Before completing the purchase of a home, you want to make sure it is in as good condition as you think. The most reliable way to do this is through a professional inspection of the property.
Home inspections and reports are an important part of buying a home and should be included as a contingency in your purchase agreement. In an inspection, at least one licensed professional will inspect the home for defects in its structure, systems and physical components. This includes the plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems, floors, ceilings, roof, windows and foundation. The inspector will also check or pest infestations, dry rot or other signs of pest damage, and examine the land on which the home sits for issues concerning the grading, drainage and retaining walls.
Most buyers get an inspection performed once they are in contract to buy the home, usually with the transaction contingent on a satisfactory inspection. The buyer is responsible for arranging and scheduling the inspection.
You can also perform your own inspection as you tour the home. Issues to look for include:
You can choose to hire a professional home inspector or general contractor to inspect major systems in the home, which normally takes a few hours and costs up to $500.
Remember that you are choosing a professional who will essentially be providing a check-up for one of the largest financial investments of your life. Choose someone you know is competent and trustworthy, not just the cheapest inspection company you can find or the one your real estate agent recommends. Do not forget that the least expensive inspector will be the one with the least experience, knowledge and ability.
Along with a general inspection of the home, it is a good idea to hire a pest control inspector who will give you a pest report. The seller may have already commissioned a pest report, in which case you can go by this. Pest inspectors often perform work on properties they have inspected, so they have an interest in finding an issue. If the pest report ordered by the seller comes up clean, you can usually rely on it.
The pest inspector will check for signs of infestation by flying beetles or termites in the wood of the home, along with dry rot and fungal problems.