Do I really need a home inspection?

Finally, you found a house you really like.  Preliminarily, everything looks fine with the house.  Do I really need to pay an extra fee to someone?  My answer is going to be yes.

A home inspector is an independent, qualified, licensed individual who evaluates or comments about defects or areas of concerns for the home you are about to purchase.  For a few hundred dollars, you can save you thousands for a qualified person who gives an opinion about the condition of a home. Even more importantly, you may not want to purchase a home after you read an inspector’s report. In some cases, you may want to renegotiate the price of the home after the home inspection reveals defects.

A home inspection is a useful informational tool that will permit you to make a decision about purchasing your home.  A contract of sale usually provides for the property to be sold in “as is” condition. A word of advice, a home inspection is the last chance you have to negotiate your contract price or request repairs of the seller.

Like any person you hire, you want to make sure that the home inspector is qualified and licensed. The home inspector should comment on the structural integrity of the building, operability of appliances, roof, and major mechanical systems, including the plumbing, electrical, and heating and air conditioning systems.  Your inspector’s comments about the condition of a home are not usually something that is known by the prospective buyer, sometimes the homeowner, or the realtor.

Home inspectors also make observations of the useful life of the appliances, roof, and mechanical systems.  All visible defects should be noted in the report.  There should also be comments on recommendations for repairs, including, imminent repairs.  Some inspectors also comment on aesthetic related repairs.

Some of the defects a home inspector checks, includes, among others:

  • Cracked foundations
  • Hidden building sections with little support
  • Termite damage
  • Defective heating and air conditioning systems
  • Leaky roofs and leaks through walls
  • Environmental hazards, i.e., mold
  • Hazardous electrical aluminum and lead wiring
  • Inadequate water pressure
  • Drainage problems
  • Fire hazards
  • Asbestos
  • Radon
  • Carbon monoxide and smoke detector placement
  • Energy efficiency
  • Code violations

Home inspectors will try to limit the scope of the inspection to those defects which are visual.  Obviously, home inspectors, no matter how qualified cannot see behind the painted walls or above the ceilings, and thus, will limit their opinion to those items which can be seen

You absolutely should be present during a home inspection.  During a home inspection, you can ask the inspector any questions. The typical time for a home inspection is about two hours.

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