When you're looking to buy or sell a home, one of the last things you want to have to do is put in more money -- but investing in a licensed home inspection is well worth it. If you're considering an inspection, there are a few things you should know and take into consideration as you choose the right home inspector for you.
- First, you should know that the purpose of a home inspection is to help assess the value of the property based on its roof, foundation, heating and cooling systems, plumbing, electrical work, water and sewage, fire and safety issues, as well as insect, water, or fire damage.
- Know that the home inspection can be used as a contingency in your purchase offer, which could allow you to back out of an offer free of penalty if defects are revealed and not corrected by the seller.
- A home inspection usually lasts about 2-3 hours. While the owner of the home typically isn't present at a buyer-requested inspection, as a seller you should make yourself available for any questions. And if it's a home you really want to buy, it certainly won't hurt for you to be there to learn as much as you can about every nook and cranny.
- The home inspector should be looking for safety issues and defects both major and minor. He or she can also tell you what needs to be replaced, what needs to be repaired, and on anything inconclusive, how often it should be monitored.
- On the outside of the house, the home inspector will look for damage in the exterior walls, both cosmetic and structural; evidence of foundation problems; the grading of the yard and how rainwater drains; shape and ventilation of the garage; and any kind of roof damage, including the condition of the gutters.
- Inside, the home inspector looks at the plumbing; adequacy of the wiring; age of the furnace and state of the heating/air conditioning system; the condition of the water heater and kitchen appliances; the ventilation of the laundry room; fire safety throughout the house; and the shape of the bathroom, including issues with mold and mildew.
- Home inspectors can't see everything. For instance, although they can look for evidence of problems with the foundation, they don't have the X-ray vision necessary to actually see the foundation. They also aren't required to check for termite damage or mold inside the walls. However, there are home inspectors who do carry that extra certification, so if you have an inkling that termites or mold might be an issue, make that a prerequisite for your home inspector.
- Although the licensing for a home inspector includes a 120 hour online course, a test, and a criminal background check, when you're hiring a home inspector you want to get one who is also certified through the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) to ensure that your inspection meets the highest standards.
- If the home has a pool, be sure that your home inspector is also a Certified Pool Operator or a state licensed pool contractor. You can also hire a pool specialist to evaluate the pool separately of the home inspection.
- If you're going to get a Wind Mitigation Verification Inspection for storm preparedness, it will only be valid if it is conducted by a licensed Professional Engineer, a registered architect, a Licensed General Contractor, or a certified wind inspector.
All in all, a home inspection helps both buyer and seller. Ultimately, it's also good for the house. If it's going to be a home, it deserves to be in good health.
Do you have other questions about buying or selling a home? Get in touch with a professional Realtor and contact Julian today.
Sarasota Area Real Estate Specialist