I have been through a few home inspections with my personal home purchases. Some have been good and not so good.
The last home we purchased we knew there were issues with the HVAC system. The unit was original to home and the sellers finished their basement but never increased the size of the system. Basically the system was undersized for the additional square footage.
Although we knew that this could cause problems later on, the home inspector argued with us and stated it was heating and cooling properly. We had to go through the hassle of hiring our own HVAC company to come out and prove to the sellers that the system was improperly sized. Because of our persistence, we were able to get a new system before we closed on the house.
So although my experience may have not been the best on my last purchase, I still recommend always having a home inspection when you purchase a new home. Sometimes they can find things that you may not. Each state has different laws and requirements, but there are some surprising things you may not know about having a home inspection done and the inspectors themselves.
7 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About Home Inspections
1. Not all states require home inspectors to have insurance, so find out what is covered if your home inspector misses something that becomes a major issue later. Sometimes they are only liable for up to the price you paid them for the inspection. You don’t want to end up holding the bag when there are big issues that cost big dollars.
2. Never hire your home inspector to fix any issues. Usually, this would be a conflict of interest, but could be legal depending on where you live. If inspectors think they can get paid for work from you they are more likely to find things wrong.
3. Understand what the inspection does cover. Most inspectors do not look at septic tanks, outbuildings, underground pipes or fencing. If you have a property with a lot of outbuildings, you can sometimes negotiate to have those buildings covered in the inspection.
4. Roofs are a tricky area. Most home inspectors are not obligated to actually get on the roof and inspect the roof for damage. The basic home inspection only covers observing the roof, which could be a quick glance.
Since replacing or repairing a roof is very costly, confirm with the inspector ahead of time to ensure they will do a thorough roof inspection. They may ask if you have a ladder available, etc., so be prepared to help them get the job done.
5. Only ½ of states in the U.S. have specific guidelines around home inspections. You want to make sure that critical areas like foundations, plumbing and heating are covered. Again, come to an agreement ahead of time as to what the inspection will cover, and to what detail of inspection.
6. Make sure you choose an independent inspector, and not necessarily one your real estate agent recommends. If an unscrupulous inspector thinks finding issues could kill the deal or cause a price reduction, they might just skip being thorough and honest with the report.
7. You will need to budget around $350 – $500 for having a home inspection and sufficient funds for the repairs that follow. Varies of course by state and also by the individual. I have paid $500 before but it is well worth the reassurance.
After the home inspection is completed, I encourage you and you have the right to go back to the sellers and negotiate the items that need to be addressed & fixed properly before your due diligence ends. And….please do your research and hire a qualified home inspector so you don’t have to worry about having issues and can relax and enjoy your new home!