Deciding to purchase a house can be an individual or family’s single most important investment. Because of that, you have to make sure that you do everything to protect your hard-earned money. When buying a property, everything should be clear at the onset of the transaction because unpleasant surprises like major repairs, pest infestation, and safety hazards are going to be serious problems for the new homeowner.
Before offering a deal, make sure you know everything about the property that you would soon call home.
What is Home Inspection?
Generally speaking, a home inspection is an examination of the property’s physical structure as well as the systems that are functioning inside it. It should focus not just on the current condition of the house but also on its safety.
Keep in mind though that a home inspection is totally different from a home appraisal. A home appraisal is commonly done by the lender to verify the value of the property when you are applying for a mortgage. House inspection, on the other hand, is done to look for issues that may affect the value of the property.
When to Schedule a Home Inspection
A home inspection typically occurs after you sign the purchase agreement or sales contract with the seller. Because of that, it is extremely important for you to make sure that there is an ‘inspection contingency’ or ‘due diligence contingency’ on the contract itself. The due diligence contingency allows you, the buyer, to have enough time to find a professional inspector and schedule a visit. It also gives you the freedom to back out of the deal without being penalized.
Why is Home Inspection Important?
The report from the home inspector usually includes almost everything about the house like material damages or defects that can significantly affect the overall value. Depending on how serious the damages or need for repair are, you have the option to either proceed with the sale or schedule another inspection.
This is also the perfect time for you to renegotiate the price of the property, ask if the seller will cover the repairs, or cancel the contract completely. In other words, the home inspection should give you an idea of whether you want to proceed with the deal or not.
Who Performs the Home Inspection?
In some cases, real estate firms have their in-house home inspectors. They also include the service in your contract especially if you’re looking at a newly built property. You also have the option to look for other independent companies or firms that offer home inspection services. Either way, you have to make sure that the person you’re hiring has the proper education and training to do the job.
In the state of Florida, the home inspector should have a license from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation before he or she could perform a home inspection.
How Much is a Home Inspection
The price for a visit varies depending on the state and city that you are in. Generally speaking, the standard fee for a single visit costs at least USD 275 to USD 400 for a 2,000 square-foot home. The price also increases based on the size of a property. If you have a bigger house, it could cost you at least USD 500 to USD 600 per visit. It would be an additional USD 25 for each additional 500 square feet.
There are also specialized inspections that are charged on top of the regular inspection. If the real estate agent or you suspects that there might be harmful substances and pest in the property such as white mold, then you have to schedule a more comprehensive inspection. The cost of these are:
• Asbestos Testing – USD 250 to USD 800
• Lead Testing – USD 250 to USD 350
• Radon Testing – USD 90 to USD 200
• Mold Testing – USD 600 to USD 800
• Sewer Scope – USD 75 to USD 300
What is Included in the Inspection?
The home inspector is required to look at the systems and important structures in the property. When looking at the exterior structure, he should be able to look into the crawl spaces and the whole roofing system. The exterior walls should also be inspected against cracks, missing sidings, and severe wood damage. Other factors that need to be looked at are:
• Foundation – look for cracks or settling on the foundation
• Grading – check if the grading slopes to avoid water damage
• Carport or Garage – check if it’s closing and opening properly. He also needs to make sure that it is properly ventilated to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Roof – check if there are any loose, missing, or improperly installed shingles
He should also look at the interior systems in the house such as the electrical, water, drainage, plumbing, and HVAC systems. The report should include all the repairs needed to be done and how much the total cost will be. Another important factor to look at is if there is any pest and insect infestation on the property. If there is, the inspector should refer you to a pest and rodent exterminator or a mosquito control company.
Buying and owning a house should be an exciting and fulfilling experience. Make sure that during the inspection, you cover all aspects and areas of the home to avoid any unwanted situations. Remember, you are dealing with your future home and you deserve nothing but the best.