How to get the most from a home inspection
Getting a home inspection is a smart thing to do when buying a home as it could save your bank account some serious woo’s down the line. Take a look at some questions you may want to ask.
Include an inspection contingency in the sales contract.
As a real estate representative we always insist on a home inspection clause in a purchase and sale agreement. The buyer can then choose to do one or not.
Choose a qualified inspector
The best home inspectors have experience in the building industry and understand local building codes and requirements.
Ask what will be inspected and how long it will take.
The inspection should include a complete assessment of the interior and exterior of the house, from roof to foundation, as well as a thorough analysis of the electrical, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning systems. Ask to be filled in on any areas that were missed because they were too small or difficult to reach. On average, a home inspection should take two or three hours to perform. Larger and older homes may take a full day.
An inspector can’t uncover everything, such as wiring issues covered by drywall or mold that can’t be seen beneath shower tiles. An inspector can tell you that the air conditioning system is 11 years old and has a life expectancy of 12, but he or she can’t tell you when it will fail. Also realize that most older homes have some deficiencies or areas of concern — be prepared to decide what you can live with and what you can’t.
Ask what kind of report will be provided.
Request a sample copy before hiring the inspector. If the report is little more than a checklist, choose a different inspector. A complete report should be several pages long (20 or more is not uncommon) and should describe what was inspected and what problems, if any, were uncovered. If there are serious issues or problems the inspector can’t diagnose, the report should recommend further examination by a structural engineer or other specialist.
Plan to attend the inspection.
The best way to understand what the inspector is reporting is to see exactly what he is talking about. If it is unclear to you whether something uncovered is a major or minor issue, ask.
Follow up on the inspector’s recommendations.
Don’t wait until after closing to get estimates for repairs, as some issues can turn out to be more expensive than anticipated.