The whole process of house hunting, making an offer to eventually closing the deal can be a time-consuming and overwhelming experience. Many aspiring homeowners are focused on the basics like down payment and mortgage that they tend to forget house inspection. This is a critical phase that shouldn’t be skipped because an inspection will give you the information you need to make a sound decision when done correctly.
What Is Home Inspection?
In a nutshell, a home inspection is a visual and non-invasive thorough inspection of a property. It has to be performed by a professional that has broad experience in evaluating properties. By having the house inspected, you will know its current condition. You have the option to negotiate the price, ask if the seller will cover the repairs, or completely back out from the sale.
Since this is a non-invasive and visual-only service, the inspector must not dig the garden, remove drywall, or drill holes in the roof. Nothing in the property should be dismantled or tampered with. If, in any case, that the inspector has caused damage to the property, he is required to shoulder the necessary repair costs.
Types of Home Inspection
During a home inspection, you should make sure that the professional looks at several important aspects such as the electrical, plumbing, drainage, sewage, and HVAC systems. If any damages or repairs need to be done, you or the seller will be advised to contact an electric or plumbing company. A home inspection also includes looking at fire and safety hazards as well as pest or insect infestation. To delve deeper, home inspection has three stages:
- Visual — This is when you will meet with the inspector and your agent to look at the property. Though joining the inspection is not mandatory, it is more preferable for you to be present during the visit so that you can see the situation first-hand.
- Inspection Report — After the evaluation, the inspector will verbally discuss with you the findings. You are also entitled to get a detailed written report within 48 hours from the time they finished the inspection.
- Post-Inspection Resource — Once you have reviewed the report, the inspector will give you the chance to clarify any issues or red flags. You can also ask additional questions that will help you gain a better understanding of the property’s condition. This part of the inspection is included in the overall service fee.
Home Inspection vs. Home Appraisal
One common misconception is that home appraisal is the same as a home inspection. Both are important steps in buying a house, but these are two different things. A home appraisal is done to know the house’s value, while a home inspection is focused on determining the property’s current physical condition.
Another difference is that home inspection is a service arranged by the buyer to be educated about the property. On the other hand, a home appraisal is performed by a licensed appraiser and is paid for by the lending entity once you decide to apply for a mortgage. The appraisal can significantly impact the total amount that you can borrow and is conducted without your presence.
How Much Is a Home Inspection?
The buyer usually shoulders the cost of a home inspection, and though this is an added expense, it is still considered a good and practical investment. The price of a house inspection varies depending on the location of the property. Generally speaking, a single service can cost around USD 300 to USD 450.
If you are looking to get the service of a reputable and large company, the price can easily go up to at least USD 400 for a 2,000 square foot home. Larger homes also mean higher rates, and it could cost you roughly USD 500 to USD 600. There is also an additional cost if you want the house inspected for possible rodent, pests, and insect infestations.
How Long Does It Take?
Depending on how far the inspector will travel going to the location and the overall size of the house, the average time needed to complete an evaluation is around three to four hours. It is suggested that you take time off to be present during the inspection so that the inspector can walk you through the whole process. Since you are paying for this visit, you should maximize the opportunity to ask clarifying questions.
Buying a house can be one of the largest investments that you would make in your life. Aside from using your hard-earned money, you are also putting your time and heart into it. It is important to have the house inspected to protect your finances and avoid unnecessary surprises.