First time buyers who put a contract on a house are doing something very exciting. It is your first home, and you are about to take part in the American dream! But as soon as you submit the contract, you should order a home inspection. A home inspection is essential to ensure that the home is in good condition, and that you are not going to have some unpleasant surprises down the road that cost you a lot of money. But not every home inspection is the same. To ensure that you get a good home inspection that tells you everything you need to know about your new home, keep these tips in mind:
#1 Research the Home Inspector
Home inspections are great but they are only as good as the inspector doing the work. Too many home buyers and sellers just take whatever the name is of an inspector that they find or is recommended. If you are going to pay several hundred dollars for a home inspection, you want the inspection to be done right. Some important questions to ask the inspector are:
- How many years have you been inspecting homes?
- How many home inspections have you done in the last five years?
- What type of certifications and training do you have?
- What did you do for a living before you were a home inspector? It is good if the inspector was involved in contracting or the building trades.
As a first time home buyer, you want a certified home inspector who knows the home building and maintenance industries well. You should have an inspector working for you who knows the strengths and weaknesses of the property.
#2 Attend the Inspection
You may not have to attend the home inspection, but you should. Just reading the inspection report is not usually enough to give you the complete picture. If you do not actually see the inspection going on, you may not have as good an understanding of potential home problems. Some home inspectors will actually turn down inspections because the potential buyer or seller is not there or does not want to be there. A good inspection can take several hours, so you should put aside plenty of time for this essential job. The results of the inspection can tell you whether you should really buy the home or should consider another, so showing up is important.
#3 Read the Inspection Report
If you pay $400 for a home inspection, it is not going to do you much good if you do not read the report! You should spend at least 30 minutes going over the report, ideally with the inspector available for any questions or clarifications. It will help if the inspector uses very clear and concise language in the report. A good inspection report will state in simple language anything that is wrong with the home, and what is needed to fix it.
#4 Get a Pre-Sale Inspection
If you are about to sell your home, it is very smart to get a home inspection before you put it up for sale. If you have the home inspected before you call your real estate agent, you will have plenty of time to get repairs done. With that extra time, it is easier to shop around for contractors and materials and keep costs down. On the buyer and seller side, it is very common to wait too long to get a home inspection. But you should find a good inspector well before you put the home on the market, and before you are thinking about making an offer on a home.
#5 Prepare the Home
If you are a home seller, you should have the home ready for an inspection. The home inspector should not have to empty closets and the attic to get to essential systems.
#6 Get Pictures
All good home inspectors will take pictures during the inspection. He will be going into places that you do not usually go. So you should have the inspector photograph any areas that could cause problems later. Also, infrared and thermal cameras are great tools that some inspectors use to look behind floors and walls that you cannot access.
#7 Pay Attention to the Roof
The roof is a major system that keeps the inside in good shape. Make sure the home inspector actually goes on the roof and takes pictures. Be sure that you know when the roof was replaced so you know if you will need to adjust your offer accordingly. Replacing a roof can cost $10,000 or more, so you want to know that this essential system is not going to fail in the near future. If you keep these home inspection tips in mind, you should be able to buy the home of your dreams with minimal problems.