Let?s cut to the chase. When you purchase a home, you?re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even if it only seems like you?re spending $1500 per month with your mortgage payment, you are spending hundreds of thousands. We cannot say that more clearly. You should investigate and appreciate that asset like you are literally handing somebody $450k right out of your bank account. An easy way to do that, order a proper home inspection.
If you move forward with an uneducated purchase, chances are you?ll be spending more money down the line with things you didn?t catch in the beginning. Sure, walking away $500 short from an inspection stinks. But aren?t you glad you?re walking away from $500 instead of spending $300k on a house that will cost twice as much with surprise renovations? If you don?t appreciate and investigate a house properly with an inspection, you won?t end up financially ahead.
So. What makes up a great inspection? What should you be looking for in the reports and what questions should you ask? We?ve got you covered?
Choose a Trustworthy Home Inspector.
First rule of thumb with any home inspection. Pick a trustworthy inspector. If they arrive in a sedan with no tools, call someone else. If they don?t want you to be present during an inspection, that?s a red flag. Like when you?re researching real estate agents and lenders, look at the online reviews closely. Talk to people (if possible) that have used their services before. Ask them questions and address concerns when calling for a quote.
Key Spots for Inspection
There are several aspects of a house that have the potential to be so costly. They could even make or break a deal. Each of these are things that an inspection should cover in detail as the cost to repair any damage already in pace can add up quick. These include:
- Electrical: codes change over time which means many older homes might not be up to code. Having a modern electrical system has the potential to prevent fires, save money on electrical bills, and even prevent electrical injuries like dangerous shocks from faulty sockets. Everything from wiring to the circuit breakers should be checked.
- Flooring: more than just a cosmetic issue, flooring could show indications of insect infestations, foundations issues, water damage, and more.
- Foundation: speaking of foundation, this can be one of the most costly issues with a prospective home. There are different types of foundation, each with their own challenges. However, you want to make sure your inspection thoroughly notes any past, present, and potential future issues in regards to the foundation.
- HVAC System: replacing an average HVAC system in a home can cost anywhere from five to ten thousand dollars. An inspection should ensure that the HVAC system works properly.?
- Roof: damage to roofs is one of the most common issues homeowners face. Making sure you?re walking into a sound roof before investing is always a good decision for your wallet.
- Structural Integrity: if the house you?re considering has any sort of ?masonry? – brick work, stonework, etc – the inspection should let you know if it is structurally sound. The last thing you need is an entire wall with an encased fireplace that is freestanding and not actually supported. Chimneys are also a common place to check this.
- Waste Disposal: there?s a reason why some people refuse to live in houses that have septic systems. They can be a nightmare. Septic systems are more common in older homes and have the potential to be expensive and smelly issues. The entire property should be investigated with septic systems to check for potential cave-in risks. If your property does have a septic system, you should also maintain regular inspections on your own after purchasing the home to keep things running smooth and safe.
- Water Damage: last but hardly least, all inspections should contain any notes regarding water damage – past, present, and potential future. Water damage can cause everything from small problems like ruined carpet to huge issues like damaged foundation. Inspectors can use infrared technology to check for any damage beneath the surface of the home.
Hidden Red Flags to Identify
Hidden red flags that an inspection should confirm to be present or not include mold, mildew, and asbestos. Asbestos would most commonly be found in older homes, specifically those built between the 1940s and 1970s. It was used in insulation, flooring, construction materials, and more. If asbestos is found in a home, it should safely be dealt with. An inspector should be able to give you a reasonable suggestion on how to move forward and what the cost might be. At the very least, they should be able to refer you to a specialist who can.?
Mold and Mildew are commonly caused by water damage. If either of these are present, no matter how significant, the underlying issue should be addressed to prevent further damage. Depending on the level of damage, you may end up asking the seller to deal with this issue first or come down in price to leave room in your budget to deal with later.
Other specifics to note within inspections include ventilation issues, plumbing concerns, and alerts to potential infestations. A real estate agent is a great asset when it comes to home inspections. This is especially true if you?re buying a house from someone you know. It might feel awkward to point out that there are costly electrical issues that need to be addressed. Your agent will always have your back and make sure you?re getting a proper deal, regardless of who is selling the property.