Buying a house is a quintessential moment of adulthood. There are so many aspects beyond just visiting numerous homes and looking through rooms to see if you can envision yourself living there. One of the key aspects of buying a home is the dreaded home inspection. What are they for and what do you do with it? That’s what we’re here to explore.
How do I find a home inspector?
Typically your real estate agent will recommend someone for your home inspection; but rather than just taking the agent’s word, you should research them out for yourself. Ask for a list of reputable inspectors. Become an inspector yourself and look up their reputation as well as the inspector’s personal history by asking questions.
“How long have you inspected houses?”
“How many home inspections have you done?”
“What qualifications, certifications, training experiences have you had?” *Ask to see their inspector license.
“What was your job before inspecting homes?” *Ideally, you would want someone with a background in building or contracting.
“Are you working for my real estate agent?” *If they say yes, they don’t have your best interests at heart. That’s your cue to call a different home inspector. Find someone who is working for you and no one else.
These questions are not intrusive, they are informing you on their ability to identify and locate your new home’s potential weaknesses. You want someone you can trust to find these problems and explain them to you clearly, along with a solution.
Should I be present during the inspection?
The short answer… YES!
This home is a massive purchase that will affect your finances drastically for the next 30 years (depending on the type of loan agreement you procure), so you should most certainly want to spend as much time in the house as possible before it becomes officially yours to see the quirks (every house has them) and potential risks involved.
What is the inspector doing?
Your inspector has an important job to do. They will be spending about three hours actively searching around the house for any potential defects that you, the buyer, may not even know how to search for, but would certainly pay for once it became a huge problem.
What should I do?
You could take this time to thoroughly check out the house and figure out how you’ll arrange your furniture, measure the rooms and doorways to make sure things will fit and get a general feel for the house and how you’ll enjoy it.
One of the best uses, though, would be to follow the inspector around to learn about the inner workings of your new home. They would be able to show you if there are any serious problems that would need to be addressed immediately or potential problems that could crop up a few years from now and discuss potential solutions. This gives you a great opportunity to ask questions.
What questions should I be asking?
- Water drainage during storms and how to keep the basement dry
- Oil tanks that were improperly abandoned and advice on how to resolve that issue and how to proceed with a lawyer
- Whether the wiring is safe and insurable by home insurance companies
- The sewer caps condition and potential need for replacement
- The structure of a home is hidden, but the inspector should be able to see signs and give recommendations based on educated guesses
If your inspector is resistant to answering questions or doesn’t know the names of the parts being referred to, find someone else to do the job.
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