There are a lot of myths about home inspections out there. People often don’t understand when a home inspection is necessary, who should perform it and how it should be conducted. These misconceptions can cost a buyer a lot of money. Basically, a professional home inspector looks over a home from the foundation to the rafters. He or she prepares a report that gives the condition of all the home’s major components.
However, the inspector will not rip into the walls, take apart any appliances or inspect the swimming pool. The inspector gives the home a close look with a professionally trained eye. Keep in mind that an inspection isn’t the same as an appraisal. The appraisal gives the value of the home, the inspection gives the condition.
The first myth is that a home inspection isn’t required as long as you can see the condition of the property is good. This isn’t true. You should always have your home inspected by a professional inspector, complete with certifications and licenses. You will receive a report that gives the condition of the inspected items. Many reports will include a list of items that need attention and photos of the findings. This is a written report of the home’s condition of the home on the day it was inspected. What is in writing is more important than any spoken claims you get from an agent or seller.
Don’t confuse a termite inspection, electrical inspection or a chimney inspection with a home inspection. These are important, but will not provide a complete picture of the home’s elements. A termite inspection only checks for termites, he won’t check the heating and air units.
General contractors cannot provide home inspections. In fact, many states forbid it, due to the potential for conflict of interest. A general contractor has a good background in becoming a home inspector, but you shouldn’t have your home inspected by anyone who isn’t a licensed home inspector.
The inspection is not a seller’s repair list. While the seller can use the inspection as a repair list, unless it is a contingency in the contract, there is no obligation for repairs.
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The exception is if the home inspection finds conditions that are require by law to be fixed before the home is sold. The inspection tells you what you are getting for your money. Some people even have inspections performed before signing a purchase agreement — to save time and money. Even if you are buying a home “as-is,” you should have it inspected. While the seller is not responsible for any repairs or improvements, the inspection lets you know what you are getting into. It is better to know before you live in the home.
And finally, new homes should be inspected as well. They should be inspected before the walls are closed in and after the building is complete. A study a few years back revealed that 15% of new homes sell with a serious defect. Other studies indicate that 41% of new homes sell with serious problems, including mold. Thirty-four percent can have structural problems, including missing connections.