This is your guide to getting a house looked out, from finding an inspector to handling surprises.
You’ll experience all the feels during a house inspection, that’s the first thing you should know.
After the showing, the inspection may be the longest time you spend inside the house.
Following that is… anxiousness. What if the inspector discovers a mistake? So incorrect that you can’t purchase the home?
Next comes impatience. Since when is the home-buying process complete?
Still not. But you are nearby. So, exhale deeply. Because the following is the most crucial fact concerning home inspections: As a buyer, you simply cannot miss them. This is why.
Your Protector is a Home Inspector
Before making a long-term commitment, an inspector helps you make sure a house isn’t concealing anything. (Consider this: You wouldn’t even go out for coffee with a stranger without getting to know them.)
Any issues with the residence that are reasonably discoverable are found by a home inspector (a leaky roof, faulty plumbing, etc.). By hiring an inspector, you are doing due diligence. It helps to be aware of what goes into a standard home inspection in order to select a good one (more on how to accomplish that soon).
Reviews of Seller’s Property Disclosures
The seller’s property disclosure statement will be examined by the home inspector prior to the inspection. The statement specifies any problems the seller is aware of that could lower the home’s value (each state has its own regulations for what sellers must disclose on these forms; some have tougher restrictions than others).
The disclosure takes the form of an overview and addresses things like:
- Pest infestation
- Roof leaks
- Foundation damage
- Other problems, depending on what your state mandates.
An inspector must complete the following three tasks:
- Identify the house’s issues that they can notice.
- Propose fixes
- Create a written report, generally with images, highlighting any problems you have found.
You and your agent need to pay close attention to this report. You will use it to ask the seller for repairs. (We’ll discuss how you’ll do it in a moment, as well.)
What Home Inspector Won’t Check
In general, inspectors only look for issues in homes that are visible to the human eye. They won’t knock down barriers or employ X-ray vision to spot concealed flaws.
Additionally, inspectors won’t put their lives at jeopardy. For instance, they won’t climb up to inspect for missing or broken shingles if the roof is too high or steep. They’ll instead use binoculars to look at it.
They are also unable to foresee the future. An inspector cannot tell you with certainty when a roof will need to be replaced, but they may give you a general sense of how long it will last.
Finally, generalists make up a lot of house inspectors. A basic inspection typically excludes a careful analysis of:
- Swimming pools
- Septic systems
- Structural engineering work
- The ground beneath a home
- Fireplaces and chimneys
For example, when it comes to wood-burning fireplaces, most inspectors will examine the operation of the dampers, look for obstructions like bird nests in the chimney, and note whether they think it’s necessary to do a more thorough safety inspection.
For between $300 and $600 per chimney, you can hire a qualified chimney inspector if you’re worried about a fireplace’s safety; search for one through the Chimney Safety Institute of America.
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