Is it Worth Having a Home Inspection?
Purchasing a new property can feel exciting, life-changing, and (let’s be honest) a little nerve-wracking! Fortunately, there are many laws and systems in place to protect buyers and sellers from receiving a raw deal when navigating the complex property market.
One such measure is the home inspection, which typically occurs after a seller accepts a buyer’s offer, but before a sale is officially closed. The purpose of such an inspection is to ensure both parties are aware of the home’s structural condition before the final transaction is finalized.
While you may be tempted to waive a home inspection before purchasing a property, this move could land you in deep financial trouble. In the unlikely event your inspector discovers expensive repair issues, you may discover the property is worth less than your offer. In this case, you may wish to cancel the sale, ask the seller to make repairs, or enter further price negotiations. To help make your purchasing journey as smooth as possible, we’ve put together a handy guide to property inspections below.
What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is an independent assessment of a property. Typically carried out by a professional inspector, an inspection will help you identify any structural or systemic problems with your prospective purchase. It is the responsibility of buyers to arrange and pay for home inspections, unlike home appraisals. Home appraisals are mandatory assessments scheduled by lenders to gauge the value of properties for which buyers wish to secure mortgages. Unlike home inspections, appraisals do not involve the buyer and can affect the amount of money that can be borrowed to purchase a property.
Once the property inspector has assessed the home, they will produce a detailed report, including recommended repairs and maintenance concerns. If they find issues such as asbestos, mold, pests, or lead, you may require further specialized inspections to assess the extent of the problem.
What is Included in a Home Inspection?
Home inspectors look at both the interior and exterior parts of a home, assessing systems and structures, including:
- Heating systems
- Central air conditioning systems
- Roofs and rain gutters
- Interior plumbing and electrical wiring
- Other structural components
Inspectors will not alter any aspect of the home to check for structural issues and do not need special equipment to conduct their checks.
What is Not Included in a Home Inspection?
Unlike home appraisals, home inspection reports do not include information about the property’s location, general condition, esthetics, or size compared to other homes in the area. The inspector is not expected to return to check whether recommended repairs have been made. If buyers want to ensure the house is up to standard before they move in, they may wish to walk around the property themselves to check for relevant changes.
How Much Will a Home Inspection Cost?
The cost of a home inspection can vary depending on the size, age, and condition of the property in question, as well as the type of inspection being performed. Older properties, for example, may require more extensive inspections, as they’re more likely to have repair issues. As a rough estimate, home inspections typically cost between $300 and $1,000, with the average cost sitting at the lower end of the scale. It is a good idea to obtain quotes before hiring an inspector.
How Long Does a Home Inspection Take?
Home inspections typically take two to four hours, depending on the size of the home and the number of potential defects. A seller can help speed up the process by showing the inspector around the home and providing relevant information about its history. It’s also a good idea for sellers to tidy the property before an inspector turns up to ensure they have easy access to appliances and cramped spaces.
Who Does a Home Inspection Help?
Home inspections help buyers by alerting them to potential repair problems at an early stage. Purchasing a property with serious repair issues can significantly affect a person’s finances and quality of life. As such, qualified inspectors can ensure your dream home doesn’t turn into a nightmare. It’s also worth noting that the lender may demand that certain repairs are made before approving a purchase. Required repairs are typically related to the safety and structural integrity of a property, and may involve broken carbon monoxide monitors, a deteriorating roof, or a missing fire alarm, for example.
Home inspections can also help sellers by alerting them to problems that could hinder the sale of their homes. As such, a seller should hire an inspector before putting their home on the market. Identifying problems early on will allow them to make structural repairs and boost the value of their property.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, home inspections can be a helpful tool in assessing the financial benefits or drawbacks of purchasing a property. Of course, it’s essential to read the inspector’s report carefully before jumping to any conclusions. For example, it’s perfectly normal for inspections to draw attention to a range of defects, with some reports listing hundreds of issues. Remember – older homes are likely to need a few repair jobs, some of which you can carry out yourself.
Don’t worry too much about the length of the inspection report. Instead, pay attention to the severity of the repair issues and their potential costs. For example, a loose paving stone or broken light switch is unlikely to affect your purchase. However, issues with structural integrity or hazardous problems like asbestos represent a much greater cause for concern. In the unlikely event your inspector finds a serious issue that affects the value of your prospective property, talk to them about the best way forward.
Contact Us for Great Home Inspectors We Trust!
Are you looking for a reliable, friendly inspector to conduct your home inspection? Midwestern Realty is here to help! We can guide you through the whole buying and selling process and have many contacts for different services you will need along the way! Contact our office today and we can connect you with home inspectors we trust.