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Purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial commitments many people make over the course of their lives. All homebuyers—from first-time homebuyers to those who’ve bought and sold many homes—can benefit from a home inspection when buying a home, because there are many benefits to having a home inspected by a qualified professional prior to committing to a purchase.
Prospective buyers might easily notice worn-out light switches, door dents, and floor scratches. These kinds of issues can be fixed with ease. A good home inspection could reveal hidden and more expensive structural issues. A home inspector can assess the state of the HVAC system, attic and visible insulation, plumbing, and electrical systems. Crucially, a home inspection can reveal more serious issues, such as uneven settling, which can affect the integrity of floors and walls. These serious issues might be extremely costly to rectify. A home inspector can determine unhealthy levels of radon which could affect the new owners.
A home inspection allows buyers to avoid incurring potential expenses such as these and provides an opportunity to opt out of an unwise home purchase.
If you’re considering purchasing a home, it’s wise to hire a home inspector to make sure your investment is sound and there are no serious issues with the home prior to buying it. Do your homework before you hire you hire a pro to inspect a house you want to buy: check with friends for home inspector recommendations, and look for your potential home inspector’s online review reviews. Next, make sure your possible inspector is professionally qualified to do the best inspection in your area.
Some states don’t require home inspectors to be licensed or certified. However, hiring a certified inspector ensures that they’ve been properly trained. Also, make sure they’re bonded and insured, so if the home inspector makes a costly error, they can cover the cost. The inspector will provide a complete report at the end of the inspection, and you can check out potential inspectors by asking for examples of prior reports to see whether a thorough inspection was carried out. Ask an inspector if they do their job full time, because it’s a good sign if they have enough business for a full-time salary. Lastly, see if the inspector is a member of a professional home inspector association, which is also a good sign of a dependable pro. If you do your homework up front, you’ll have peace of mind when you get your next home inspection.
When buying a new home, it makes sense to have a qualified home inspector perform a thorough house inspection to avoid costly and unexpected repairs in the future. For example, a home inspection can reveal structural issues, problems with a home’s HVAC system, or whether a home has settled unevenly. By hiring a qualified home inspector who’s bonded and carries errors and omissions insurance, a potential homebuyer is avoiding potential liability down the road. If the inspector misses something that should have been fixed before the sale, the buyer could wind up paying thousands of dollars after they’ve purchased the house.
If a home inspector isn’t properly insured, and they don’t notice or reveal a crucial flaw in a home’s physical integrity, they could still be liable for the cost of the expensive repair down the line. However, there’s no guarantee you could easily recover that money. Therefore, it’s best to hire a well-insured, licensed, and bonded home inspector who can cover any potential liabilities through their professional insurance policy.
The cost of hiring a home inspector varies according to a wide number of factors:
Furthermore, homeowners may start with a general home inspection for one fee, but go on to hire more specialized inspectors for deeper-dive inspections into specific issues. These issues might include such things as a bacteria count in a well inspection, a pest and dry-rot inspection, or a sewer and septic inspection. Prospective homebuyers should do their homework in advance to budget for a thorough home inspection that will deliver the most peace of mind.
There are several pros and cons to getting a pre-sale home inspection. Pros include:
On the other hand, there are some cons to getting a pre-sale home inspection:
Yes, a buyer can back out after a home inspection, but only if that’s written into the original purchase contract. There’s usually a limited time to back out and have earnest money returned, which is usually around three days. You could still back out after this deadline but you may not get your earnest money back.
It’s rare for a home inspection during a real estate deal to contain only positive news. Home inspection reports detail larger, expensive-to-fix flaws in a home, along with smaller and easier fixes. Also, if a potential buyer spots a potential flaw in a home that isn’t mentioned in the inspection report, the buyer has the right to hire a more specialized inspector to take a look (such as mold in a house or moisture in a basement). Therefore, a potential buyer might have had a change of heart after a home inspection. Or, if there was a secondary, specialized inspection that revealed an expensive issue, the buyer might opt to back out.
When problems are encountered, though, a buyer doesn’t necessarily have to back out after a home inspection. If there are issues that need to be addressed, a buyer can negotiate with the seller to leave funds in escrow while the seller addresses the flaws that need to be rectified. Alternately, buyers and sellers can renegotiate the price of the home to reflect the cost of repairs identified in the inspection report.