After viewing multiple homes, you’ve found your dream house. You’ve been pre-approved for financing and have plans to make it look amazing. Now, after some negotiating the seller has accepted your offer. The next step is the home inspection, one of the most important steps in the home buying process. Many buyers have some false assumptions about how the process works. The following are some of the most common misconceptions.
Inspectors will find every little thing wrong with a home. As much as they wish they could, home inspectors simply cannot uncover everything that may be a problem. For instance, inspectors cannot see behind walls. Home inspectors are guests in the seller’s home which limits what they can do. That said, home inspectors do use specialized tools such as gas leak detectors, moisture meters and radon detectors that allow them to gather more detailed information. Buyers need to be realistic about what they’ll learn from an inspection report. For example, if you are buying a house in winter months the inspector will not be able to test air-conditioning units or be able to inspect decks, patios, roofs or driveways if they are covered with snow. In summer months it may not be possible to determine exactly how efficient a heating system is.
Home inspectors can advise you whether to go ahead with the purchase. Inspectors can only tell you about the functionality and safety aspects of the house, not whether you should buy it. Even though most inspections are done at the buyer’s request, inspectors are impartial.
A home inspection is the same thing as a home appraisal. These are two completely different things. An appraisals function is to determine the value of a house on behalf of the lender. Home inspections are used to determine the integrity and safety of the home.
You don’t need to attend the inspection. Buyers should attend a walk-through of the inspection with the inspector. It is not necessary to watch the inspector test every electrical outlet, door, window and appliance. However, inspectors can go into much more detail in person than in a report. You will also be able to ask questions. While it is true that an inspector cannot advise you to buy or not buy, they can give you maintenance tips and advice.
Brand-new homes don’t need inspections. Poor construction may lead to expensive repairs in the future, so even newly constructed homes should be inspected. With a house that’s already been lived in signs of leaks, settling, mold or other issues that occur over a period of time become obvious. In a brand-new house where the appliances, bathrooms, doors and windows have not been used and issues may not be apparent. New homes should be inspected, even though they may be under warranty.
Home inspectors can predict the future. Inspectors can’t tell you when items in a home will need to be repaired or replaced. A home inspection is like a snapshot in time in the life of a home. Inspectors can tell you how old certain appliances are and what the useful life of them may be. They cannot tell you when a furnace or water heater is going to fail or when a plumbing leak may happen. Buyers should understand that everything in the house will need to be replaced at some point.
A house will either pass or fail an inspection. Home inspection reports will never indicate whether a property passes or fails. What may be acceptable for one buyer could cause another to walk away. First time buyers may be less likely to go ahead with the purchase if an inspection reveals a lot of issues. However, some issues may be useful in purchase price negotiations. In the long run if buyers can live with the results of a home inspection that is all that matters.