When you are buying a home for the first time, you may think that it is the job of a home inspector to give you the green light to buy the property. That is not what the home inspection is all about.
The home inspector is not there to tell you the property you are considering buying is worth the price that is being asked. His or her job is to give you a great assessment as to the condition of the home. The inspector will follow certain guidelines and make sure the property meets a set of criteria governed by acceptable building practices along with state building codes.
It is still up to you to decide if you would like to go ahead with the purchase of the property. However, keep in mind that if you are financing your home through a bank and not getting conventional financing, they may ask for their own independent inspection.
This so called "inspection" is done by the banks appraiser. They will be looking for glaring deficiencies. For example, FHA and VA loans require the appraiser to look for a set of criteria on the condition of the home.
If you're going to be buying or selling a home have a look at what you need to know about home inspections in this excellent guide found on Maximum Real Estate Exposure. It will explain everything you need to know about home inspections whether you are a buyer or seller.
Home inspections are always a learning process. Whether you are buying or selling a home they should not be taken lightly.
Mold, Asbestos or Pests May or May Not Be in The Home
There are some things a home inspector can say he suspects are true but might not know for sure. If the inspector is not licensed for a certain specialty area they shouldn't make blind assessments.
For example, a home inspector should not be saying there are mice in the basement unless they have actually seen one. They are, however, allowed to say they have seen evidence of mice.
Mold and asbestos are two other excellent examples of substances a home inspector cannot tell you is present. Why? You need to do a test for both of these things to know for sure. A home inspector can certainly point out things that look suspicious. More often than not the inspector will be correct.
Of course, the presence of these things could be serious issues that need to be addressed. Don't, however, expect the home inspector to be able to counsel you or give you a cost to remedy - they can't!
You will need to call in respective professionals to deal with these kind of problems. Mold can certainly affect you and your family's health with long term exposure. If the asbestos is loose and in poor shape this could also be problematic. These things are often labeled as home inspection deal breakers if the problems are not rectified.
Common Issues That Are Easily Missed
While some people like to think home inspectors can see through walls and predict the future, they really can't. Even the most recommended home inspector can miss some kinds of problems. Want some examples? There are problems found in homes that are not always easily identifiable, especially when an inspector is only in the property for a few hours:
- A cracked heat exchanger.
- Prior ice dam problems in the property.
- A failing heating or cooling system.
- Damaged or blocked sewer lines.
- Internal chimney issues.
- Hidden structural problems.
You can see a full explanation of each of these type of problems a home inspector could miss. Sometimes specialists should be consulted to make sure the home you're purchasing doesn't have one of these issues.
None of these potential problems come with cheap fixes.
Specialist installations such as hot tubs and swimming pools are not usually the territory of home inspectors. They may check if the pump works, however, they are not qualified to check things like heating systems or check for cracked tiles.
Try to complete as many checks as you can yourself before you call in the specialists. If you have any concerns at all the money you spend will be worth it.
Areas of Concerns
Some home inspectors like to make a note of everything. This is exactly what they should do. There are bound to be areas of the home that you may have already noticed need some loving attention.
What you need to do is figure out if there are problems that are beyond your scope of fixing. Is it worth it to proceed? Will the seller participate in either fixing the problem, reduce the price or allot money to deal with the problem.
Ask yourself if this is a big deal. It is not really a big deal, then you need to appreciate that the home has been lived in. Take it in your stride or try to negotiate a better price. Don't spend too much time dwelling on stuff that you can easily fix yourself.
Real areas of concern are water in the basement, daylight showing into the attic, or any other structural/safety hazard that is readily apparent. This are often referred to as things that kill home sales.
Always remember that you are the one with the money. When you are concerned about the cost of repairs, get the specialists involved. It is not the job of the home inspector to give you a price estimate of potential repairs.
He or she may have some idea, but at the end of the day, this is not really what the home inspection report is all about. In many states home inspectors are not allowed to quote the cost of repairs.
Make A List of Pros and Cons
Once the home inspector has finished his job, you need to sit down and read the inspection report very carefully. To make it easier to understand, it is a good idea to make a list of pros and cons of the property. Sure, they may have found some red flags, but are they that serious?
When it comes down to it, there are two ways of dealing with home inspection concerns. You can ignore them which isn't always advisable. The other way is to address them with the homeowner by asking for them to be fixed or negotiate a drop in price.