Enter the home inspector. A home inspector performs a physical inspection of the structure and systems of your prospective home. This means that while you may love the beauty of the living room’s wood floors, your inspector can tell if the floor will truly last.
The home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from roof to foundation. The inspection will determine not only the condition of the home, but also help foresee any immediate unnecessary additional cost that may go unnoticed by the untrained eye.
Home inspections start at around $200 depending on the size of the home, its age and overall condition. It’s money well spent if you’re serious about that particular property.
According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, the standard home inspector’s report will cover the condition of the home’s heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement and structural components.
John Prohaska, owner of J&P Inspections in Des Moines, Iowa, compares a home inspection to getting a physical from your doctor.
“When problems or symptoms of problems are found, the inspector may recommend further evaluation or remedies,” he said. “A home inspection summarizes the condition of a property, points out the need for major repairs and identifies areas that may need attention in the near future.”
The inspection will show the positive and negative aspects of a home, as well as the maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape. After an inspection, both parties have a much clearer understanding of the value and needs of the property.
Knowing about an issue before closing gives you the upper-hand at the negotiating table. A home in good working order may have been worth $350,000, but if $20,000 of work needs to be done to replace rotted wood or bad plumbing, the price should drop.
Before any sale is complete, you will need an inspection to look over the good, the bad and the ugly of what your new home really offers.
Remember, even if a house needs repairs or has hidden problems, it shouldn’t always be the catalyst for getting out of a sale. No house is perfect and as long as you know ahead of time what needs to be done and can possibly change the purchase price based on the information, the home inspection will give you a great starter list of what needs to be done to really make moving in that smoother.