A home inspection is basically a non-intrusive, visual examination of a property, usually in connection with the purchase of that property. Home inspections are generally performed by a home inspection specialist who possesses the proper training and certifications to carry out such inspections. The purpose of this inspection is to give the prospective buyer a realistic idea of what the house will look like when it is purchased. It is also to assist the seller in obtaining the financing needed for the purchase of the property.
In my professional opinion, purchasing real estate without having a home inspection is the biggest risk an investor can take. If the inspection is performed improperly or if there are significant problems, the buyer may have problems with obtaining the financing necessary to complete the transaction. Typically lenders require a minimum grade of roofing repair and structural integrity of the building to be considered for financing. If the roof cannot pass the inspection, or the structural integrity of the building is so poor that it will cost too much to repair, the financing will be declined. This could result in the investor having to pay the balance of the purchase price, including the closing costs, out of pocket.
It is a good idea to have your home inspected by an independent inspector. Although the professional inspector recommended by the builder or realtor will probably have a good idea of what the problems are, you want to make sure that the observations made by the inspector are accurate. Additionally, it is important to make sure that the inspector presents you with a detailed report, which is well organized and easy to read. There should be no vague descriptions of what problems exist or details about what areas need to be repaired.
There are several types of home inspection services. Some inspectors offer more specific services such as inspections of appliances, plumbing, duct work, insulation, roofing and foundation, floors, walls, ceilings, plumbing fixtures and electrical wiring. In many cases these types of inspections require additional inspections by other inspectors to be comprehensive and complete. In addition, the inspectors typically offer additional reports specific to the specific items that were inspected. For instance, if the inspector discovers that there is a need to repair roof leakages, they might also present additional instructions or recommendations for the homeowner to take care of the problem.
If you are looking for a home inspection to help you avoid potential costly problems, the best way to approach it is to have a thorough inspection performed on your property, even if it just needs a visual observation to make sure the electrical systems, plumbing fixtures, roof and foundation are sound. Some home inspectors will offer additional services, such as determining the presence of radon gas or other health hazards. In addition, some home inspectors can help with hazard identification, which includes inspecting and testing electrical outlets to make sure they are not being overloaded. It is important to know that home inspectors cannot correct electrical or plumbing issues that are already detected by an inspection.
When hiring a home inspection service, be sure to research and check out several companies before making a decision. Most home inspectors do not charge a fee for their services, but there are some who may suggest a payment plan, which is often less expensive than paying for an independent home inspection. Make sure to ask about a warranty and to find out how the inspector will evaluate the roof, crawlspace, insulation, exterior walls and other areas.