Buying a home is an expensive exercise, and it can become even more so if you don’t have a professional home inspection. On the face of it, a home may look in pristine condition, but a pretty facade can hide a multitude of problems. While it might seem prudent to save money and skip this step, in doing so, you may face costly repairs after you buy the house.
What is a home inspection?
Home inspections are not the same thing as a home appraisal; an appraisal is an assessment of the home’s value required by the lender for a mortgage. A home inspection is a thorough, but non-invasive, examination of the condition of a house by a certified inspector.
A buyer usually requests a home inspection once they’ve signed the purchase agreement, which is written to be contingent on the outcome of the home inspection. Only after the home is given the all-clear can the sale go ahead.
Since home inspections aren’t mandatory, first time home buyers may think that it is enough to give a property a once over themselves. However, a professional home inspection is well worth the price when you consider that the cost of fixing a major issue could run into thousands of dollars.
What to expect from a home inspection?
Home inspectors are trained to examine many different aspects of a house including:
- Interior plumbing
- Electrical system
- Roof condition / Attic / Ceilings
- Visible insulation
- Foundation / Basement
- Windows / Doors / Floors
- General Internal / External structure
If you want an inspector to look for additional things such as termites, asbestos or radon you will need to hire an inspector who is qualified to check for these.
How long does a home inspection take?
A home inspection generally takes between 3 to 4 hours to complete, depending on the inspector and how big the property is they have to check. It’s a good idea to be present for the inspection. Typically what happens during a home inspection is that you go on a walk through with the inspector and they give you a detailed visual inspection of the property. This way you can learn more about the house works and ask questions if the inspector discovers any problems.
How much does a home inspection cost?
An average home inspection cost is around $300 to $500 depending on the inspector’s qualifications and experience, the age of the property, and its size. Paying the lower end of the scale isn’t always your best, as a cheaper inspector may cut corners. You can also expect for the price to receive a comprehensive written report that’s given to you and the seller.
Buying a house is a considerable investment, and a home inspection empowers you to make an informed decision before you lock yourself into a situation that could cost you more than you bargained for. If it’s discovered the house needs $20,000 worth of repairs, then it gives you the opportunity to renegotiate with the seller to include this in the purchase price before you seal the deal.