For most people, buying a house is a major milestone in their lives. As excited as they may be about purchasing a new home, buyers should temper their enthusiasm by making sure that they are getting a house that is well worth the investment. Having the home inspected carefully prior to closing could spare them from buying a house that could drain their finances and leave them dissatisfied with their purchase.
Home Inspection Overview
A home inspection is a process that involves thoroughly examining the home and its adjoining structures for any signs of defects or damages. When an inspector goes through a home for this purpose, he or she is on the lookout for anything that could cause the house to depreciate in value or call into question the price for which the home is listed.
Among other defects, the inspector will look for damages like cracks in the foundation, leaky pipes, or holes in the roof. He or she will then reveal these defects to both the buyer and the seller so both parties can renegotiate the price or the seller can have them repaired before the transaction is closed.
Both the buyer and the seller can benefit from a home inspection. Sellers, for instance, may be well-advised to have their homes inspected before they listed them for sale on the local market.
A home inspection will help the seller price the house and also decide whether or not to have damages repaired prior to listing. If the damages go unaddressed, they could drop the price in the house or motivate the seller to consider offers that are lower than the asking price.
Buyers likewise are typically required to have their prospective homes inspected prior to closing. Once they are aware of any damages or defects to the home, they can ask the seller to have these issues repaired before closing. If the seller refuses, the buyer can renegotiate the price or back out of the contract.
A home inspection benefits both the seller of the home and the people who want to buy it. Most states require a professional home inspection before a home sale can be closed and finalized.
Typical Home Inspection
So exactly what does a home inspector look for when he or she is inspecting a home. To be more specific, a professional home inspector will closely scrutinize both the inside and outside of a house as well as any adjoining structures to it.
When the inspector examines the inside of a house, he or she will closely look at structures like:
- the electrical system
- the heater or furnace
- the air conditioning system
- the ventilation system
- water heater
- septic system
When it comes to inspecting the exterior of the home, the inspector will examine structures like:
- the roof
- drainage system
- retaining walls
plants or vegetation that could impact the structure and integrity of the house
The inspector will then report back to the seller, the buyer, and the involved real estate agents and attorneys. Based on the findings of the inspection, all involved parties can then decide whether or not to renegotiate the deal or to allow the buyer to back out of the contract if the seller cannot or chooses not to repair the indicated damages.
It is important to note that a home inspector will only observe and inspect the surface appearance of the home. The inspector cannot make any alterations or changes to the house. He or she also cannot remove carpeting, tear into walls, or lift up shingles when inspecting the home. It is impossible for an inspector to examine every minute inch of the home.
As such, it is crucial that the buyer and his or her real estate agent or attorney walk through and examine the home themselves. They should use their own best judgment in addition to the professional home inspection before deciding whether or not to close the transaction.
Specialized Home Inspections
In some circumstances, buyers or sellers may insist on having a specialized home inspection performed before closing. A specialized inspection can be done if the buyer or seller has concerns about the condition of the home. It can also be performed on the recommendation of the general home inspector.
During a specialized home inspection, the person conducting it will look more closely at the condition of the house. This type of home inspection can reveal:
- damages to the chimney
- issues with the septic system
- the presence of mold
- the existence of lead
- pest infestations
damages or concerns to exterior structures like the swimming pool or hot tub
Some states require specialized home inspections before buyers can complete the purchasing process.
A home inspection can protect both the buyer and seller of a house. It can reveal damages that could drop the asking price, alert the seller to defects that need to be addressed, or cause a buyer to back out of a contract. It allows both parties to ensure that the home is worth the price for which it is listed.