What is a Home Inspection and when do you have one?
A home inspection is a visual exam of the structure and systems of a house. It details problems with the property and if they’re serious enough to prevent a sale. The three main points of an inspection are physical condition, items in need of repair or replacement, and the remaining useful life of major systems. Most home buyers will have a home inspected once they have a Binding Agreement/Contract on a home and well before completing the purchase. Some home sellers will have their home inspected, before they place it on the market, in order to become aware of any issues or defects that they can have repaired prior to any potential buyers visiting the home.
A Home Inspection Report won’t cover defects that are not visible, inoperable systems (e.g., A/C during the winter), or some code violations.
It’s a very good idea to be at your inspection: you can ask the inspector questions, learn more about your new home and the inspector can point out areas of potential trouble. The home inspector might even offer some general maintenance tips.
You can expect the inspection to take 2-5 hours (old homes may take longer), and expect charges of $200-$500 depending on size.
The seller is not required to make any repairs, but the inspection report can be used to negotiate repairs or perhaps price adjustments with the seller.
To hire an inspector, get recommendations from your Realtor or from others who have used them, or search online for “Home Inspection.” Be sure to ask about references, memberships in professional associations, professional training, and experience.