Guest Author - Rose Mary
After you found your dream home, made an offer that was accepted, you will want to know if the structure is as sound as it appears cosmetically. That is where a home inspection comes into play and, believe it or not, it is well worth the money you'll spend.
Once you've initially agreed on a purchase price, your realtor should be familiar with local inspectors and be able to make referrals. Take down names both realtors give you, but don't stop there. It is very important to hire an impartial inspector. If home inspections are not common in your area, then you will have to find one on your own. It is a little intimidating trying to find someone to inspect and report his or her findings on the most important financial investment you will make. Don't let that stop you from finding a reputable inspector.
You will need to do some investigative work to ensure you are hiring a qualified professional. You can begin by checking inspectors against the Better Business Bureau Reports. You can also ask them for references, which they should be very eager to provide. If you live in a state that has adopted some sort of training and licensing of home inspectors, verify that the inspector you hire has the proper credentials. Home inspectors charge a wide range of fees. Expect to pay anywhere from $125 up to $500, depending on location, square footage and how much detail goes into the inspection. All of these questions should be clearly conveyed to you by the inspector before you agree to hire him.
Once you've made an informed decision, it is your right to meet the inspector at the home and remain throughout the process. This will give you the opportunity to see first hand any damage or questionable defects the home might have. You will also be able to ask questions about repair costs and total affect on the overall structure. Inspectors will generally give you information about how to improve certain aspects of the house even though the condition is acceptable according to local code. Listen and take notes to refer back to later on.
Expect to be at the home for about two hours depending on the type of inspection. During this time, the house will be inspected for age and condition of the roof, appliances will be tested for proper heating and cooling, and the hot water heater will be inspected for safety and operation. Electrical outlets will be tested, plumbing will be tested, and moisture content around plumbing will be checked. The inspector will enter the attic area and inspect the condition of the structure and any ducting. He will also look for any code violations. In effect, the house will be inspected from top to bottom, including looking for foundation imperfections.
When the inspection is finished, you will receive a hard copy of the findings. From that list, you can then compile your own list of items you would like to have repaired before you make the final agreement to purchase the home. In a few years it would be a good investment to repeat the inspection so that you stay aware of any problems that may be occurring over time.