Do I Really Need a Home Inspection?
By Sandra Rinomato
As a homebuyer, you’ll want to make sure that you make a wise investment choice, and that’s why professional home inspections are becoming an essential part of the buying process. In fact, more and more buyers are using specialized inspections based on location or the property itself, in addition to the standard home inspection.
A professional home inspector reviews the operating systems and structure of a home of any age—even new homes—and leaves a written report for the client to keep as a reference guide. Typically, the home inspector will comment on the condition of the foundation, heating and cooling systems, electrical service, roof, plumbing, and other significant structural factors and will outline costs of repair or replacement where needed, as well as comment on the condition of the property compared to others of the same age. The few hours that you spend with your inspector are the best time to learn the ins and outs of taking care of your property, and you should keep the reference book for as long as you live there.
With rising home prices and a subsequent rise in the use of home inspectors, in recent years, the field has actually become more specialized to suit specific needs of certain markets or properties. For example, some offers to purchase may require the services of a swimming pool inspector, termite inspector, electrician to inspect wiring, or a water-quality inspection for a property with a well.
Inspection costs will vary based on the size of the home, but you can expect to pay in the area of three to five hundred dollars for a typical home inspection of a single family residence. In many cases, it’s the buyer who pays the cost of the home inspection, and most agree that it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. However, some home sellers are using pre-listing home inspection reports as a marketing tool. A home inspection report can also give you additional negotiating power if it unearths some significant problems that must be remedied, but may not have been visible.
Your real estate professional can advise you on how to incorporate a home inspection as a condition of buying a property. Your offer can be conditional upon a professional home inspection being conducted and a satisfactory report being received by you the home buyer. If the inspection report indicates some big expenses, or problems you don’t want to deal with, your offer can either be terminated or possibly re-negotiated to help cover the cost of any major remedies. Your realtor will advise you of any risks associated with renegotiating the deal and will protect you during the process so that the seller cannot accept an offer from another buyer.