One of the most important steps in the home buying process in the inspection. Whether the structure is brand new or 100 years old, you really need to have a professional inspector look things over before signing the final contract.
Here are some of the main things you should know about home inspections (and inspectors!) before diving in and paying someone to examine the house you are planning to purchase.
- Most reputable inspectors will belong to one of several organizations. The American Society of Home Inspectors and the National Association of Home Inspectors are two of the largest. Members have to stay up to date on trends in the industry, and must meet high ethical standards.
- If at all possible, you should be present at the time of the inspection. This is a golden opportunity to learn about the house, and to ask questions about what the inspector finds. Even if you have zero knowledge about such things, the inspector can give you some tips on how to maintain the home if you do end up buying it.
- If an inspection reveals no major defects, then you will likely not be renegotiating price with the seller. If, on the other hand, some key items need repair, you should consider lowering your offer price or asking the seller to fix the items in question before proceeding.
- Home inspectors are generalists. They do a level of work equivalent to what a general practitioner physician does. If you want to be extra thorough, consider hiring specialists to check for termites, mold, lead paint, overall water quality and possible drainage issues.
- Some helpful statistics that can keep your costs in the right ballpark: About 75 percent of all home buyers hire professional inspectors, and the average price paid for those services is around $250.
- It is usually smart to have a clause in the contract that makes the sale contingent upon a positive inspection result. If major problems are discovered, you want to be able to renegotiate the price or, at least, be able to compel the owner make necessary repairs.
Before putting down your money and signing the final papers, a reputable home inspector can provide peace of mind. So, hire a pro and sleep soundly in your new home!