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What to Expect
Home Inspection FAQs
How Long Does it Take to Get a Home Inspection?
This generally depends on the inspector that you choose. Typically, the home inspection itself takes about 2-3 hours. The turnaround time on the report can be as little as same-day or next-day, but may be longer depending on the inspector.
Who Pays for a Home Inspection?
Usually, the buyer pays for the home inspection because it’s part of the due diligence of buying a home. However, a buyer can negotiate for the seller of the home to cover some of the costs of the home inspection as part of the seller concessions. A buyer can ask the seller to drop the price of their home by the cost of a home inspection and other fees.
Can You Get an Appraisal Before a Home Inspection?
Yes, but it’s not a good idea. It’s in your best interest to get the home inspection done prior to the appraisal. That way, if the home inspector finds some serious deal-breaking issues, you don’t need to pay for an appraisal if you back out of the deal. However if you already had an appraisal done, that was a waste of money.
Is a Home Inspection Part of Closing Costs?
The term “closing costs” can be confusing. Technically it includes every additional cost associated with buying a home. However the cost of a home inspection is due when it is performed, not at closing.
Do Home Inspectors Check Appliances?
Yes. Most major built-in appliances will be tested for basic functionality.
Is a Home Inspection Required for a Mortgage?
No. Home inspections are optional and not required for a loan. Home appraisals, however, are mandatory. No bank or lender will give you any kind of loan without conducting an appraisal first.
What are the most common problems found during a home inspection?
A few of the most common issues found during home inspections include home wiring problems, roof issues such as leaks and worn-out shingles or tiles, inadequate insulation, plumbing problems, and defects in the heating and air conditioning systems. Poor grading and drainage of the yard is also quite common. Your home inspector will note the severity of these problems, to help you understand how serious they are.
What should I do before a home inspection?
Do your research and make sure you hire a certified, reputable inspector. Make sure that you schedule the inspection for a time when you can walk through the home with the inspector, so that they can tell you about their findings throughout the process, and you can ask them any questions you may have.
What are the best questions to ask during a home inspection?
Any question that you have! Your home inspector is there to help you make sure you’re purchasing a high-quality home that’s free of major problems. A great home inspector will be used to answering any and all of your questions. That’s their job. However, avoid questions about cosmetic issues – you don’t want to waste time. Focus on asking questions about the most critical (expensive) aspects of the home, such as the wiring and plumbing, internal structure, major appliances, and other such systems.
What is involved in a home inspection?
The home inspector will arrive at the home, and begin examining each room, looking for both cosmetic and more serious structural flaws. The exterior will also be examined, as will the surrounding landscape. Special care is usually given to attics, crawl spaces, and basements, as these can be indicative of the overall condition of the home.
What are the benefits of home inspections?
A home inspection has a variety of great benefits. First, you’ll know exactly what you’re buying, once you do purchase a home. You’ll know if you should expect any major expenses, such as getting a new roof or a roof rebuild within a few years. You also may be able to invoke your contingency clause and walk away from a home if a serious issue is found – such as a cracked foundation or extreme levels of mold. And, if you do close on a home with more serious flaws, you may be able to negotiate a lower cost, or request that the homeowner fixes these issues before the home is sold to you. Finally, you avoid the potential expenses of buying a home that has numerous structural flaws. You’ll have peace of mind, knowing that your property is in good condition.
Do all old houses have problems?
No. Many old houses are built to last for decades or even centuries – and a well-maintained, older home is often a great investment. However, because the building techniques and materials we’ve used for things like electricity and plumbing have changed, some older homes have issues like knob-and-tube wiring, or polybutylene piping. In many cases, these issues may have already been fixed by the current owner. If this is not the case, hiring a home inspector allows you to find out, and see if there are any major issues with the home’s critical systems.
What are the key things to inspect before buying a house?
The most key things to inspect are also the most expensive to repair. Here’s a short list of some of the most critical things to inspect for:
- Lead paint
- Foundation damage
- HVAC repairs or replacement
- Mold removal and remediation
- Faulty roofing
- Issues with sewer pipes or septic systems
Note that not all of these services are included in standard home inspections. Most home inspectors who offer these services charge additional fees for termite, mold, asbestos, or lead paint testing.
How to avoid buying a money pit?
You’re already taking the first step. Hiring a qualified home inspector is the single best way to avoid buying a “money pit”. If you really want to be sure, you may want to consider hiring an additional inspector, and investing in some more specialized services, such as sewer pipe examinations and termite inspections.
What are the common plumbing issues in homes?
There are a number of common plumbing issues in most homes, but most are not a major cause for concern. This could include dripping faucets, sinks and drains that are clogged and do not drain properly, faulty or failing water heaters, or low water pressure. The most important thing to inspect in a home’s plumbing system is the condition of the pipes. If your pipes and other major water systems are in good shape, fixing more minor issues is usually quite simple.
How long will a modern home last?
Most modern homes built with wooden structural supports and a concrete foundation are expected to last at least 100 years, and could easily reach 200 years. Naturally, this depends on the climate, how each home is cared for during its lifetime, and how well-built the home is. Some homes will, naturally, last longer than others.
What usually needs fixing in a fixer-upper house?
Well, each fixer-upper home is different. Once you have a home inspected, your inspector should be able to give you a list of any major systems – such as plumbing or wiring – that need to be repaired or replaced. Some of the other common systems that may need attention include the HVAC system, the roof, the structure of the home, and the doors and windows. Beyond this, you can fix things based on your personal preferences – re-arranging the kitchen and the bathrooms, for example, or adding new paint, appliances, and fixtures like sinks and toilets. It all depends on the house you’re buying – so make sure you hire a good inspector, and walk through the property a few times, to develop a “game plan”, and make sure you’re prepared for the purchase of a fixer-upper.