The home inspection is an important part of the home buying process because it lets the buyer know if there are any undisclosed problems with the home they’re buying. Should the inspection turn up any underlying issues, the buyer can usually walk away from the deal with his earnest money intact.
Below, we explore several helpful tips to make the home inspection process easy.
Get the Most Out of the Home Inspection
In most cases, a home inspection isn’t required, but having one done protects you (the buyer) from purchasing a home with underlying, expensive issues that’ll be your responsibility to fix after you sign on the dotted line. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your home inspection.
- Be present – you aren’t required to be at the home inspection but being there when it takes place lets you see the issues for yourself.
- Prepare yourself – bring a blank checklist and write down any questions you may have to ask the inspector once the inspection is complete.
- Review seller disclosures – take some time to look at any disclosures the sellers have made. Ask the inspector to pay special attention to these areas. If the home is a foreclosure, there likely won’t be any disclosures.
- Don’t interrupt the inspector – Allow the inspector to do his job. Reserve questions until after the inspection is complete.
- Ask questions – after the inspection is finished, ask any questions you may have before the inspector leaves. Have the inspector point out any major issues so you can see them for yourself.
A Personal Home Inspection Checklist
Having your own checklist of things to look at during the inspection will help address any concerns you may have. You can pass these concerns on to the inspector so he can pay special attention to these areas.
- Water damage – Look for evidence of water leaks or damage. Stains, bubbling, cracks, etc. in walls, ceilings, cabinets, attic, basement, below windows, etc.
- Appliances and major systems – make sure everything works
- Signs of age – old wiring, old windows, few outlets, cast iron plumbing
- Roof – look for damage or stains. How old is the roof? How soon will it need to be replaced?
- Water damage – foundation damage, mold, mildew, rot
- Foundation – cracks, raised foundation/walls, trees near the home (roots cause damage you can’t see)
The Cost of a Home Inspection
Because the home inspection is designed to protect the buyer, the buyer is responsible for the cost of the inspection. With that said, you can expect to pay between $300 and $500 for the inspection depending on the location of the home and its size and condition.
If you suspect anything like pest infestation, you’ll need a specialty inspection, which will cost extra. Specialty inspections aren’t usually included in a pre-sale visual home inspection.
Don’t let the cost deter you from getting a specialty inspection if you suspect something is wrong with the property. The last thing you want to do is end up with a home that needs major work before you can even move in.
The home inspection is an important, straightforward part of the homebuying process. Keep the above tips in mind as you prepare for your home’s inspection.