The process of buying a home is always stressful. But the stakes rise another notch once you find your dream home.
Then theres the race to actually secure it, and every day that passes brings the possibility of other suitors or cold feet on the part of the seller. You negotiate and haggle, and finally the deal is struck.
That certainly leaves you feeling like the finish line is ahead of you, but theres one major hurdle left to clear. The closing process is complicated, costly and could make or break your future in this new home.
And at the crux of it all is the home inspection. This is when the professional will come in and look over the home for any red flags that could seriously impact your wallet or your quality of life.
Am I Required to get a Home Inspection?
Generally no; it is for your protection. Even if you are applying for an FHA loan to avoid a high down payment, HUD.com says, If you find problems with your new home after closing, we can not give or lend you money for repairs, and we can not buy the home back from you. Thats why its so important for you, the buyer, to get an independent home inspection.
But while the home inspection is useful and important, its not the final word on all problems. The home inspector has his eyes peeled for material defects.
This makes the scope of their work pretty limited. So youll have to keep your eyes out for commonly overlooked issues during a home inspection; that is where your responsibility lies.
Bathroom and Kitchen Appliances are a Hard Call
Its often the case that the kitchen, the bathroom, and related amenities are the reason why you fall in love with a house. Next to the bedroom you spend the most time in those rooms, so it makes sense.
But a home inspector could miss the faults in some appliances. Inspections always require that appliances are switched on, but long term problems wont always reveal themselves after one use.
If a problem arises after the inspection, youll be stuck with it. Whenever you sign a home ownership agreement you are allowed to expect that the plumbing and electrical systems are up to code.
Any of these encountered will always be reviewed during an inspection. But elements around these systems may be missed or ignored. One example is damage to a window or behind the homes siding.
If the plumbing has caused leaks that have subsequently been repaired within the walls they wont necessarily be caught during a review of the major systems.
The really critical issue in this scenario is that this can lead to costly, and potentially unhealthy, mildew and mold issues within your first year of ownership. Residual spores can become active when the humidity level increases.
The HVAC System can be Difficult
The HVAC system in your home is one of the most expensive elements underneath your roof. Issues with the heating or the air conditioning should be uncovered during your home inspection, but a lazy inspector may forgo a thorough job.
If its very cold out, he may not stick around to run the air conditioner, and the same goes for hot days and the heating. Indeed, the thermostat may not allow it to kick in.
Also, the inspector might be nervous about breaking the system by running it during times of extreme temperature. If the inspector is above board this will be noted in the report, so just make sure you take care of it with a specialist before signing off on the inspection.
Theres nothing like the feel of plush carpeting beneath your feet that makes you feel at home during the chilly mornings or nights.
But while wear and tear will be noted in a home inspection, whatever may be going on underneath that carpet will not. That means mold or other water issues or pest infestations could be a reality you arent aware of until after you take ownership.
Consider walking through the house with the inspector while hes working, so you can point out areas of concern that youd like to look into.
A Roof Inspection is Critical
Finally, dont forget about the roof. Roof issues are actually the most commonly overlooked during a home inspection, and its no shock why this is the case. In many cases the home inspector is only required to look at the roof from the ground or from windows above lower roofing sections.
If theres something visually obvious it will get noted, and that will be enough for title companies.
The concern is that to examine things like flashing around the various penetrations, you really need to get a set of eyeballs in those areas, up close and personal. To make sure youre not buying some major roof problems get a roofing contractor to look it over, and just include the expense in the closing process.