A home inspection is an important part of the buying process where an objective third-party performs a visible assessment of the property’s condition so you can make an informed decision about your purchase. After all, it’s one thing to plan for a fixer-upper and another to be surprised and saddled with expensive repairs. Here’s what you can expect from the inspection:
What’s a Home Inspection?
The inspector spends a few hours examining the home and will produce a report that will contain checklists, descriptive summaries, and pictures of key areas showing the home’s condition. The inspection isn’t a test that can be failed, but rather a report of potential structural issues to be aware of. Cosmetic and minor issues are typically up to the buyer to handle, but certain repairs must be completed by the seller before the house can be sold. Additionally, some problems can influence your negotiations. That being said, severe problems will likely be a deal breaker for your lender.
The report is also a valuable educational tool for preserving your investment. It can provide insight into repairs you should plan for soon, or alert you to expenses you may incur later. It may even provide estimated time frames for major maintenance (such as a roof replacement), which is helpful for forecasting your housing budget and savings.
Typically, you’ll order the inspection after the seller has accepted your offer and provide a copy to your lender to close your loan. When planning to buy a home, you’ll want to allow a 7-10 day window for the inspection, and you should set aside several hundred dollars for it. Your real estate agent may recommend a home inspector for your consideration, but if you prefer to find your own, the American Society for Home Inspectors (ASHI) is a good resource.
What Gets Inspected?
A standard inspection reviews the items listed below. For some properties, you may want to seek additional or specialized inspections — such as for a pool.
- Attic & visible insulation
- Structural Components
What Are Some Red Flags?
Some issues need to be addressed promptly. The fix may be expensive, but delaying action may present safety hazards or lead to more expensive repairs down the road. When shopping for a home, think about what your deal breakers are and what your “fix it” budget might be when you’re viewing homes. Major problems like these may also be a deal breaker for your lender:
- Old or damaged roof — roofs need to be replaced about every 20-25 years, so if the roof is older, or if there’s noticeable damage or wear like missing, curling, or cracked shingles, this is a project you’ll need to tackle right away. Delaying roof repair can result in more expensive repairs, like water damage and mold — even with our beautiful Central Coast weather. The average cost of replacing a standard asphalt shingle roof for a 2,000 square-foot home is just over $7,000.
- Plumbing issues — leaks lead to water damage, can actually damage the structure of the house, as well as foster the growth of mold. Poor water pressure and drainage may also be symptoms of underlying plumbing issues.
- Mold — mold grows quickly and thrives in places you can’t see, like inside your walls, and certain kinds are hazardous to your health. A diagnosis from a mold inspector will run you several hundred dollars, and mold remediation to fix the problem could cost several thousand.
- Faulty or old electrical system — an old house that hasn’t had its electrical system updated may not be sufficient for your modern needs. Additionally, faulty wiring, ungrounded outlets, or aluminum wiring (used between the mid-1960’s and 1970’s) may present a fire risk.
Are you ready to start your home buying journey? SESLOC Mortgage Loan Officers offer personalized service to match you with the right real estate solution. Request a free consultation to review your options, or get started with an application today.