Home Inspections

I get questions all the time by buyers about the home inspections. I have included some of the questions below and the answers I give. I hope this page is of help. 

Is a Home Inspection necessary? “YES”
A professionally conducted home inspection followed by a written evaluation is becoming a standard procedure in home buying because of increased buyer awareness. You should request an inspection of the physical condition of the property and its inclusions for any property you are thinking of purchasing. The inspection should be done by a professional inspector of your choice. The inspector knows where to look for problems. Most of the expensive problems are not noticeable to the untrained eye. These include mechanical, electrical, structural and plumbing. When you get your inspection remember to go over the report with your agent. If repairs are needed, your agent can negotiate them in your contract offer. 

What does a home inspection entail?
To do an adequate job, most home inspections take at least three hours, sometimes longer. A qualified inspector will follow Standards of Practice in conducting their inspection. The inspection consists of a physical inspection of the home with the purchaser present, followed by a written report detailing their findings. They report on the general condition of the home’s electrical, heating, and air systems, interior plumbing, roof, visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, and visible structure. A home inspection should cover:
  • Exterior, porch and deck (contiguous)
  • Foundation and walls  Chimneys and roofs
  • Windows, doors and attics, visible insulation
  • Electrical components and plumbing
  • Central heating and air conditioning
  • Basement/crawl spaces and garage
  • Ceilings, floors and visible structure.
Should I attend the home inspection?
You need to be at your home inspection and walk through the home with the inspector so he or she can point out problems to you that will go into the written report. You will receive a written report but you might want to take note of any problems so that you can go over them with your agent. Ask questions if you are not sure what the inspector is talking about. A structural home inspection isn’t enough. A structural inspection is what most buyers typically order. There are several types of inspections that should be done: 
  • Structural
  • Termite
  • Environmental
  • Mechanical
  • Electrical
  • plumbing 
What problems can a home inspection find?
I have compiled a quick list of some serious home problems that can be found during a home inspection and what you should do.
  • Bad Foundation and Roof - Unless you can negotiate a price reduction to cover cost, walk away. Worn roof most likely it will need to be replaced. If the seller will not do so, negotiate a lower price.
  • Termite Infestation - The house is probably in need of expensive structural repairs. Unless the seller is willing to help pay, it’s probably not a good investment.
  • Outdated Wiring - This can be expensive to correct, and is a dangerous problem. Negotiate with the seller after getting an estimate from an electrician.
  • Damaged Shower Pan - Get an estimate from a contractor if you find water under the shower, and negotiate with the seller to cover costs.
Protecting your investment, especially one as special as a new home, is crucial. An expert home inspection is often the most important step in securing that protection.  

What is the difference between an Appraisal and an Inspection
Dealing with appraisals and inspections are a big part of the stress in the home selling process. Both are used to evaluate the value of your home. One for the lender (Appraisal) and the other for the buyer (Inspection). Each property has its own unique features. The appraisers rely on many factors. Their experience, knowledge of the area, recent sales in the area , size and condition of the home and location. They consider damage to the property ( damaged flooring, old or not working appliances, broken windows and doors and damaged roofs etc.) Federal law requires states to have minimum standards and licensing practices for real estate appraisers. If the buyer is applying for a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage the appraiser must survey the physical condition of the home and disclose potential problems to the buyer. They have no obligation to inform the buyer if it is not a FHA Mortgage.

An appraisal can never be a substitute for a home inspection. The appraiser formulates his or her opinion of the property’s value for whoever the lender is, their  primary focus is on the value of the home and how they see it. The appraiser’s primary goal is to protect the lender not the seller or buyer.

The Home Inspector educates the buyer about the condition of the home and its major components. The Home Inspector looks at a home’s condition as it is right now and what  future problems may occur. This lets the buyer know what costly problems may be lurking. The Home Inspector’s primary goal is to protect the buyer.

Are all inspectors the same?    No! 
Home inspectors may have differing qualifications. Make sure your home inspector  has credentials and qualifications to do the job right. Make sure the inspector is an expert, with a background in plumbing, HVAC, electrical work or general contracting, or is a member of a professional organization such as the National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. (NAHI) or American Society of Home Inspectors. Errors and Omissions insurance supposedly protects you in the event the inspector makes a mistake. However, bear in mind, in some instances, that liability for errors is limited to the amount of the home inspection fee.

 Let Valerie Bomberger, ABR, AHWD with REMAX Harbor Country help you in the home buying process and answer questions on buying your first home.

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