You’ve searched all over for the right home. The winner is the perfect combination of location and convenience, in your budget, and even boasts a couple of amenities you weren’t looking for.
Before you race to the closing table, your REALTOR® suggests a home inspection. No matter how much you love your soon-to-be home, its important to let a professional check things out to ensure you’re not in love with a lemon. The last thing you want is to be hit with a five-figure home repair bill going into your purchase.
What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspector looks at the physical structure and systems of your house to be sure everything is in working condition from the roof to the foundation.
What makes a home inspector different than having a friend or construction professional look at my home prior to purchase?
A construction professional will be able to look at your home for possible damage in their area of expertise, which is usually only limited to one area (plumbing, drywall, electrical). A home inspector is also trained in how systems work together, so they may catch things a construction professional doesn’t.
For more about home inspectors, check out the American Society of Home Inspectors.
What should I look for in a home inspector?
Many times your REALTOR® will recommend a home inspector. It’s wise to trust their recommendation. This usually means the REALTOR® already has a working relationship with the inspector and values their judgment.
Since you’re likely to be paying for the home inspection, you may want to shop around. Here are some things to look for:
- How many years of experience they have
- Will the inspection meet Virginia requirements
For more information about interviewing home inspectors, download our handout
10 Questions to Ask Home Inspectors
What should I do if my home inspector finds something wrong?
What you do with what your inspector finds is entirely your decision. Keep in mind that inspectors are trained to look for problems, so their report will not highlight the good features of the home.
Many common problems found during inspection depend on the age of your home. Some of the ones home inspectors regularly see:
- roofing issues
- electrical wiring
- water damage
- poor ventilation
- drainage issues
- insufficient home maintenance
- structural damage
The severity of the repairs needed may make you change your mind. If your contract includes a home inspection contingency, you can cancel your contract and begin looking again.
If you still want the home even though it needs work, you can also try to renegotiate with the seller to have them make repairs.
Still have questions?
Check out these home inspection resources:
Make the Most of Your Home Inspection
Homebuyer’s Red Flags Checklist
The Home Inspector’s File
Learn About the Home Inspection Process with Our Virtual Home Inspection
House of Horrors: 6 Things a Home Inspector Might Not Catch
7 Things Your Home Inspector Wishes You Knew