A home inspection will give you the confidence you need to move forward with a purchase.
Home inspections are routine in the buying and selling process, but what needs to be corrected and who should do it can be confusing. For example, an inspection report is not a laundry list of what a seller must repair, says Tim Gardner of Inspecx Home Inspection Services in Moneta. If you are a buyer, an inspection prevents you from being surprised by conditions in the home. If are the seller, an inspector will give you a list of the “most critical” things you should address before selling.
An inspection can be compared to an annual medical checkup. The doctor checks your vital signs, runs some tests, talks with you about lifestyle habits and then makes recommendations. Those recommendations might include some immediate treatments for critical findings, correction of practices that threaten your long-term health, and, finally, some steps you need to take to maintain that health.
You go away from the visit and make your decisions, some of which will be guided by how appealing the property is overall. Gardner and his family, who relocated from Houston to Smith Mountain Lake in 1986, ended up buying a property they at first did not consider because they fell in love with the location. He has a one-mile view down the lake and killer sunsets.
In a home inspection, some findings have to be repaired by the seller based on local and state building and safety laws. Other conditions might be corrected by the seller if they are included in a purchase contract, but they are usually subject to a dollar amount. These items often relate to structural issues, plumbing leaks, and roof problems.
The third list of findings are guidelines for maintenance for the buyer, just as a change of lifestyle habits is the patient’s decision. Here, an inspector will point out such conditions as rotted fence posts, peeling paint, cracked pavement and worn carpet.
If you are considering purchasing a house, you should learn the following:
What’s critical - Are there cracks in the foundation or walls? Does the roof leak? Do the electrical breakers work? Do smoke detectors work?
What could stand to be changed - Are kitchen appliances out of date? Is tile cracked? Do floors need refinishing? These can check pricing of the property, but you can also live with them a while.
What should be in a long-term plan - Even cedar siding has a lifespan (about 30 years), Gardener says. A roof should be inspected every three years.
Potential buyers should not overreact to a finding. An example is mold, which often upsets people, but can “be addressed.” Also, what appears to be a water problem with a foundation could actually have to do with how water drains around the house.
What gets inspected:
- Framing (structure)
- Roof and attic
- Electrical and Plumbing systems
- Heating and air conditioning systems
Understanding an inspection report:
- No Visible Defects rating should give satisfactory service within the limits of its age.
- Monitor rating is generally cosmetic and repair is optional.
- Attention/Maintenance Recommended is considered normal upkeep.
- A Marginal rating is considered less than satisfactory and may soon need repair.
- A Recommended Upgrade will result in improved service or greater safety.
- A Defective-Relevant rating is a major concern generally considered to be significant and / or poses a safety hazard; and may have relevance to the contingent conditions of the real estate contract. This condition requires immediate attention. A licensed contractor should be consulted to evaluate the system and the inspector’s findings; and to provide an estimate for necessary repairs.