The home inspection is a critical step when purchasing a home. While it may seem like one more thing that you have to pay for during an already expensive time, a home inspection can save you a ton of money in the long run. At The Rivera Group, we always recommend for our clients to invest in a home inspection before closing on the home.
The purpose of the home inspection is to identify any underlying issues with the home and the home’s systems. Ask your real estate agent for a referral to a certified home inspector. While a home inspection is not required by your mortgage lender, it’s still a smart option to protect you and your interests.
General Home Inspection
A general home inspection identifies issues with the standard areas in the home. The inspector checks the major systems and components like the HVAC, electrical and roof. As the home buyer, you receive a report identifying any issues. You pay for the home inspection and may decide to share the report with the seller or not. From the general inspection, you may opt to pay for additional specialized inspections.
Top Areas of Focus for Home Inspections
HVAC is one of the most expensive systems in your home. The general home inspector will inspect the unit to look for rust, leaks, electrical issues, and other obvious problems. They will turn the unit on and off to see if it works. However, for older HVAC units, it may be worth it to pay for an inspection from an HVAC company to ensure the unit is in good working order.
The roof is another expensive part of your home. It’s also critical to have a stable roof to avoid leaks and further damage to your home. Roof damage can happen with age or weather, like hail. Like with the HVAC, if the general inspection reveals issues with the roof, you can pay for a specialized roof inspection.
Water leaks are critical to address, particularly if mold or mildew are found. Mold may lead to harmful health effects for those living in the home. Not only that, when mold is found, it makes selling a home much more difficult. Protect your new investment by ridding the home of water leaks and mold before you purchase the home.
Like with the roof, a solid foundation is critical to the structural integrity of the home. For older homes, ensure the foundation is up to code. Be very wary of purchasing a home with an unstable foundation because foundations are expensive to repair.
Faulty electrical systems are one of the leading causes of house fires. Poor quality or outdated electrical systems shouldn’t be ignored. Especially when purchasing an older home, outdated knob and tube wiring should be replaced. This is critical for the safety of you and your family.
Harmful and Damaging Elements
After checking the major systems for damage, focus on substances and pests that can cause harmful results. Conduct a termite inspection to ensure the walls and foundation aren’t impacted. If termites are found, seek a remedy from the seller.
Test for radon. If the levels are unacceptable, radon mitigation is an easy fix. You can decide whether to require the seller to install radon mitigation. However, this issue can’t be ignored because radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer. It’s a serious issue.
Identify other possible health risk factors like asbestos and lead paint. These materials are more often present in older homes. It is completely reasonable to walk away from the deal if the seller can’t or won’t remedy harmful or damaging elements in the home.
If the home you’re purchasing has special features, it is a good idea to work with a specialized inspector to ensure the integrity of those features. For example, if the home has a pool or solar panels, get those features inspected. You are paying for those elements in the home’s purchase price and should expect them to work properly.
How to Handle Issues from the Home Inspection
Once you receive the final reports from all inspectors, you’ll work with your real estate agent to determine what repairs to ask the seller to make. Focus on the issues that matter the most. Your real estate agent will communicate with the seller’s agent on your behalf.
If the seller doesn’t want to make the repairs, you have three options. First, you can ask for a credit to cover the costs to handle the repairs yourself after closing. Second, you can buy the home as-is. Finally, you can walk away from the deal. Regardless, it’s key to understand the actual state of the home before you close on the deal.
Contact the real estate experts at The Rivera Group to start the home buying process. We help our clients throughout the buying process to ensure your interests are protected.