A home inspection is an objective examination, by a home inspector, of the physical structure and systems of a house. An inspector will inspect your potential home from roof to foundation, identifying the need for repairs and/or any maintenance work that might be necessary to keep the house in good condition.
The following are some frequently asked questions regarding a home inspection:
Q. Why do I need a home inspection?
A. Purchasing a home is likely to be the single greatest financial investment you will make in your lifetime. It is imperative that you make this investment with confidence, after gathering as much information as possible. To that end, it is very important that you are aware of any and all issues that exist, so that you can make an informed decision regarding whether you are willing to take on the time and expenses that may be involved in remedying any existing problems. Hiring an experienced professional, with no emotional attachment to the house, to provide you with unbiased information about the condition of the house, is the best way to make sure you are as informed a buyer as possible.
Q. What should I look for in a home inspector and what questions should I ask before hiring an inspector?
A. There are several things you want to make sure of before you hire a home inspector, including:
- License. Inspectors are required to be licensed in certain states.
- Insurance. Ask whether the inspector carries an errors and omissions insurance policy and ask to see a copy of that policy.
- Other Qualifications. Is the inspector a member of the American Association of Home Inspectors? Does he/she have any other qualifications?
- Experience and References. Find out how much experience the inspector has and ask for a few past client references.
- Report. Find out what type of report the inspector will provide for you after the inspection and how long it will take before you receive the report.
- Cost. How much will the inspection cost and what exactly is included in that price. Find out if there are any additional costs that will be associated with the inspection.
Q. What areas of the house should I expect an inspector to inspect and report on?
A. The following items are some that inspectors typically inspect in a home: foundations, exterior, roof, siding, doors and windows, porches and decks, insulation, ceiling, walls, moldings, electrical systems, plumbing, septic tanks, water heater, heating an air conditioning systems, garage, basement, attic, appliances, fireplaces, landscaping, driveway and sidewalk. Your inspector should provide you a list of the items that will be covered in the inspection.
Q. What are some common hidden problems that might be brought to light through a home inspection?
A. Below are some examples of problems and defects that a home inspector might find that might not be readily apparent to the average home-buyer:
- Water Leaks/Water Damage. An inspector will look for water stains on ceilings and near the baseboards, especially in basements or attics, to find any water leaks and/or water damage in the home.
- Shifting Foundation. An inspector will look for cracks along the home’s foundation and determine whether the foundation is sound.
- Drainage Issues. An inspector will look for standing or pooling water, around the foundation or in the yard to determine whether the home has appropriate drainage.
- Termite Damage. An inspector will look for termite damage, typically seen in weakened or grooved wood, especially near the ground level of the home.
- Damaged or Worn Roof. An inspector will examine the roof for broken or missing copings and buckled shingles and will examine the interior of the home for water spots on the ceilings.
- Inadequate Wiring/Electrical Issues. An inspector makes sure there are not insufficient outlets or outlets without a place to plug in the grounding prong and will point out antiquated fuse boxes.
- Plumbing Problems. An inspector will check the water pressure to ensure it Is not too low and will look for banging in pipes.
Q. Can a house fail a home inspection?
A. No, a house does not pass or fail an inspection. A home inspection is meant to be an objective description of the components of the home – the intention is for the potential purchasers to know more about the house they wish to purchase. A home inspection allows you to make an informed decision.
Q. If the inspector finds problems with the house, does that mean I should not buy it?
A. No house is perfect. If the inspection finds issues or problems with the home, it does not necessarily mean you should not buy the home, it only means you have more information with which to make that decision. Whether or not you choose to buy the home despite the issues that have arisen is a decision you will make based on a number of factors including: the types and severity of the problems the inspector has uncovered; the cost of remedying the problems; and, whether the sellers are willing to remedy the problem or offer a price reduction to compensate you for the costs you will incur in remedying the problem. Each purchaser will make the decision regarding whether to go forward with the transaction based on his or her individual circumstances.
Good luck and happy home ownership!!!
Ruth Miron-Schleider, a long-time resident of Bergen County, has been a real estate broker for over 3 decades. She is the Owner and Managing Director of MIRON PROPERTIES. Ruth is a Certified Residential Specialist, an e-PRO Internet Professional and an Accredited Buyer Representative. She is a member of the Eastern Bergen Board of Realtors, National Association of Counselors, the Senior Advantage Real Estate Council, and the Graduate Realtor Institute.
Ruth has been the Recipient of Circle of Excellence Award every single year since 1999, and the recipient of Reader’s Choice #1 Real Estate Agent—2015, 2016, 2017, 2018.
For a complimentary consultation, call Ruth at MIRON PROPERTIES, 201.266.8555, or contact her via e-mail: Ruth@MironProperties.com.
Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed, subject to errors and omissions.
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