When you're buying a home, getting a good home inspection is crucial and could save you from a home improvement nightmare. An inspection will cost you a few hundred dollars, but finding out about possible structural damages or other pitfalls make it well worth the money. In order to make the most of this experience, here are a few things to keep in mind then having a home inspection done on a house you may want to buy.
Do Your Own Pre-Inspection
Before the inspector arrives, be sure to spend some time familiarizing yourself with the house. Try the light switches, look for peeling paint, inspect the decks and porches, find out where the electrical panels are, and take a look at the appliances. Make notes of anything you want the inspector to look into. This may end up becoming your house, so be sure to get to know it.
Be sure that everything the inspector will need to look at is accessible. The attic should be cleared of any possible obstructions, the space under the sinks should be cleared, and walls should be exposed. Most of this should be done by the current owner, but sometimes, you may have to be sure that the inspector's work will be unencumbered.
Be Sure the Utilities are On
More often than not, the seller will still have the utilities on, however, that is not always the case, especially for homes that have been through foreclosure or been vacant for any long stretch of time. In order for home inspectors to be thorough, they've got to be able to see how things run, how things drain, and how things flow.
After making your own notes about the house, it is important to actually be there while the inspection is taking place in order to share your concerns and to understand any concerns the inspector may have. It's also important for you to inspect the inspector. Watch for body language and his or her responses to what they find. Be open to fully communicating about any potential problems. This also gives you time to learn more about the home for yourself, including how the systems work, where the water shut-off valve is, and what maintenance the property will require.
Choose Your Inspector Carefully
While your realtor may have suggestions on a home inspector you should use, it's important that you fully trust them. Check with your friends and family for someone they may vouch for or recommend. And be sure to vet them through the American Society of Home Inspectors or nachi.org.
Be Sure Your Inspection Includes Sewer, Plumbing, and Electrical
Believe it or not, not all home inspectors have these items on their checklist so be sure to ask about them. It is one thing to ensure that the foundation is sound, and that is something that many people can pick out at first glance, but wiring and piping are a bit more difficult, yet still very important. And be sure to ask the seller to disclose any issues they've noticed, preferably in writing or through email in case there is an issue to contend with.
Check the Furnace and Water Heater
Find out when these appliances were installed and when they were last serviced. They're not inexpensive to replace so you should get a good idea of how much time they have left on them, something that any good home inspector should be able to tell you.
Test the Water
Since roughly 15 percent of American homes get their water from a well, it's a good idea to have it checked for contaminants. Even if the home is on the public water system, getting it tested could inform you about the state of the pipes and the integrity of the plumbing.
Look for Mold Problems
Mold remediation can be a costly endeavor. Be sure to find out if there are any leaks that may contribute to it or any damage that has already been done.
Account for the Costs
During the inspection and afterward, add up the costs of whatever will be necessary. Anything that will need to be repaired, replaced, or upgraded. Get a good idea of what this is going to cost you before you make your offer on the home. These are all things that you may be able to negotiate with the seller.
Most importantly, don't be afraid to ask questions of your home inspector. Even if they start talking about things you don't understand, don't hold back from asking them for clarification. This very well could be your home so be sure you understand everything that's involved in making it a great place for you and your family to live.
I hope this information has offered you some insight when prepping for an inspection. Whenever you're ready to look for a new home, I hope I can be of further assistance. If you’d like to explore some homes currently available, you can look through some downtown Sarasota listings here and contact me when you’d like to go for a tour of possibilities.
Sarasota Area Real Estate Specialist