It’s very easy to make a simple mistake with the home inspection that could wind up costing you more money in the long run.
When you find the home of your dreams, it's important to move fast. But don't get too hasty - remember, you'll need to have the home inspected before everything is finalized and you take out a residential mortgage.
Many first-time homebuyers are surprised they need to schedule the inspection themselves. Indeed, it's the buyer's responsibility to ensure they're making a sound investment.
However, this step of the process is often clouded in confusion. It's very easy to make a simple mistake with the home inspection that could wind up costing you more money in the long run.
Here are some helpful hints at how you can avoid common home inspection missteps:
Research your inspector
Hiring the first inspector to answer your call or going with the first recommendation you receive from your friend or real estate agent isn't always the best move. You'll want to be sure the person looking for faults in your potential investment actually knows where and how to seek them out.
Find out whether the inspector has any certifications or has gone through recent training. These are good signs they know the latest best practices, Bankrate pointed out.
Ask about his or her professional background, too. If your inspector is a former construction worker or had another similar career path in building, it's a sign he or she knows what good construction looks like and how to tell if something is off.
Be present and engaged at the inspection
Throughout the inspection, the professional will take notes. At the end, he or she will write up a report for your review. Though this report is ideally easy to understand, highly thorough and includes all the information you'll need, there's always a chance that this won't be the case. You may not understand a certain term or problem described, and the inspector might not be the most articulate writer.
When you go to the inspection, you can look over the professional's shoulder to see what's going on. The best part is you can ask questions and have a one-on-one conversation to clarify anything you might feel is unclear.
Don't worry about bothering the inspector. First of all, it's your home - you should gather all information possible about potential work that you'll need to do and about how the home systems work.
Secondly, chances are your inspector won't mind, Angie's List contributor Edie Sherwood explained. Sherwood performs home inspections in Texas and wrote that teaching future homeowners about their house and its systems is one of the best parts of her job.
Seeking out specialized inspectors
Many times, the general home inspector you hire will only look at what's immediately available, The Balance pointed out. Sure, he or she will go down into the basement to check your home's systems, keep an eye out for signs of pests and look around for issues with the foundation. But, for the most part, what's out of sight or out of reach isn't included.
To that end, it would behoove some buyers to hire a specialist to take a closer look at things like:
- The roof.
- The septic system.
- Potentially dangerous substances, like asbestos or lead paint.
- Wood-destroying pests.
- Any sort of structural or foundational concerns.
Not every home will require every type of inspection. For example, if you know that the home's roof was replaced last year, you may be able to skip this inspection.
Or, if you know the house was built after 1990, you probably won't have asbestos in your home; it was banned in 1989, and the rule became more extensive the year after, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Doing some research on the construction of the home, its renovation history and common problems in the geographic area you're shopping in can help you determine which home inspections are right for you.