The Importance of Home Inspections
You found the perfect home and have an accepted offer! In your mind, you may have already started to move in your furniture and planning for future holidays. That excitement is always great but there are many steps that have to happen before you close on your home. Arguably, the most important step is the home inspection. It is designed to protect your purchase and to insure you understand the condition of the home you are so excited about purchasing. The home inspection is designed to identify any material defects about the property that may cause you to change your mind about moving forward or at least request that the seller address any issues identified by the inspector. As a Realtor, it is my job to help guide you through this process and negotiate any repairs that need to be made before you close on the home.
Once your offer has been accepted by the seller, one of the very first steps in the process is to hire a certified home inspector to inspect the property. Generally, the inspector will inspect the following about the property:
- Structural– certain structural elements about the home, the basement or crawlspace and/or slab
- Exterior– the exterior wall covering, grading and drainage and certain exterior features
- Roof– the roofing material and certain components of the roofing system and the attic
- Plumbing– the water pipes, waste and drainage system, water heater and any gas lines
- Electrical– the electrical panel
- Heat-A/C– the heat and air conditioning system
- Living– certain interior components about the home
- Common– the common areas, such as the kitchen, garage and laundry
The inspector’s job is to detect, describe and defer. In some cases, the inspector will note issues in the report that require further investigation by a specialist. For example, you may need to hire a structural engineer to inspect the foundation if the inspector notes a possible issue with the foundation, a roofing contractor to further assess the condition roof, an HVAC specialist to determine the soundness of the system, or an exterminator to address any suspicion of a possible pest problem.
Depending on the situation and the nature of the property, there are other inspections that we may consider, such as the following:
Sewer Scope: I recommend that buyers hire a plumbing contractor to scope the sewer line from the home to the main line in the street. Oftentimes theses pipes can be old, failing, broken, filled with roots, partially blocked, etc. For a relatively small investment, a sewer line scope has the potential to save buyers a lot of money and inconvenience down the road.
Well and Septic Inspection: Certain properties, particularly rural properties outside of the city limits, are on a well and septic system. A well inspection generally tests the flow rate to determine how many gallons per minute the well can produce over a period of four hours, water testing for arsenic, nitrate and certain bacteria and other optional water testing. The septic system inspection entails pumping, cleaning and inspecting the system.
While all this may feel like an overwhelming task, it is well-worth the effort. I have seen some buyers walk away from their “dream” home because of too many issues on the home inspection. I have also been able to negotiate repairs or discounts on the home price prior to close based on the inspection report. All of these inspections may seem daunting and overwhelming but helping you move through them is part of my job.