Buying a home is an exciting time and once you’ve put your offer in, it’s still not over. If your offer is accepted, you will then need to set up your home inspection.
These inspections can be hundreds of dollars depending on the type of contract you sign with the inspectors. Most home loans require this inspection. But even if they don’t, it’s always a good idea to know what kind of problems you may encounter if you purchase a home.
Your home inspector should walk you through the house and point out the potential problems they see. Understand they can’t foresee every problem, though they do go through a pretty rigorous list of potential issues. The important thing is to ensure the main structure of the home is solid and safe.
As you go through the home yourself before you put the offer in, write down any areas of concern you have. Ask the real estate agent about those issues but also share your concerns with your inspector so they can take a closer look.
What will the inspector look at?
Here’s a great sample checklist, though it is not exhaustive. The main issues they will look for include:
- Structural/Foundational/Roof Issues
- Water Damage/Plumbing Issues
- Outdated or Faulty Electrical Wiring
- Grounds/Drainage Issues
If you’re looking at an older home, there are some specific things you need to look for that are common in the decade the home was built.
For instance, if it was built before 1950, you may find that it has a fuse box instead of a circuit breaker box. This may mean the home will need to be rewired, because fuses may not be able to hold up to the demands of modern technology. This resource from HGTV lists out other areas your home inspector may look at or concerns they may have on the year the home was built.
If you don’t understand something, then simply ask! You’re paying them to help you see the flaws your potential new home has.
What does the inspection look like?
For your home inspection usually the listing REALTOR® or homeowner is present. Inspectors generally ask the buyer to show up during the last 30 minutes of the inspection time.
This helps them give a thorough inspection so when you get there they can explain any issues they’ve found and answer any questions. They will either give you a checklist report or they will give you a narrative report, which is just a report given in paragraph form with a little more detail. But, as you walk through the house with your inspector, don’t hesitate to ask them questions.
It’s a good idea to have them also send their report to your real estate agent so they can go over the report with you.
Even if the inspection comes back as mostly positive, if there are small things that need fixing but you don’t fully understand what they are, talk with the inspector. You might think something is small, when in reality it could be an expensive fix.
The main thing to remember is that communication and thoroughness is important in this process. You want to fully understand the changes you may have to make to the home and the associated costs before you dive into ownership.