If you are considering buying a home, it is essential for buyers to understand the importance of a home inspection.
A property inspection is conducted by a licensed professional home inspector.
Home inspectors play an important role in the home buying process. By performing a thorough inspection of a home, they can help buyers identify any potential problems with the property and ensure that buyers are making an informed decision when purchasing.
When working with a buyer’s agent, you can lean of them for advice for picking a top-shelf inspector.
The typical general home inspection covers many facets of the property of both the interior and exterior. A home inspector will look at all structural elements of a home including the foundations, walls, ceilings, and roof.
They will also perform an overview of the heating and cooling systems, plumbing, and electrical. A good home inspector will leave no stone un-turned when performing a detailed inspection.
What Other Things Does a Home Inspector Look at?
Besides the major items mentioned above, home inspectors will look at any decks, walkways, chimneys, windows, doors, fireplaces, wood stoves, appliances, cabinetry, and more.
A thorough home inspection should take a few hours to complete, depending on the size of the property.
When the home inspection is completed, a home inspector will provide a detailed report that covers their findings.
Home inspection reports usually will outline significant problems found at the property in red. The best inspectors will include photos that detail the problems. It makes it far easier for all the parties involved in the sale to decipher.
Real Estate agents often need to negotiate home inspections, so it becomes challenging when inspectors don’t outline the problems well enough.
The home inspector only goes so far as to what they will inspect. There could be other problems lurking in the home, so it becomes essential to check for these items.
What Are Optional Home Inspections That Should Be Conducted?
There are some additional inspections you may want to consider as a buyer. The inspector may look for some of these things but having a true professional in the field could be worthwhile.
A pest inspection covers all types of intruders including termites, carpenter ants, mice, and other types of wildlife. It is essential to check for these pest because they can create havoc in any kind of property.
Termites can be especially dangerous because they can attack the structural integrity of the home.
During a WDO inspection, the inspector will look for evidence of active infestation (winged termites), signs of past infestation (soft wood), and any potential trouble spots. They will also check for open areas where mice and other wildlife can easily enter the home.
A report will be generated detailing the findings of the audit, as well as potential solutions for any issues that were discovered.
When working with a real estate agent, ask them for a recommendation on a local pest company with an excellent reputation.
If you are going to be using FHA or VA loan financing, it is likely the mortgage lender will require a pest inspection to be performed.
One of the more common tests that are performed as part of the home inspection process these days is checking for radon.
Radon is a gas that can be harmful to humans if it enters the air. Radon is created when radioactive elements in the Earth gradually break down.
Radon enters your home through cracking of your basement floor. It also can be released from well water servicing your home.
The EPA and the surgeon general’s office estimate that, after smoking, radon exposure is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
Given the chances it could harm your health over an extended period of time, it makes sense to check for it.
Generally, the radon test is conducted over a period of 48 hours by leaving either a test canister or radon testing machine in the lowest livable area of the home. The EPA recommends that radon be remediated if it comes in higher that 4.0 picocures.
Radon remediation is relatively inexpensive. The average system costs between $1000-1500 to install.
Most home inspectors will check for blatantly obvious mold. If they see something suspicious they will point it out. It will then be up to the buyer whether to do further investigation.
There are companies that are specifically in the mold testing and remediation business. It is vital to get a qualified recommendation from someone you know and trust like a real estate agent.
There are many companies that will over-charge a buyer for remediation of mold. The business is filled with folks who will take advantage of those they think they can.
If you worried about mold that could be potentially lurking behind walls, a mold inspection will be necessary. Inspectors will used moisture meters to determine whether there is any water present.
Mold inspectors also take air samples to determine levels of mold.
Structural Foundation Inspection
Home inspectors will carefully look at the foundation of a home for cracking. Every home has cracks but most are minor in nature. It is the ones that are not minor that should raise concern.
When a home inspector flags a significant crack that could make the building structurally unsound they will recommend a second professionals opinion.
This is where a structural engineer would be called in. They will be able to tell you that there is nothing to worry about or the crack needs a structural repair.
Lead Paint Inspection
A home built prior to 1978 has the potential to have lead paint present. It is very common in much older homes or antiques. If a child under the age of 6 years old is going to be residing in the home, it is a federal law to have it removed.
Buyers are not required by law to test but it may make sense to do so when you have young kids who could chew on the woodwork. Eating lead paint can cause devastating health consequences.
A home is a significant investment. It makes sense to check for as many potential problems as possible. Getting a professional home inspection is a must to ensure you’re not purchasing a lemon.
Waiving a home inspection often leads to buyers discovering significant problems after their purchase.
In many circumstances, performing these additional inspections of a property could make sense.
About the author: The above article on “The Top 5 Types Of Home Inspections Buyers Should Consider” was written by Bill Gassett. Bill has been working in the real estate industry for the past thirty-three years. He works for RE/MAX Executive Realty in Hopkinton Massachusetts. Bill loves providing trustworthy information to buyers, sellers, and fellow real estate agents to make the best possible decisions. His writing has been featured on RIS Media, National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester, Today.com, Credit Sesame, and others.
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