Owning a new home is beyond exciting, and it’s only a matter of time before you host your first housewarming party. Before closing on your future residence, consider a few more things you need to do, such as a home inspection. While this step is optional, it will give you clarity on the small details.
With an inspection, you can find and fix any areas of concern before you settle. Plus, you can discover some of your new home’s quirks. Learn more about the process with the eight tidbits below.
1. Estimate the Costs
When it comes to home buying, it’s your responsibility to hire an inspector. You’ll pay this cost, an average of $300 to $500, on top of other home expenses. However, controlling the process gives you security when selecting an inspector. You’ll know from the get-go who you’re dealing with, and you can ask plenty of questions. Don’t let high rates scare you away — hiring a reliable inspector before you close equals fewer problems later.
2. Consider Commonalities
Each home inspection varies depending on the property. However, most of them share a few aspects. For example, you can expect the surveyor to examine every room and look for issues concerning structure and integrity. They’ll likely have a checklist ready, but you can create one to know which areas to prioritize, including:
- The foundation
- The electrical system
- The plumbing system
- The attic and basement
- The heating and cooling
- Potential mildew and mold
3. Think About Pests
You’ll need to hire another inspector for an in-depth review of any pest problems. A typical inspection will look for signs of rats, ticks, fleas and other vermin.
Ask the seller if they own a wood-destroying insect report (WIDR), which tells you if the house has structural damage from termites or other creatures. If they don’t, get one to ensure the home’s structure is stable. You don’t want to move in and spend thousands on new framing in a few years.
4. Request References
Most jobs ask for references before hiring employees — follow in their footsteps when searching for inspectors. Ask them for names of past clients, and feel free to contact those individuals for more information. Buying a home is a big deal, and you want to ensure you’re dealing with the right people. Move on to another inspector if the current one doesn’t fit your expectations.
5. Ask About Insurance
Ask your inspector if they have insurance before hiring them. Professionals carry errors and omissions policies, which allow you to file a claim if they miss anything. If your home requires repairs overlooked by the inspector, insurance will help pay for it. Be sure you have a solid case before going this route, and use the inspection report to reinforce your claim.
6. Receive a Report
Once the inspector completes the evaluation, they’ll forward a report of their findings to you and your agent. This report outlines significant fixes like structural damage and electrical issues. It also highlights less obvious problems, like rusting pipes, which can eventually lead to termites.
Sit down with your inspector and agent to discuss anything you’re unsure of. They can refer you specialists for repairs or renovations.
7. Use the Contingency
An inspection contingency gives you a specific amount of time to conduct a review before buying a home. This duration should be long enough to find an inspector, do the necessary checks and figure out your next move. This period generally lasts a week or two, but it depends on your contract details. The contingency protects the home buyer if they find major issues with the house and want to negotiate or cancel the sale.
8. Every Repair Requires a Different Approach
How you tackle problems depends on various factors. If your finances are tight, you may decide to do repairs yourself or save up. You’ll need to determine which issues require an immediate fix and which can afford to wait until another day. Mold, pests and structural problems all take priority, as they can pose urgent risks.
Buying a Home? Learn All You Need to Know About Inspections
Once you chose an ideal inspector, you’ll be one step closer to closing on your dream home. Next, think about how to design the space as you please.
Emily is a sustainability writer who is the creator of Conservation Folks.