You’ve found a house, taken advantage of today’s attractive mortgage rates and made an offer that the sellers accepted. What’s next? Typically, it’s the home inspection. These examinations can bring to light problems with the home that could cost thousands of dollars to repair.
The home inspection, which usually costs between $300 and $500, is performed by a professional who thoroughly examines the physical structure and major systems of a house from roof to foundation. Because buying a house is such a huge investment, such an inspection is vital to the process. If there are major problems with construction or systems, they should be apparent during the inspection. This allows the potential homebuyer to make a more informed decision about whether to move forward with purchasing the house and can lead to further negotiation.
Look for these items during the home inspection
During the inspection, the inspection will check some of the home’s major features.
- The heating and air-conditioning system: One of the red flags is an old HVAC unit. New units cost thousands of dollars to replace, so you’ll want to factor that into your negotiations.
- The plumbing and electrical systems inside the house: Any time homeowners attempt to do plumbing or electrical projects on their own or hire a sub par contractor, there is the risk that the work won’t be done properly. Correcting the problem can be expensive.
- The roof and attic: If there is any sign of roof damage, you should follow up with a more in-depth roof inspection. Roofs can be costly to repair or replace.
- Walls, floors, ceilings, doors and windows: If windows or doors are hard to open or jam up, it could be a sign of foundation movement.
- The foundation, basement and structural components: If your home inspection reveals cracks in the foundation, you’ll want to follow this up and determine the cause of the cracks. Tree roots invading the space or poor soil conditions could be cause to cancel the sale.
- Water damage or mold: Any sign of water damage or mold can be a potential deal-breaker and should be investigated further.
Once a professional home inspector checks out the house, he or she will issue a detailed report for the buyer. From this report, further negotiations can be made between the buyer and seller.
When you make an offer, you should always include a clause related to the inspection. It should state that the sale will proceed only if the home inspection meets your approval. If there are major issues that turn up, you can renegotiate and ask the seller to make the repairs or agree to a lower price.
A home inspection can also be useful when you’re getting ready to sell. It allows you to fix anything that needs to be repaired ahead of time. Even if you don’t plan on selling, an inspection can provide you with a health status of your house.
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