What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home from the roof to the foundation. The standard home inspector’s report will include an evaluation of the condition of the home’s heating system, central air conditioning system, interior plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, attic, and visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, basement, and visible structure.
Why do I need a home inspector?
The purchase of a home is probably the largest single investment you will ever make. You should learn as much as you can about the condition of the property and the need for any major repairs before you buy so that you can minimize unpleasant surprises and difficulties afterwards. Of course, a home inspection will also point out the positive aspects of a home as well as the maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will have a much clearer understanding of the property you are about to purchase, and will be able to make a confident buying decision. If you have owned your home for a long time, a home inspection can identify problems in the making and recommend preventative measures which might avoid costly future repairs. In addition, home sellers may opt for having an inspection prior to placing the home on the market to gain a better understanding of conditions which the buyer’s inspector may point out. This provides an opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition.
What will it cost?
The inspection fee for a typical single family house varies geographically as does the cost of housing. Similarly, within a given area, the inspection fee may vary depending upon the size of the house, particular features of the house, its age, and possible additional services, such as septic, well or radon testing. It is a good idea to check local prices on your own. However, do not let cost be a factor in deciding whether or not to have a home inspection, or in the selection of your home inspector. The knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the cost, and the lowest priced inspector is not necessarily a bargain. The inspector’s qualifications, including his experience, training, and professional affiliations, should be the most important consideration.
Can I do it myself?
Even the most experienced homeowner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector who has inspected hundreds perhaps thousands, of homes in his or her career. An inspector is familiar with all the elements of home construction, their proper installation, and maintenance. He or she understands how the home’s systems and components are intended to function together, as well as how and why they fail. Above all, most buyers find it very difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may affect their judgment.