Home inspections are an important step in the home-buying process. Basically, they are thorough visual examinations of the physical structure and major systems of a home carried out by a professional who’s licensed to do this type of work in a given locality. When buying a home, you want to ensure that structural problems do not present safety hazards for your family and that no such issues impair the value of your home.
While home inspections are not legally required, they are an extremely prudent thing to have done before taking ownership of a home. As a prospective home buyer, there are a few things you should know about home inspections and the steps involved in the process.
Have a Contingency for a Home Inspection in Your ContractIt’s standard practice to have a home inspection contingency in any contract to buy a home. This usually provides you, as the buyer, anywhere from a one to two week period to get an inspection done on the property. This period of time should be enough for you to schedule the appointment with an inspector, receive their report about the property, have any additional indicated inspections done and then decide how you’d like to proceed.
Hire a Qualified, Professional Home InspectorThe importance of this step cannot be overstated. A house is a major investment, so you want to make sure the person you have inspecting it has all the requisite training, certifications and insurance, so you’ll know the job is being done right. You also want an inspector who regularly does inspections in your particular locality because they’ll be familiar with any problems with home builders, pests or soil in the area.
Go Through Your Home Inspection ReportWhen the inspector is finished checking your home’s structure and systems, they’ll prepare a thorough report of their findings. Such reports typically have a section for each room or part of the house and will point out anything that’s not as it should be. As you can imagine, some problems will be bigger than others, so their reports will categorize issues by their degree of severity. These can range from cosmetic defects on the bottom end of the scale that you may be able to fix or might not even care about and go on up to what are termed “material defects,” which are issues that will have either a major safety or home value impact.
Have Any Additional Inspections PerformedSometimes, an inspection will turn up signs of a problem that you may need another type of inspection to confirm. For instance, if a home inspector spots some mold, you may want to have a separate mold inspection to determine if it’s a minor issue or an extensive problem. Examples of other such specific inspections include asbestos, pest, radon, lead, termite or chimney inspections.
Decide What to Do About the Inspection ResultsThe purpose of the inspection is to give you more information, and then you have to decide what to do with that information. If it turns up no significant issues, then you’ll just proceed with the closing as planned. If there are fixable problems, you may either renegotiate with the buyer to bring the price down or have them fix the problems before you take possession of the home. It’s also possible that huge issues that are deal breakers will be turned up by the inspection, which is why it’s so important to have a property inspected.
Close on Your New HomeIf there weren’t any issues uncovered or if they were handled, either through lowering the price or the buyer fixing them, then the last step is to take possession of a home that you can be confident about as far as its safety and soundness.
If you are planning on buying a home in Pennsylvania and need a good home inspector company, you should contact S.P.T. Home Services, LLC. Our licensed and certified inspectors serve prospective home buyers in Montgomery County, Bucks County, Berks County, Chester County, Delaware County and the city of Philadelphia. We provide accurate and affordable home inspections that you can rely on and we offer additional home inspection services.