A house is often the largest purchase most people will ever make. The period between signing the contract and closing on the house is nerve-wracking for homebuyers. From securing a mortgage to hiring a mover, so much happens in a relatively short amount of time.
Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned homeowner, it is essential to get a real estate home inspection to ensure that your new property is in good condition.
Why Have a Home Inspection?
When you buy a home, there are lots of costs involved. You have to come up with a downpayment, pay for an appraisal, and provide enough money to cover closing costs. Nobody wants another expense, but it’s crucial to have your home inspected by a professional.
While it may seem like you can spare the cost by looking for home inspection tips online and checking the house for defects on your own, you will almost certainly miss things that a licensed home inspector is trained to spot. The following are eight reasons to hire a professional to perform your real estate home inspection:
1. What You See Isn’t Always What You Get
While a home may seem like it’s in good condition, it’s always possible that there are issues beneath the surface. There might be mold that was concealed by a painter. The roof might have a leak that is invisible to the untrained eye. There might even be a layer of asbestos tiles underneath the flooring.
2. Protecting Your Rights
Your purchase contract should have an inspection contingency — a clause or provision that allows you to back out of the sale if you find issues with the house upon inspection. If you find a problem with the home, the seller and their attorney won’t immediately free you from your obligation to purchase. They will want to see a report from a licensed home inspector addressing the issue.
3. Future Aggravation from Unforeseen Complications
Flipping the lights on and off to see if they’re working won’t tell you if the wiring is in good condition, or if there is enough electricity in the home to handle your dishwasher, blowdryer, and microwave all at once. Dialing up the thermostat to see if the heat works probably won’t reveal the age or condition of the system, either.
Before you take ownership of the home, the onus of ensuring that everything in the house is up to par lies with the seller. The last thing you need is for the HVAC system to quit on you a year after buying the home — it will no longer be the seller’s responsibility, and you’ll be out thousands of dollars.
4. Permitting Issues
If an insured but illegally installed water heater breaks, the insurance company won’t cover it. The same situation will occur if a flood damages home improvements that the seller made without permits. Your homeowner’s insurance policy might not cover the repairs since the original work was done illegally, even though it was done before you bought the home.
5. Your Safety and Well-Being
Carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and radon are deadly, odorless gases that might be permeating the air of your home. You might be able to check for these on your own, but it is probably better to hire a professional instead. A minor carbon monoxide leak could turn into a serious problem before it attracts the attention of a standard detector.
6. Structural Surprises
Although a building’s structure seems straightforward, it’s actually pretty complicated. An architect typically designs the framework, determining the placement of support beams that will carry the weight of the house. Unfortunately, not every builder constructs the home as drawn by the architect. While you can perform a visual inspection of a home’s supporting beams, you won’t know if they are the right size or if the builder placed them correctly.
7. Unexpected Demands on Your Budget
Whether or not you’re overextending yourself financially by buying a home, you should know what to expect for budgeting in the future. How long will your HVAC system last? When will you have to replace the roof? The answers to these and many other questions will be in an inspector’s report.
8. Maintenance Mysteries
Once you own your home, you will have to maintain it. A home inspector will give you a detailed maintenance report to teach you how to inspect your systems, how often to change your filters, how to check the interior and exterior of your home for defects, and everything else you need to know to keep your home in top shape.
Although a house with tiled bathrooms and granite kitchen countertops might be attractive or seem like the perfect fit, it’s not necessarily in good condition. The only way to make sure that everything is above board and a good investment is to hire a professional to perform a real estate home inspection.