What You Need to Know About Home Inspections

 In Consumer Information, Home Building

Liz Schneider, President, North Coast Building Industry Association

The home buying process is both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Even with the help of professionals, your checklist is likely long. And one of the most important items that should be at the top of your list is scheduling a home inspection.

Although not required by law, many lenders do require a home inspection, which helps protect the large investment you are about to make. It’s important to learn as much as you can about the physical condition of the home before you buy it, to ensure it’s a sound investment. And while an inspection cannot guarantee the condition of a home, the inspector can alert you to items that need repair or any safety concerns.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about the home inspection process.

Schedule Your Inspection As Soon as Possible

It is the buyer’s responsibility to schedule and pay for the inspection. You should schedule the home inspection as soon as you can after your offer has been accepted. This ensures you’ll have enough time to request repairs or to get out of the contract if the inspector discovers a deal-breaker for you. When choosing an inspector, your realtor may have a recommendation, or you can find one through the American Society of Home Inspectors.

Inspections Describe the Basic Physical Condition of a Home

An inspector’s job is examining the current condition of a house. This includes pointing out what components and systems may need major repair or replacement. The inspector will examine the home’s exterior, including steps, porches, decks, chimneys, roof, windows and doors.

Inspectors also look inside the home to examine the attic, electrical components, plumbing, heating and air conditioning, basement/crawlspaces and garages. A home inspection will not include cosmetic issues that do not affect the working condition of the home.

Be There on Inspection Day

As the buyer, it’s important for you to be at the home for the inspection. Ask the inspector if you can follow him or her around to better understand what they are examining and to ask questions if needed. This is a great way for you to get to know your new home and become familiar with areas that may need attention.

After the inspection, the inspector will provide you with a report. You can then determine if you will ask the seller to make any repairs or give you a credit to make the repairs on your own. It’s important to keep in mind that no home is perfect. But the inspection report should help you determine if it’s the perfect home for you.

Inspections for New Construction Homes

If you’re buying a newly constructed home, the process is slightly different than the inspection for existing homes. Before you go to settlement, you and your builder will do a walk-through to conduct a final inspection. This walk-through provides an opportunity to spot items which may need to be corrected or adjusted, learn about the way your new home works and ask questions about anything you don’t understand.

Create a checklist when inspecting the house. The list should include everything that needs attention, and you and your builder should agree to a timetable for repairs. It is important that you be thorough and observant during the walk-through. Examine the surfaces of counters, fixtures, floors and walls carefully for possible damage. Sometimes disputes arise because a buyer may discover a gouge in a counter top after move-in, and there is no way to prove whether it was caused by the builder’s workers or the buyer’s movers.

To learn more about the home inspections for both new and existing homes in Lorain, Erie & Huron counties, contact the North Coast Building Industry Association at 440.934.1090 or visit www.ncbia.com.

The North Coast Building Industry Association is your local not-for-profit trade association representing member companies involved in all aspects of home building, remodeling, and other aspects of services available to help you in the future as well as more information on the above topic.   So, you can see it is for your protection that you use a NCBIA member. If you are unsure that your contractor is a member of the NCBIA or you are looking for a list of NCBIA members, you can visit our website at www.ncbia.com or call 440-934-1090.   We also have a job posting board (under the Industry tab).

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