Home inspections are a necessary part of the home buying process. Buying a home without one is the same as buying a car without getting it checked out by another independent car mechanic.
When you make an offer on a house, a good real estate agent will recommend you include a home inspection clause. Typically you would pay for a home inspection yourself, so you will need to know what to expect during this inspection.
First realize that you are not a home inspector. Home inspection is definitely one of those jobs best left to professionals. Few of us have the expertise to identify plumbing, sewer, electrical, and structural problems. Combine that with the emotional factors you may have about buying a home, and it’s easy to see why potential home buyers are not the ones who need to do the inspecting.
It is typically recommended that you accompany your home inspector so you can ask questions and see the good and not-so-good for yourself.
A qualified home inspector reviews a property’s visible and accessible areas outside and inside to identify any safety and health issues, negative and positive aspects of the property and any conditions that need further specialized attention.
An inspection often includes structural elements such as the foundation, walls, roof, windows, doors, insulation, basement or crawlspace and the attic. Electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling systems are also part of a home inspection. It can even include examining the appliances and should also report any evidence of pests like termites and inspection for radon.
Once the inspection is complete, a home inspector provides a written, comprehensive report detailing any issues with the home. This is not “pass” or “fail.” The inspection report gives you the information you need to decide whether or not to buy the home “as is” or negotiate with the seller to either fix some of the problems or reduce the price. Know that no home is perfect. It is not uncommon for a report to include 50 or more issues. In addition, the report identifies issues found the day of inspection and cannot predict problems that may arise a few months or a few weeks down the road.