What about a home inspection?

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Agents are not allowed to inspect homes. 
Sellers are required to disclose if they know anything negative about the home. 
But what if the seller's don't know something?

It's a buyer's responsibility to ensure the that condition of the home is satisfactory to them.


Professional Inspection:  Most home inspections are done by professionals.  A professional home inspector has tools and methods for looking at a home from top to bottom and left to right.  Obviously, a professional inspector can not find every problem, but they can find more than the average person.  A home inspector is typically at a home for 3 to 4 hours and then reviews their findings with the buyer when they are through inspecting the home.  98% of home inspections are paid for by the buyer.  Some sellers choose to have their home inspected prior to selling so they can address the problems before they scare a buyer away.  The cost of a home inspection depends on the size of the home.  Most inspections are between $200 and $400 for the basic inspection.  Termite, radon, mold and other tests are usually an additional cost.  A good inspector is not affiliated with any repair company.  Inspectors who are affiliated with repair companies could be biased in their findings and may "inflate" a problem to try to get additional business on repairs.  Professional inspectors will tell buyers if there is an issue that they need a licensed contractor to look into further.  I would be happy to recommend a few local inspectors.  It's important to understand that I am not affiliated with any of these inspectors.  I require any inspector I refer to be completely honest with my buyers, even if that means losing the sale.  I'd rather have a buyer back out of a sale versus having them buy a lemon and blaming me for it.
Trade Specific Inspectors:  Some inspections are done by a licensed contractor in a specific industry, like a plumber or electrician.  If a home buyer only has a concern in one category of the home, they could consider paying a contractor in that industry to check into it for them.  Most contractors are happy for this type of business because it's a chance for them to get more business if they find a problem.  So, contractors will usually be very thorough when they look into the problem area.  Because of this, be aware that some contractors may also "inflate" a problem in order to generate more business from the repairs.  The cost for these inspections vary between $45 to $150.

Self Inspection:  Some buyers are quite capable as a "do it yourself" inspector.  Someone who has a good working knowledge of all the home's mechanical and cosmetic components could feel comfortable in tackling the home inspection on their own.  Typically, a self inspection reveals fewer problems because most people don't have the same tools or methods that a professional uses.  These don't usually cost the buyer any money unless they buy special things, like tall ladders, to be able to inspect the home.  A self inspector is usually very thorough because they have to live with any problems they miss. 

Friend/Family As Inspector:  Some buyers have a trusted friend or family member inspect a home.  Perhaps this friend or family member is the type that could do a Self Inspection.  Even though these friends and family members have good intentions, they usually don't spend as much time in a home as a professional or self inspector.  These inspections usually reveal the least amount of problems.  Sometimes these types of inspections produce inaccurate information. 

The following information was found at http://www.homegauge.com/buyerseller/whatishi.html  

What is a buyer's home inspection?

It is a visual inspection of the structure and components of a home to find items that are not performing correctly or items that are unsafe. If a problem or a symptom of a problem is found the home inspector will include a description of the problem in a written report and may recommend further evaluation. Before you close, you need to consider whether or not repairs are needed now and who's going to pay for them.

Why is a home inspection important?
Emotion often affects the buyer and makes it hard to imagine any problems with their new home. A buyer needs a home inspection to find out all the problems possible with the home before moving in. Once your inspection is performed, do not wait on the agent to assist you. Review the inspection and make a list of items you think the seller should address and present them to the agent in a timely manner. While the inspection is not meant to be a tool for re-negotiations, many times it becomes one. Don't let your brother or uncle or a friend do it. You are not saving any money by letting a friend look. Even if he is a contractor, it does not mean that he is a good inspector. You need a qualified unbias inspection so when the inspector does find problems, they won't be easily minimized by the other parties because your uncle or friend did the inspection.

What if the report reveals problems?
All homes (even new construction) have problems. Every problem has a solution. Solutions vary from a simple fix of the component to adjusting the purchase price. If the inspector recommends further inspection by a qualified person, this means that you need to get an opinion by a qualified person before your inspection time period runs out on your real estate contract.

What does a home inspection include?
A home inspector's report will review 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 visible structure. Many inspectors will also offer additional services not included in a typical home inspection, such as mold, radon testing, water testing, thermal imagery and heat/air loss inspections typically known as energy audits without the diagnostics.

What should I NOT expect from a home inspection?

  • A home inspection is not protection against future failures. Stuff happens! Components like air conditioners and heat systems can and will break down. A home inspection attempts to reveal the condition of the component at the time the component was inspected. For protection from future failure you may want to consider a home warranty.
  • A home inspection is not an appraisal that determines the value of a home. Nor will a home inspector tell you if you should buy this home or what to pay for this home.
  • A home inspection is not a code inspection, which verifies local building code compliance. A home inspector will not pass or fail a house. Homes built before code revisions are not obligated to comply with the code for homes built today. Home inspectors will report findings when it comes to safety concerns that may be in the current code such as ungrounded outlets above sinks. A home inspector thinks "Safety" not "Code" when performing a home inspection.

Should I attend the home inspection?
It is often helpful to be there so the home inspector can explain in person and answer any questions you may have. This is an excellent way to learn about your new home even if no problems are found. But be sure to give the home inspector time and space to concentrate and focus so he can do the best job possible for you.

What is a Home Warranty?
A home warranty does protect you against components that fail in the future. You may have to pay a deductible (service call fee) when you have a problem. If you choose to have a warranty, be sure and qualify coverage of your problem over the phone with the warranty company before they send a repairman. If you do not, you may find out that your problem is not covered and you still must pay the deductible or trip service fee. If you have a home inspection and you know your furnace or another major component is old, you may be better off to buy a warranty before you purchase. We recommend you look closely at what is NOT covered in warranty company policies as you compare prices.

Some inspectors offer a 90 day warranty and some agents a year warranty. Are they the same?
No they are different. The 90 day warranty will cover certain items for up to 90 days after the inspection is performed. It is a limited warranty they may help you with certain items that fail shortly after a home inspection. The annual warranty is much more comprehensive and while it does cover more, be sure and read what is covered and what is the deductible etc.