In the United States, the median home price is around $277,000. That is quite the investment!
When deciding to purchase a home, the buyer should do everything to make sure that it is a good choice and a wise use of their money. One of the most important ways that can be done is through a home inspection before finalizing the purchase.
During an inspection, the home inspectors will look over the whole house and look for potential problems.
Home inspections are a crucial part of the home buying process, so let's take a deeper look into them.
What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection happens during the closing process of a home purchase and is designed to protect the buyer from purchasing a home with unknown major problems.
The buyer or their realtor will set up the home inspection by finding an inspector they trust to search the house. The buyer can be present for the inspection or not, depending on what they choose. But they should be present for a run-through of what was found.
The inspector will work systematically through the home; outside, inside, windows, doors, attics, utility breaker box, crawlspaces, appliances, and more. As they look at all of these things they are looking for issues or signs of past issues.
If any problems are found, the home inspectors let the potential buyer know in detail what they are.
The potential buyer can then take those issues to the seller and work out a new deal for purchase. They might require repairs to be made, change their offer, or leave the purchase altogether.
The inspection is an integral part of the home-buying process so it is important to find the right one. The American Society of Home Inspectors can give you tips on what to look for in a good home inspector.
Why is Home Inspection Necessary?
Buying a home is an expensive process with a lot of extra fees on top of the price of the home. The added cost of a home inspection can seem like maybe it is not necessary and can be skipped.
It is a very bad idea to skip the home inspection part of the process.
First of all, most lenders require the home inspection to be done in order to approve financing. They want to make sure that their investment is solid as well. If you want to buy the house you have to do everything the lender wants.
Beyond the lender, the home inspection is one of the best ways to protect yourself in this situation. Once you close on the house, there is no going back and you own the whole thing. Problems and all.
Having a third party come in and look over the house keeps you from buying a house will all kinds of hidden problems you will have to pay for eventually.
What Do Home Inspectors Look For During an Inspection?
Most home inspectors follow a professional home inspection checklist when conducting their investigation. As the home inspector works their way down that checklist, they know that they have looked at everything and not missed anything.
The inspector is looking for any indication of a bigger problem. Since they can't rip walls apart or take the flooring out, they just have to look for the evidence.
It is also important to remember that they cannot check everything. A good home inspection does not mean that there will be no problems found in the home after purchase.
But a home inspection does help to provide confidence when purchasing a home.
What Common Issues are Found in a Home Inspection?
Not every house is the same and every inspection is a little bit different. Some problems are found pretty commonly during these inspections.
It may be helpful to know what common issues are so you can double-check to make sure your home inspector looked into those things.
When you think of issues that might come up during a home inspection, the outdoor areas of the house may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But there are actually a lot of things outside that could become major problems.
The main thing that home inspectors will look at the outside is the sloping or grading of the property towards the house. This is the degree to which the ground slopes away from the house.
It is crucial to make sure that the slope goes away from the house and at the right angle. Generally, the slope should grade down six inches every ten feet but that may vary depending on the exact location.
The slope and grade of the yard are important because if not done properly when there is water it will run down into the basement or foundation of the house. Obviously, extra water is not a good thing and will cause all kinds of unwanted problems.
Home inspectors will also look for obvious physical damage to the stucco or siding on the house.
Some home inspectors will also get on the roof to inspect the shingles and look for any damage or missing areas. This includes the area around any chimney to make sure it is sealed off properly.
Checking the electrical work in a house can be quite tricky because everything is inside of the walls, which clearly cannot be ripped down!
But the home inspector can look at the outlet and the breaker box to make sure that everything there is up to the set standards and safety.
The plumbing is similar to electrical work because it is all hidden in the walls and floors.
For this section of the home inspection, the inspector will look at the plumbing fixtures for obvious leaks or drips. They also will look for signs of previous water damage, like bubbling floors or stains on the walls.
As a part of the plumbing inspection, they will also look at the seals around the fixtures. Making sure all of the seams are caulked correctly can help prevent water damage.
Other important areas to check that often have issues are appliances. Repairs or replacements on these items can be expensive so it is extra helpful for the inspector to find something before purchase.
The home inspector will check things like the water heater to make sure it meets standards and has no visible problems.
They will also check for the right amount of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These will also be tested to make sure they are working properly.
Another area that commonly has problems is the heating and cooling systems. The home inspector will visually inspect the filters for cleanliness standards and the system as a whole for efficiency.
The whole interior of the house will be checked during a home inspection but some places are more common for issues than others, so those are looked at more closely.
The windows will all be checked to make sure they are functioning properly and are up to the set code standards. This means that they open and shut the way they are supposed to. Also that they are completely sealed to keep any moisture out.
Crawlspaces, basements, and foundations often have added moisture which means that they can have mold or mildew inside. These areas will get extra attention to find any of that type of problem.
What to Do After a Home Inspection?
So you have the house inspectors come and check out the whole house, but what do you do with the list of things they find?
If some of the problems found are minor issues, the seller may be prepared to fix those things before moving forward. This is the ideal situation so you know that they are no longer an issue when you move in.
The seller may not be inclined to make the repairs, in that case, you have a few options. One would be to change the offer price and base it off of the repairs you will now have to make yourself.
Or if you feel like there are too many home inspection deal breakers, you can take back your offer altogether and look for a new house.
Purchasing a New Home
The job that home inspectors do is such an important one in the home-buying process. It is critical to know exactly what you are getting into before committing.
Even if the home inspection comes back clean, it is such a relief to know that it has been looked over by a professional.
Buying a new home is an exciting milestone and we are here to help make it as easy as possible with reliable real estate agents, 3D home tours, and much more.
To get started on your search, visit us today!