Whether you’re closing on your first house or your fifth, buying a home can be both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. But don’t let your long to-do list deter you from completing one of the most important items: scheduling a home inspection.
Although not required by law, many lenders do require a home inspection, which helps protect the large investment you are about to make. It’s important to learn as much as you can about the physical condition of the home before you buy it, to ensure it’s a sound investment. And while an inspection cannot guarantee the condition of a home, the inspector can alert you to items that need repair or any safety concerns.
Here are a few things to keep in mind about the home inspection process.
- Inspections Should Happen As Soon as Possible
It is the buyer’s responsibility to schedule and pay for the inspection. You should schedule the home inspection as soon as you can after your offer has been accepted. This ensures you’ll have enough time to request repairs or to get out of the contract if the inspector discovers a deal-breaker for you. When choosing an inspector, your realtor may have a recommendation or you can find one through the American Society of Home Inspectors.
- Inspections Describe the Basic Physical Condition of a Home
An inspector’s job is examine the current condition of a house. This includes pointing out what components and systems may need major repair or replacement. The inspector will examine the home’s exterior, including steps, porches, decks, chimneys, roof, windows and doors.
Inspectors also look inside the home to examine the attic, electrical components, plumbing, heating and air conditioning, basement/crawlspaces and garages. A home inspection will not include cosmetic issues that do not affect the working condition of the home.
- Be There on Inspection Day
As the buyer, it’s important for you to be at the home for the inspection. Ask the inspector if you can follow him or her around to better understand what they are examining and to ask questions if needed. This is a great way for you to get to know your new home and become familiar with areas that may need attention.
After the inspection, the inspector will provide you with a report. You can then determine if you will ask the seller to make any repairs or give you a credit to make the repairs on your own. It’s important to keep in mind that no home is perfect. But the inspection report should help you determine if it’s the perfect home for you.
Inspections for New Construction Homes
If you’re buying a newly constructed home, the process is slightly different than the inspection for existing homes. Before you go to settlement, you and your builder will do a walk-through to conduct a final inspection. This walk-through provides an opportunity to spot items which may need to be corrected or adjusted, learn about the way your new home works and ask questions about anything you don’t understand.
Create a checklist when inspecting the house. The list should include everything that needs attention, and you and your builder should agree to a timetable for repairs. It is important that you be thorough and observant during the walk-through. Examine the surfaces of counters, fixtures, floors and walls carefully for possible damage. Sometimes disputes arise because a buyer may discover a gouge in a counter top after move-in, and there is no way to prove whether it was caused by the builder’s workers or the buyer’s movers.
The inspection or final walk through process does not need to be a stressful one. It’s a great way to learn more about your new home. And remember that while doing that inspection or walk through you are with an expert. Your home inspector or builder is a great resource for information and they will more than likely be glad to share some of their valuable knowledge with you. Take advantage of the time and make it a good experience.
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