Please know that a home inspection is one of the most important parts of buying a home. But it can be overwhelming trying to find a reputable inspector who you can trust. I provide all my buyer clients with a list of licensed home inspectors in the area to make this process easier for you.
The inspection should include information (including photos) on the condition of the following:
- Air conditioning and heating
- Roof and Attic
- General Structure
The inspection is designed to report on any potential defects or problems with the home that may require repair. Not everything they report will be considered an actual defect by you; you must decide on whether or not the items noted require repair or not for your peace of mind. For example, I have never seen a home inspection report where the inspector did not note that the dirt is too high around the foundation of the home. This seems to be something that they always note because it could potentially hide termite activity around the home…and inspectors have to protect themselves against potential lawsuits. But this is something that you can easily fix when you move into the home.
- Should serious foundation or structural problems be indicated, the inspector will recommend that a structural engineer or other professional inspect it as well.
- The home cannot “pass or fail” an inspection, and your inspector will not tell you whether he/she thinks the home is worth the money you are offering.
The Seller may be willing to negotiate completion of repairs or a credit for completion of repairs, or you may decide that the home will take too much work and money. A professional inspection will help you make a clear-headed decision. In addition to the overall inspection, you may wish to have separate tests conducted for termites or the presence of mold.
In choosing a home inspector, consider one that has been certified as a qualified and experienced member by a trade association.
I recommend being present at the inspection. This is to your advantage because you will be able to clearly understand the inspection report and know exactly which areas need attention. Plus, you can get answers to many questions, tips for maintenance, and a lot of general information that will help you once you move into your new home. Most important, you will see the home through the eyes of an objective third-party. But always keep in mind that an inspector’s job is to report on all potential issues (like dirt around the foundation) and you need to be reasonable in your repair request negotiations with sellers.