Obtaining a detailed report about the home you are about to acquire provides some peace of mind and allows you to buy with confidence. If you have purchased a home before, you may already be familiar with the home inspection process. Here are five things you need to know the next time you get a home inspection:
Home inspectors can provide an in-depth knowledge of the home's most important components. Even though building codes and construction practices have evolved over time, a qualified inspector should be able to evaluate the integrity of a home, does not matter if it is brand new or 100 years old. The primary objective is to create a comprehensive assessment of the lifespan of each of the home's components, including the roof, heating and air conditioning, electrical and foundation.
A home inspector may see things the average buyer would overlook. The average buyer wouldn't bring a ladder to climb onto the roof or poke around in the attic. In most cases, a qualified inspector will. Besides that, usually, inspectors are equipped with thermal imaging technology that will allow them to detect moisture behind drywall, which is indicative of a mold or foundation problem. Water damage can look different from one home to another, but a professional would easily be able to identify it.
A proper home inspection can't be done in a hurry. The length of time of an inspection varies depending on the home's age, size and condition. You may wish to be present, along with your Realtor, so the inspector can share the details of his findings. This will be an opportunity for you to ask questions and get as much information as possible on your new home. The inspection alone may last around three hours, with some additional time required to prepare the written report. Having a hard copy of the report will be handy for future reference.
There are limits to what a home inspector can do. It's important to have realistic expectations. Home inspectors cannot provide a guarantee or warranty. They simply give professional opinions on the visible aspects of the home. Will there be problems that won't be noticeable on the surface? Possibly. Legally, they are not allowed to remove drywall or take anything apart without the homeowner's written consent. Moreover, they may not be able to go on the roof if you are buying in the middle of winter or put themselves in an unsafe situation just for the sake of an inspection.
There is no such thing as a "perfect" home. First-time buyers, in particular, put a lot of emphasis on a home inspection. Buying a home is a major investment, and it's important to know your projected maintenance requirements for the next ten years. Keep in mind, however, that every single home has its flaws. Not only should you not let small deficiencies scare you away from a good deal, but also, don't bite off more than you can chew with a home that may give you more headaches than it's worth.