There are a lot of non-negotiables when it comes to homeownership. Property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and regular mortgage payments are all fairly mandatory. In many states, home inspections are another non-negotiable process that buyers and sellers must go through. There are other times, though, when home inspections are recommended but not required. If you’re confused about whether or not your home needs inspecting, allow ICA to be your guide.
Before You Buy
Most new homeowners are required to hire an inspector to examine their new place before they can close on the property. State laws typically mandate home inspections as part of the due diligence period. While not required in every state, inspections are often requested by banks and mortgage lenders before they’ll agree to extend a home loan. Even if you don’t technically need to have a home inspected to close, it’s a smart way to evaluate the condition of a home.
A home inspector can identify defects and potential hazards in a property before you move in – or before you close. It is recommended that you have your new home inspected after your offer has been accepted but before your closing date. This due diligence period allows you the time to examine every square inch of the home and make adjustments to your offer to reflect your findings. Having an expert home inspector conduct this examination will net you far more comprehensive results than a DIY inspection!
Before You Sell
If you’ve been considering listing your home on the market, you may want to have it professionally inspected before doing so. You know your home best, but even a practiced eye can overlook a property’s flaws if they have not been professionally trained to know what to look for. A pre-listing inspection can help you understand your home’s condition and give you insight into how to price it accordingly.
A pre-listing inspection can bring you serious peace of mind when it comes time to sell. The process of buying and selling a home is always stressful, but with a thorough inspection report at the ready, you’ll go into negotiations feeling confident about your property. While not technically required, a pre-listing inspection minimizes the risk of unwelcome surprises about your home’s value.
When You Inherit Property
Inherited property can be a blessing – or a headache. Whether having a house gifted to you comes as a pleasant surprise or a burden to bare, an inspection can help keep the experience as positive as possible. Amidst tracking down utility accounts, updating the homeowner’s insurance policy and covering any remaining mortgage payments, it’s easy for inspections to get lost in the shuffle. Be sure to prioritize a home inspection within the first few weeks of ownership, as the findings can help you better maintain the property in the long-term.
You may be torn between selling the home, renting it out or moving in yourself. An inspection can clue you into the home’s condition and make it a little easier to decide. A home inspector can bring you up to speed on the property’s condition, any potential problems on the horizon and any defects in the systems of the home. Address any safety or maintenance issues now and you’ll save yourself serious stress down the line!
Before You Become a Landlord
Getting into the real estate business is exciting, but many first-time landlords find themselves in hot water when they move too quickly. If you’re considering renting out your place, have a certified home inspector take a look before you pull the trigger. Landlords have a duty to provide reasonably safe accommodations for their tenants, and if you fail to identify hazards on your property, you could face serious legal trouble.
Consider lead paint regulations, for instance. Many homes built before the 1970s contain lead-based paint. While it’s perfectly legal – though not exactly safe – for you to continue living amidst the dangerous substance, exposing your tenants to lead paint is a different story. You’ll have to disclose the presence of the paint when signing the lease, and a failure to identify it ahead of time won’t relieve you of liability. Given just how much is riding on your rental property’s safety, a home inspection is one of the best investments a new landlord can make.
A Homeowner’s Not-So-Secret Weapon
There’s no wrong time to order a home inspection. Whether you’re buying a new house, renting it out to tenants or considering selling, an inspection can give you the intel you need to make informed decisions. In fact, inspections can even offer homeowners new insight into a property they’ve lived in for years. A thorough inspection report is truly the not-so-secret weapon of smart home owners everywhere. Give yourself the gift of peace of mind – if you can’t remember the last time your house was examined by a professional, call an ICA-certified home inspector today!