BUYERS & SELLERS: WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT INSPECTIONS
One of the few expenses the buyer pays upfront when purchasing a home is the home inspection. This is an examination of the home’s structure, systems, and built-in features. The home inspection provides the best opportunity for you to find out the true condition of the property.
Don’t Skimp On The Inspection:
Home inspection requirements are determined by state law. They can be extensive, and don’t always cover the features you want investigated. For that reason, you may need to hire separate companies for a termite/pest inspection, a structural inspection, a radon inspection, and a general inspection. A termite/pest inspection typically covers only the main building on the property. If the home you buy has a detached garage, for example, the inspection might not cover it, unless you pay extra. This is important, because if the garage reveals termites/pests down the line, you have no recourse with the seller or the inspection company.
To examine the foundation, roof, and exterior condition of your next home, you need to hire a structural engineer to perform an inspection. The structural engineer will tell you if the foundation, roof, brick or siding need work or replacing. Oftentimes, a general inspection company can also provide a structural report for an additional fee. A general inspection covers the operating systems and fixtures inside and outside the home – plumbing, electrical, appliances, sprinklers, swimming pool filters, and so on. The inspector uses the latest state-mandated codes to look at the age and condition of these features for signs of leaks and inefficiencies. You can expect them to turn on every burner of your stove and every tap in the kitchen and baths.
What to Expect:
Sometimes inspections can reveal expensive problems to fix. The inspector will tell you his or her opinion of the expected life of the roof or the air conditioning unit, which will help you plan your budget. If buying, you may require the seller to fix these items before you close or you may ask for a reduction in the price of the home to allow you to fix the items yourself. While inspections are supposed to be detailed, they don’t necessarily mean that the seller must fix everything, but you can require that they fix leaky faucets, broken handrails, bad electrical, and other items that may affect the terms of your loan. If you have an FHA or VA federally-insured loan, your inspector will know those standards and point out any condition that doesn’t meet them. This could delay your loan until the seller fixes those items and shows proof they’ve been completed. A home inspection can be several hundred dollars depending on how comprehensive it is, but don’t let the cost deter you. Most lenders will not loan you the money to buy a home without an inspection. Take the time to make sure that the inspection meets your lender’s requirements.
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