Ever see the movie with Tom Hanks called "The Money Pit"? Without a home inspection, you may be starring in the sequel. Problems found during an inspection can give you cause to renegotiate the terms of a home sale, or back out of the deal completely. Find out what to look for in an inspection.
More than kicking the tires
A home inspection is one of the most important parts of the home buying process. (Of course the most important is looking for a home for sale on HotPads.com.) A professional home inspection reviews the structural and mechanical condition of the home and will alert you to major and minor problems with the home. You can request to do an inspection on any home that you're interested in, but since you'll be paying for it most people only requests inspections on a home when their purchase offer has been accepted.
Your offer to the seller should be contingent on a satisfactory home inspection. However, in sizzling hot real estate markets sellers are often able to get away with forcing buyers to waive this request.
What inspectors review
A typical home inspection will cover all of the following elements of the home: You should expect to see an evaluation of:
- The home's foundation (paying special attention to leaks)
- The heating and cooling system
- Plumbing and sewage systems
- Electrical systems and wiring
- The roof
- Doors and windows
- Floors and ceilings
- Garages, if applicable
What an inspection won't tell you
Understand that a home inspection is not an appraisal. An inspection won't tell you what a home is worth or if your offered price is right. And there are other inspections that you may want to do as well. The most common is a termite inspection, which would be done by a separate company than the one that does your home inspection.
Still get a warranty
Unless you're buying a new home guaranteed by the builder, it's still a good idea to get a home warranty. Your home can easily pass an inspection with no problems found, only to see your furnace give up the ghost six months later.
Other Buyers Guide Topics
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Other Web Info
Ten Important Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector from HUD.