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When it comes to buying a house, what you see isn’t always what you get.
While you’re awed by the top-of-the-line marble countertops and gleaming hardwood floors, ancient plumbing and hazardous electrical systems may be lurking undetected. These and other defects are revealed when you hire a professional home inspector. You may be tempted to skip the cost of a home inspection, but it should be an indispensable part of your purchase process. Read on for some important things to know about certified home inspections and the value they can provide.
The buyer is responsible for the home inspection.
This means you agree to hire the home inspector, get the inspection completed within a reasonable amount of time, and pick up the bill. A home inspection isn’t something you’ll want to rush, as his or her findings will become a legally binding part of the contract. Allow plenty of time to research and choose a qualified inspector. It’s a good idea to check out the potential inspector’s license and other professional certifications. If you’re not sure where to find a reputable inspector, ask your real estate agent for a referral.
Home inspections cover a range of important aspects of the property.
Home inspectors work much like a doctor does, checking important components to ensure they’re functioning properly. Every property is different so the specifics of what’s checked during the inspection may vary slightly, but the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) suggests that, at a minimum, home inspectors assess the following areas:
- Foundation and basement
- Any additional structural components
- Interior plumbing system and water heater
- Interior electrical system
- Heating and cooling system
- Condition of windows and window frames
- Condition of doors and door frames
- Condition of floors, walls and ceilings
- Safety of stairs, steps and railings
- The attic and basement
- Gutters and downspouts
- Walkways and driveways
Typically, exterior structures such as sheds and detached garages aren’t included in a home inspection. Chimneys, roofs, wells and septic tanks are often excluded, as well. If you have concerns about some aspect of the property that isn’t part of the standard inspection, don’t be shy about hiring a professional in that area to assess it. This additional evaluation will allow you to proceed through the home buying process with comfort and confidence.
You can—and should—attend the inspection.
This allows you an opportunity to ask questions about the property’s condition. Most professional inspectors are happy to provide their insights and offer pointers regarding how to maintain the property after settlement.
The home inspector isn’t responsible for making repairs.
He or she is only responsible for identifying issues with the property. It’s generally considered inappropriate to ask a home inspector to perform handy work. Instead, ask if they can recommend other professionals for any repairs that may be needed.
Make sure you receive a copy of the inspection report.
After the site visit, inspectors are required to submit a detailed report listing their findings in writing. It should include pictures of any damaged areas, as well. Read the report thoroughly before negotiating repairs. And don’t hesitate to ask questions if there’s anything you don’t fully understand or that needs clarification.
If any major problems are revealed, you usually have some options.
Most home inspections only reveal minor issues, but every now and then homebuyers find that the property they’re considering needs extensive repairs. In that situation, you may decide not to purchase the home without any consequences if your contract includes an inspection contingency. Alternatively, you may opt to negotiate with the seller to cover some or all of the cost. You can ask them to reduce the asking price by the amount of the repair estimate or to pay for the reparations directly. One exception are homes that are being sold “as is”. This means the seller is unwilling or unable to make any repairs that may be needed. These types of properties have a lower sale price, but if you choose to bid on one, you’ll want to budget for potentially extensive repair costs.
Your home is one of the largest and most valuable purchases you’ll ever make.
A thorough inspection by a qualified professional will help to ensure that you’re making a good investment. It’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind you’ll gain.
At Certified Title Corporation, we go above and beyond to provide our clients with top-notch customer service and an unmatched commitment to excellence. If you have additional questions about the home inspection process, please contact our helpful professionals.
About Certified Title Corporation: Since 1994, attorney-owned Certified Title Corporation has been furnishing residential and commercial real estate stakeholders across the nation with robust title insurance, settlement, and escrow services. Renowned for their industry-leading reliability and exemplary level of service and quality, the Maryland-based company helps clients from all walks of life achieve their asset goals. To learn more, call (888)486-5511 or visit https://www.certifiedtitlecorp.com/.