On the surface the residential home inspection may seem like a insignificant item that could be done without yet when buying a home it is a critical step. What appears to be a little elbow grease work can really mean remolding an entire bathroom or a roof replacement. The more knowledge about a property the a better decision can be made to either purchase or not to purchase.
So what is a Residential Home Inspection?
A home inspection is an independent property review by a licensed home inspector whom the buyers have hired (a home inspection is different from a residential home appraisal yet there are similarities) to give them a written unbiased property condition report. A qualified home inspector will be able to breakdown everything good, bad, and ugly about the property. Identifying the problem areas are their expertise. Inspectors are impartial, have no emotional attachment and are not blinded by the curb appeal of a particular home. Home inspectors look at the foundation, siding, roof, drainage, hot water tanks, plumbing, wiring and much more then supply all that information in a written report containing pictures to the interested parties.
In older homes, in this case, the electrical panel was missing a main power shut off and the home inspector recommended a new electrical panel should be installed to meet code and safety standards. Also in older homes, tube socket electrical wiring is common place yet by modern standards it’s a frightening site. If repair and maintenance is not an option then a full replacement could be required which costs thousands according to estimates I’ve received on older homes. Homes build in the 1930s and earlier, like Everett’s historical district, so if you are looking at older homes keep the electrical in mind as it may become a issue to the home inspector and appraiser.
The crawl space is a very common area for the home inspector to find recommended items. Common maladies are: rodent infestations, drooping insulation or missing insulation, missing or damaged vapor barriers, exposed plumbing that is vulnerable to freezing, and a lack of drainage. These types of repairs can be costly and can be the determining factor if a home sells or not. But if you still would like to buy the house which needs some repairs, negotiate those repairs out of the sale price or select an financing option like a FHA 203K rehab loan or if possible do a USDA escrow hold back that will enable the improvements worked into the purchase price – common with HUD homes.
Recommendation for Buyers on a Home Inspection
Attend. Attend. Attend. By attending the home inspection a buyer will gain first hand knowledge of the property while shedding more light on dark areas. One area that my buyers never seem to want to go on their own is the crawl space, imagine that. Buyers don’t feel like getting their nice close dirty by crawling under a home yet a home inspectors dawn their dirt suit, in true Mike Rowe fashion, and take a closer look at the plumbing, insulation and the condition of the foundation. Also by attending, buyers have the opportunity to ask questions regarding maintenance / non-maintenance that hadn’t originally hit the radar. The home inspection is the best way to save yourself a headache down the road.
Seller Recommendations on a Buyer’s requested Home Inspection
1) Stay on top of regular maintenance issues before they become large costly repairs. The winter months soak a home in water and the nights will freeze it solid so take protective measures.
2) Be prepared for some unfortunate news. With all the preventive maintenance and extreme care homeowners take in their home its not uncommon for a home inspector to discover items of concern.
3) Save receipts for service work and repairs done that way potential buyers can see/verify when services have been done. This is especially important when pertaining to roofs, electrical panels and wiring, septic systems, hot water heaters, and furnaces.