintenance, you might surprise yourself with how many questions you come up with on such a walkthrough.
Write these questions down as they come to you. You’ll want to have them handy when your home inspector arrives for their official inspection.
If you’re hoping to get a real insider’s perspective into your new home, consider being present for the inspection process. Ask your inspector when they expect to get started, and show up on time for the entire property’s examination. Come prepared with a list of questions and concerns you have about the home, and be sure to clue your inspector into any history you have on the house. The more they know, the faster they’ll be able to alert you to the potential issues.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions throughout the process. Home inspectors have specialist knowledge of the systems and construction of houses. While it’s definitely important to respect the time and attention of the professional inspecting your property, you’re free to ask questions as you go along. It’s a good idea to address concerns as soon as possible instead of waiting for problems to arise after you’ve bought the home!
Invest in Additional Inspections
Believe it or not, many basic home inspection packages do not include an examination of the roof. This takes many homebuyers by surprise — after all, the roof is one of the most important parts of a home’s structure. The good news? Most home inspectors are willing to conduct roof inspections for an extra fee. The information you’ll uncover about the condition of your roof is worth the additional cost. Since many home inspectors now offer roof inspections via drone, the process may be quicker and more revealing than you might expect!
Additional inspections for mold and radon detection are also worth considering. While an inspector can point out the most obvious signs of mold during a standard home inspection, a more thorough mold inspection can help ensure your home isn’t hiding any expensive sources of moisture. Since radon gas is odorless, colorless and deadly, a radon detection add-on may also be worth the cost of a more comprehensive inspection.
Review the Report Thoroughly
At the end of your inspection, you’ll receive a written report of the findings. Most inspectors will include photos and videos along with their written report. Decide what matters and what doesn’t. For instance, you might not mind the peeling paint in the master bedroom, but the sagging roof is definitely cause for concern.
Use what you learn to negotiate repairs with the seller. Your real estate agent may also be able to help you negotiate a lower sales price based on the inspection report. While the process may take a little back-and-forth, the chance to have the repairs taken care of or reimbursed is too valuable to pass up. Put your inspection report to good use and you’ll be in your new house in no time!