Purchasing a home is probably the largest single investment you will ever make. Once you’ve found your dream home, you want to be sure that there aren’t serious unknown defects with the
house that can turn an investment for your future into a costly nightmare.
A professional home inspection conducted early in the buying process can save you thousands of dollars on items that you may be able to have the seller or builder correct before closing. While home inspections are strictly voluntary, it is strongly recommended to all buyers.
A home inspection, performed by a licensed professional, is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation. Having a home inspected is like giving it a physical check-up. If problems or symptoms are found, the inspector may recommend further evaluation.
Inspection fees vary depending upon the size of the house, its age, location and the home inspector service. Typical fees can start as low as $200 for small condominiums and can cost $400 or more for larger and/or older homes. Inspection fees are not regulated and it is a good idea to compare local prices on your own.
Typically, during a home inspection, an inspector will examine structural components, including the foundation, floors, walls, ceilings, and roofs; the exterior of the structure; plumbing; all electrical systems, including lighting fixtures, switches, receptacles, and smoke detectors; the heating and cooling systems; the interior, including walls, ceilings, floors, steps, a representative number of cabinets and a representative number of doors and windows; insulation and ventilation; and built-in kitchen appliances, such as the observation and operation of the dishwasher, range, trash compactor, garbage disposal, ventilation equipment, and permanently installed ovens and microwave ovens.
Homebuyers can also request special services, usually for additional fees, such as carbon monoxide or radon testing and well water analysis.
The homebuyer isn’t required to be present during the inspection, but it’s recommended. Once the home inspection is complete, the inspector will provide the client with a written report of his findings and observations.
While a professional home inspection prior to purchasing a home is customary, there are also other situations in which a home inspection is a good idea. A pre-listing inspection is recommended for sellers before putting their home up for sale to identify any problems that might be discovered when a buyer comes along. This gives the seller an opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition and increase the home’s marketability. Other types of inspections that many home inspectors offer also include home maintenance and new construction inspections.