Guide to Home Inspections
A home inspection is a crucial part of the buying process because it allows the buyer a chance to ensure there are no hidden issues before making a substantial investment. The last thing you want to find out after closing is that there are dangerous structural issues that are going to cause a financial burden. Think of it as making sure you don't buy a "lemon". This is your guide to what a home inspection is and how it works.
What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is a thorough evaluation by a licensed home inspector of a home's structure. The inspector will carefully look over every part of the home from the foundation to the roof. They will then write up a report detailing repairs and replacements needed.
Buyers begin with general home inspections. Based on those results, buyers can choose to order more specific inspections if warranted. For example, if the inspector finds an issue with the roof, the buyer may choose to hire a roof inspector to provide an estimate on how much it will cost to fix or repair the issue.
Common issues inspectors look for are:
- Cracks in the foundation
- Roof leaks
- Structural issues
- Heating and air problems
- Electrical hazards
- Plumbing issues
The above is just the tip of the issue. Home inspectors will leave no stone unturned analyzing homes for substantial issues.
How Much Do Home Inspections Cost?
The cost of a home inspection varies. You can typically expect to pay between a few hundred dollars and a thousand dollars for an inspection. The actual cost depends on the company and the size of the property.
Who Pays for Home Inspections?
In most cases, the buyer is responsible for ordering and paying for home inspections.
What If an Issue is Found?
If an issue is found during the home inspection, it will be in the detailed inspection report. The buyer then has a few options:
- Decide not to purchase the home
- Ask the seller to make the repairs or replacements
- Negotiate the purchase price or ask for a credit based on the estimated cost of repairs
- Decide to cover the repairs or replacements yourself
What is the Difference in a Home Inspection and an Appraisal?
A home inspection and an appraisal are not the same thing and take place at different times during the buying process. The purpose of a home inspection is to determine the condition of the home and takes place during the due diligence period, when the buyer can still back out of the contract if something unacceptable is discovered.
On the other hand, the purpose of an appraisal is to determine the fair market value of the property and occurs near the end of the process. An appraisal is conducted by a certified appraiser. Learn more about the appraisal process here.
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