The home inspection is one of the most important steps in your home-buying process. This is when a qualified professional will come out and take a look around the home and identify problems that you may want to consider. Many mortgage lenders require that a home inspection be done before they will close on a loan. About 75% of all homebuyers have an inspection done before the mortgage closes. If an inspector does find a significant problem with the home, you may be able to back out of the sale, if you wish.
What the Inspector is Looking For
A home inspector is looking for visual signs of problems in the home. He will look around every part of the house and fill out a checklist of items that are common indicators of the overall condition of a home. His main focus will be on the following areas:
Exterior: Roof, soffits, chimneys, drainage systems, walls, decks
Interior: Electrical outlets, switches, windows, doors, plumbing fixtures
HVAC: Furnace, air conditioner, vents
Attic: Crawl space, ventilation, insulation
Any signs of current major problems, or concerns that one could come up in the near future, will be included in the home inspection report.
What the Inspector Doesn’t Do
The home inspector will climb into attics and crawl around a little to get a better look at things, but he’s not going to take things apart. The inspection he performs is mostly visual. If the home has any special systems installed, or you’re worried about specific problems with pests, etc., you will need to hire experts in these fields to perform their own inspections. While the inspector will notify you of repairs needed in a home, he doesn’t usually speculate about how long you have before the repair must be done. In other words, the inspector can tell you that the roof needs to be replaced sometime soon, but you’d need a roofing contractor to tell you if it can make it through one more winter or not.
An Unbiased Report
One of the main benefits you’ll receive by hiring a home inspector is getting unbiased information about your home. The seller, the real estate agent, and other parties involved in the sale of the home all have a financial stake in the sale going through, so they may downplay or completely leave out information about needed repairs. A home inspector is a third party who will get paid whether the home sells or not. He is free to be completely honest about the condition of the home. This potentially can save you thousands of dollars in repairs.