Always get a home inspection before you buy.
Why? Because you don’t know what you don’t know. Have a licensed home inspector go through any property you plan to buy. This is your best opportunity to learn what to expect after the deal is closed.
Even with new construction, don’t assume the builder or contractors did everything right simply because the house passed code.
Be sure you hire someone who is competent, thorough and trustworthy. Ask for dependable referrals and do some research before choosing an inspector. Always ask about licensing, professional affiliations and credentials, and whether the inspector carries errors and omissions insurance.
When having a property inspected, go along with the inspector, ask questions and listen as he or she gives a professional opinion about the house. Reading a written report is not nearly as valuable as being there, discussing items as they’re found, and leaving with a truer picture of the condition of the property.
If the inspector recommends repairs, have them done before the closing or, at the very least, obtain estimates to know what the alterations and repairs will cost you after closing. Just because something looks or sounds minor, don’t wait until after you own the home to find that the problem is much bigger (and more expensive) than you expected.
After the inspection, if needed, you may want to get professional follow up. For example, a home inspector can tell you how long your type of heating system should last and how old yours is, but can’t tell when yours will fail. If your inspector informs you that the system is near the end of it’s expected life, a heating contractor can tell you the condition of the one you’re buying.
The great thing about home inspectors is that they are paid to find what’s wrong with the house. Their only interest is the condition of the property, not the outcome of the sale, so pay attention to what they tell you. They are your last opportunity to protect yourself from potential hidden expenses before you own the home.
The American Home Inspectors Directory says, “Look for credentials, experience, and reputation over price.
All home inspectors have strong points and areas for improvement. You might choose a cheaper home inspector and think you are saving yourself money. However, saving $50 on your inspection could cost you thousands of dollars later if the inspector misses problems. Typically, the best inspectors are not the cheapest. If you want to save money, possibly thousands, then don’t choose the cheapest inspector. Choosing a thorough and experienced home inspector is the best route to take.”
There are many things covered in a home inspection, the focus of which is on the structural, mechanical, electrical condition of the property.
Things not covered in a home inspection include:
- Radon Gas
- Lead Paint
- Toxic Mold
- Pest Control
These items require a specific license to inspect and identify.
What’s been your experience with home inspections?