Patrick Russo, Realtor®'s Blog
A home inspection is a key part of the property buying process. If you fail to allocate the necessary time and resources to conduct an in-depth inspection, you may struggle to identify various home problems before you finalize your property purchase. And if you cannot identify such issues, you risk buying a home that may require costly, time-intensive upgrades in the foreseeable future.
Ultimately, there are many things that you can do to ensure that a home inspection provides you with the insights you need to determine whether to proceed with a home purchase. These include:
1. Hire an Expert Home Inspector
A home likely is one of the biggest purchases you'll make in your lifetime. As such, there is no need to leave anything to chance, especially when it comes to conducting a house inspection. But if you hire an expert home inspector, you can get the support you need to conduct a comprehensive property inspection.
Look for a home inspector who possesses extensive experience. Also, you may want to ask a home inspector for client referrals before you make your final hiring decision. If you get in touch with a home inspector's past clients, you can find out what it's like to work with this professional and proceed accordingly.
2. Attend Your Home Inspection
You are under no obligation to attend your home inspection. But in most instances, it is beneficial to attend an inspection.
A home inspection usually requires just a few hours to complete, but the benefits of attending an inspection may last a lifetime.
For example, during an inspection, a home inspector may be able to provide you with property repair insights that otherwise won't be included in your inspection report. Meanwhile, attending a home inspection allows you to ask questions and gain the insights you need to make an informed decision about a home purchase.
3. Analyze Your Home Inspection Results
Spend some time reviewing a home inspection report – you'll be happy you did. If you assess a home inspection report closely, you can use all of the information at your disposal to decide whether to continue with a house purchase.
Furthermore, if you have questions about a home inspection report, don't hesitate to reach out to the inspector who conducted the evaluation. This inspector can respond to any report questions that you may have and provide you with information that could prove to be exceedingly valuable as you make your final decision about a house.
As you get ready to buy a home, it certainly helps to have a best-in-class real estate agent at your side too. This housing market professional can offer recommendations and suggestions about what to do following a home inspection. Plus, he or she can provide plenty of guidance at each stage of the property buying journey.
Take the guesswork out of a home inspection – use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost the likelihood of completing a successful property inspection before you finalize a home purchase.
The home inspection may seem like a standard thing that you need to go through in the process of buying a home. Really, you’re paying for the home inspection, and it’s a huge opportunity for you. As a home buyer, you should look at the home inspection as an educational event for homeowners. You’ll learn a lot about the history of the property that you’ll be living in. From water that may have been present in the basement to a leaky roof, you’ll get to know your new home and how everything works.
When you hire your home inspector, he or she may seem like they are talking to experts. For this reason, it’s a good idea to ask questions during the inspection so that you can clarify what the inspector is talking bout.
Is This Problem Urgent?
It’s a good idea to see how soon any problems in the house need to be fixed. If the roof needs to be replaced within 3-6 months and your finances are tight, it’s something that you’ll want to know about. While home inspectors will reserve their opinions about a property overall, professionally, they can tell you how big of an issue certain things are. You may need to hire a certified professional who specializes in a certain area like plumbing or electricity for further evaluation in many cases. For your own knowledge, it’s a good idea to know what needs to be done around the property and when.
You’re never going to remember where everything is in the house on the first pass. It’s a good idea to carry a notepad with you when you’re going through the home. Make notes of any major issues, where they are, and how to fix them. This way, even after the inspection report is sent, you’ll have something to refer back to.
Is This At The End Of Its Lifespan?
Your home inspector will take a look at all of the moving parts of the home that you’re about to purchase. This includes the appliances. Is the dishwasher on its last leg? Will you need a new refrigerator very soon? Is that creak in the floor more than just a problem with a floorboard? If you find out what to expect from both the major and minor issues in the home, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect from the property overall.
Home inspectors give you an overview of the condition of a home. Inspectors will tell you that there is no home that comes completely clean when it comes to an inspection. Even a brand new home that was just built will have some issues. While it may not be the most fun to find out that your new home needs a new roof, at least you and your realtor will know what needs to be brought to the negotiation table if you decide to go through with the purchase of the home.
The sellers of your home will not be present during a home inspection. It constitutes a conflict of interest. In fact, in some cases, you may never actually get to meet the occupants of a home you’re considering buying. There’s ways that you can get in touch with the sellers. That’s through your realtor. It is a good idea to ask the sellers of a home plenty of questions that may concern you. It will help you to make a more informed final decision on the home you’re considering buying. Getting these answers also can help you to know what to expect once you actually live in the home. Unless you’re buying a short sale or a foreclosure property, you’ll have likely have this opportunity to ask questions. Most of the things that you’ll ask the seller will be a bit more open-ended. Here’s some ideas of what you might want to ask the sellers of a home:
Have you ever had water in your basement?
While the home inspection can reveal traces of mold and mildew, the fact that water comes into the basement on a regular basis is a problem. Other questions related to this would be, “Do you have a sump pump?” If there are any major signs of water damage, you can ask that it be repaired before you even buy the home.
Have you had any structural problems repaired? Are there any cracks in the walls?
The seller will answer these questions honestly, allowing you to better assess the condition of the home.
Has your roof ever leaked? When was the last time the roof was replaced?
The typical roof on a home lasts about 25-30 years. If the roof was replaced more recently, you won’t have to worry about it for years to come. The home inspection will also reveal a lot about the roof and any water damage that may have occurred.
How do the heating and cooling systems work in the home? How much do you typically spend on these utilities?
You should find out from the occupants how well the heating and cooling systems work in the home and if there are any problems that have been found. You can also get an idea from the previous owners of how much money you can expect to spend on gas, oil, and electricity in the home. Your home inspector will also give the heating and or cooling systems a good inspection and let you know if he sees any potential problems with the unit.
Have you made any recent improvements to the home?
A bonus to any home purchase is if a seller has made any major recent upgrades to the home. Everything that the sellers have done from replacing windows to updating the kitchen to replacing the roof is all things that you won’t have to worry about until a much later date.
Asking questions during a home inspection is always a great idea. It’s also even better if you get an idea of the condition of the home from the sellers themselves. The bottom line is that when you’re buying a home, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions!