A home inspection observes and reports on the condition of a real estate property, usually when it is on the market to be sold.
A qualified home inspector assesses the condition of a property, including its heating and cooling systems, plumbing, electrical work, water, and sewage, as well as some fire and safety issues. In addition, the home inspector will look for evidence of insect, water, or fire damage or any other issue that may affect the value of the property.
How a Home Inspection Works
Potential home buyers often hire home inspectors to research a property and acquire a written report that details its condition, including an assessment of necessary or recommended repairs, maintenance concerns, and any other potentially costly issues. The home inspector will assess the physical structure of the home, from the foundation to the roof, as well as the home’s systems. This assessment will determine if the home is up to code.
A home inspection can tell a homebuyer a lot about a newly-constructed home or an existing house, and save them money and aggravation. For sellers, meanwhile, having an inspection done before putting their home on the market can afford them the chance to make structural repairs or upgrade and replace systems that may increase the likelihood of a sale.
Typically, a home inspection is done after a sales contract or purchase agreement between a buyer and a seller has been signed. For this reason, it’s important that the contract include an inspection contingency (also known as a “due diligence” contingency), which allows a buyer time to find an inspector, schedule and attend—if so desired—an inspection, receive the inspector’s report, and decide how to proceed based on the information provided.
Depending on the report’s assessment, which can include everything from material defects that negatively impact a home’s value to minor cosmetic defects, a buyer may decide to proceed with the sale, schedule additional inspections, renegotiate the sale price with the homeowner, ask that certain repairs be made, or cancel the contract. If the buyer requests major repairs, they may also ask for a reinspection with the original inspector to verify that the original problem identified has been remedied.
How to Pick a Home Inspector
Home inspectors play an integral role in the vast majority of real estate transactions. It is easy to see why picking the right home inspector is vital.
You want to know that the home you are buying is something you will be satisfied with. Given the magnitude of the role a home inspector plays, it will be crucial to choose the right one.
Here are a few pointers to consider in your search for a home inspector:
- Get a reference from your real estate agent.
- Look for a company that is bonded and insured.
- Verify that the inspection company only does inspections – not home repairs and renovations.
- Find out what the inspection includes and how long it takes.
- Get references for your potential home inspectors.
- Please verify that you can accompany the inspector while he or she goes through the home.
- Request a sample inspection report.
- Compare the cost of hiring different companies.
- See if you can find a home inspector with experience in the type of home you are looking at.
- Choose an ASHI certified or InterNACHI inspector. These are highly respected organizations that offer home inspectors higher levels of training and certifications.
When trying to find a home inspector, you may also want to use Google to help. Try searching such as “home inspection near me” or “home inspectors near me.” Doing an online search should provide plenty of options for local home inspectors.