You have spent weeks, months, maybe as much as a year or more looking for that certain place to call home. Now after a number of drive-bys, a neighborhood viewing, and a thirty minute or less walk through the property with your realtor, you and your family feel you have found your new home. You sign a Real Estate Contract for purchase. No matter who you are or what you know, your emotions are now in play. Has it been maintained? Will it need repairs? Are there other concerns? These questions and others even a professional is not capable of answering during a thirty minute walk through.
A friend, who was a contractor for 20 years, ASHI® member and home inspector for 15 years, had an inspection performed on a home he was looking to purchase. Why did he not do it himself? Emotional involvement, plus he knew his inspection would not be creditable as a buyer. He also knew that a qualified inspector’s inspection would give him additional time to examine this new home in greater detail. Professional real estate investors know and understand the importance of the above, whether it be a condominium, single family home, multi-unit building, or commercial property. A professional visual property inspection can give a buyer a clearer understanding of a property’s condition.
So what exactly does a professional home inspection include? A home inspection typically generates a final report including photographs, drawings and the inspector’s notes.
A critical aspect of all home inspections is an assessment of the major systems and components of the property: interior, exterior, structural, roof, electrical, heating, air conditioning, plumbing, fireplaces, insulation and ventilation. With respect to major recurring items such as outlets, windows and doors, it is common to inspect a representative number that are accessible.
Most sellers are honest and are often surprised to learn of defects uncovered during an inspection. It’s important to realize that sellers are under no obligation to repair everything mentioned in an inspection report. In most cases your inspection will make note of maintenance recommendations, life expectancies for various systems and components, and note minor imperfections. These are useful to know, but the issues that really matter will fall into these three categories:
- Major defects such as a structural failure
- Items that may lead to a major defect
- Safety hazards such as exposed electrical wiring. Again, always keep things in perspective and discuss solutions with your realtor, attorney and home inspector.
- Anything in the above categories must be addressed immediately with all the parties representing you.