Buying a home without having a professional house inspection is a little like buying a car when all you’ve done is kicked the tires. You need an expert to ‘look under the hood’ and find out if the home you fell in love with is really a peach, or if it’s a lemon.
Think of an investment in a house inspection as an investment in your peace of mind: don’t buy a home without one.
A qualified home inspector will give your desired house a thorough examination, checking the heating and cooling system, plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, attic, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, basement, and visible structures of the house.
The inspector will point out the need for major repairs, identify areas that may need attention in the near future, and explain what maintenance will be necessary to keep the house in good shape. You should expect a written report that identifies all findings, including fire and safety concerns. Most inspectors are more than happy to tell you about the home's good qualities, as well.
The home inspection can be a bargaining chip when it comes time to make your offer to purchase. You can use the report’s findings to negotiate a better price, or to stipulate necessary repairs to be completed before closing.
To get the most out of your home inspection, try to be on the premises at the time of the inspection. This way, you can clearly see any problem areas and ask questions as they come up.
Home inspections are relatively inexpensive considering the size of the purchase that you are about to make. Expect to pay several hundred dollars and up. Consider this a small price to pay to protect you and your real estate investment.
Be sure not to confuse a home inspection with a home appraisal or the housing market analysis. An appraisal is a report containing an estimate of the value of the property. Appraisals are typically conducted for the purpose of mortgage lending by certified appraisers. The housing market analysis (provided by your real estate agent and also called a Comparative Market Analysis) focuses on price trends in a given real estate market, and helps you decide how much to offer a home seller.
Your Royal LePage agent can provide you with a list of reputable, qualified home inspectors in your area. It is also a good idea to ask the home inspector for references.