If Buying a home is kind of like a marriage, then a home inspector is kind of like a marriage counselor. A home inspection is one of the most critical parts of a home purchase. It will happen usually within 10 days of getting an accepted offer and marks the first hurdle toward closing. A home inspection can be overwhelming, and can take hours, so eat a good breakfast and bring a pen and paper!
A good home inspector will take you through each part of the house and discuss the good, the bad and the ugly. He will make recommendations, express concerns and provide a good record of his findings in a complete write up with photos. He, along with your realtor, will help you understand the typical lifespan of components and understand what if any major expenses might be coming down the line if you go through with the purchase. He will also give you tips on how to make the home better, after purchase, almost like an owners manual for your home. The inspector, like a marriage counselor, will help you understand if the commitment you are making is the right one for you and it’s your opportunity to express your concerns and discuss them openly with a professional.
In order to get a more complete picture of the commitment you are about to make, you may also want to
1. Hire a pest inspector (think mice, termites, bats)
2. Take a water sample (radon in water, bacteria, hardness, uranium are most commonly found)
3. Hire a septic inspector (big money if it’s a failing septic)
4. Hire a well inspector (can do a water flow test to determine if well is deep enough and producing enough output)
5. Test for radon in the air (takes two days for results)
A home inspection can average $600-800 and adding the additional inspections on top of that can get pricey, but just as in a marriage – it’s so important to know the ins and outs of your spouse – it’s just as important to know all about the home you are about to purchase. It’s much better to know things up front and be able to potentially either negotiate for a better price, or prepare financially for big items in the future.
Before you “say yes to the address” be sure you have done your due diligence so you can mitigate the surprises that may pop up! Homeownership (and marriage lol) will inevitably be full of surprises but at least hopefully you can mitigate the major costly ones with a thorough home inspection, and live happily ever after 🙂 Happy Hunting!