Wednesday, December 7, 2011 / by Justin Hoffmann
A home inspector does a physical inspection of the structure and systems of your prospective home. This means while may love how beautiful the living room’s wood floors are, your inspector can tell if the floor itself will stand for another 20 years. Are there joists that are rotten and need replaced? Is there moisture damage that needs addressed?
What are the basic systems that an inspection covers? You should expect to get a report on the foundation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, heating and air systems, plumbing (interior), electrical systems and the roof. It’s important that you are present during the inspection so you can be sure that all the systems are checked and that you understand what the problems are and where they’re found.
The inspection itself will set you back several hundred dollars. The amount ranges by region and by inspector. Feel free to ask your real estate agent for suggestions on who to hire. They may have a referral list for you. You can also ask friends and family if they have used someone in the past who they would recommend. If you don’t have anyone to ask, then be sure to check out the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) website, which can help you find inspectors by zip code.
If you are wanting to check for mold or other speciality issues, you’ll most likely need to hire a trained mold specialist to come and inspect the home. This would be a good idea on homes that have mold red flags, such as growth on the walls or floor.
They may be a simple fix, such as repairing a leak and replacing drywall. It could also be a more serious issue, such as black mold, which can wreak havoc on the health of anyone living in the home.
Why is a home inspection really necessary? Your home is a big investment. Most people are on a tight budget and have little room for unexpected expenses. You may have allotted your extra funds towards remodeling the outdated kitchen only to find out that you have $10,000 worth of plumbing issues to fix instead.
Knowing about an issue before closing gives you the upper-hand at the negotiating table. The home in good working order may have been worth $100,000, but with $10,000 of plumbing repairs needed, the price should now be $90,0000.
Just remember that even in new homes, there will be items your home inspector finds need attention. There is no perfect home. Take a moment to reflect on the inspection’s findings and decide if the work that needs done is something you’re willing to take on. You can also ask for the seller to repair these issues before you take possession of the home.
Buying a home can be a wonderful experience. Put a home inspection professional on your side and you’re reducing your risk of costly surprises in the future.
by Carla Hill