As a buyer the home inspection process is probably one of the most important aspects of making the purchase of your home.
While you may be required to have a home inspection by some lenders; it is highly recommended that you hire your own home inspection and make the sale of the home pending your home inspection.
Each state handles home inspections differently but for the most part they are all generally the same. Check with your agent as to how inspections are handled where you are buying. As a buyer it takes only a few hundred dollars on average to have peace of mind and know that there shouldn’t be any sudden uninspected issues that pop up; at least in the near future.
The home inspection will give you a fairly extensive picture of the overall condition of the home you are looking to buy. Many lenders require the inspection but if not, make sure you don’t pass up this ability to get a professional look at the home to avoid any issues. Your agent can refer you to at least one company you can utilize for your home inspection. Depending upon the number of inspection agencies available in your area you may have to wait your turn to get the inspector to come do your inspection, especially during the busiest times of the season.
Types of Inspections
While the term itself is very generic, the home inspection can include various types of inspections within the inspection. You want to be sure what type of inspections you are getting with your inspection and if there is something you feel want included, be sure to ask for it when you order the home inspection. There are different types of inspections available to you.
Depending upon the state you live in the inspection could be a requirement by the state or by the lender. If it is not a requirement you want to be sure to get the inspection for your own peace of mind and as part of the sale make the inspection one of the pending items of sale. If the home doesn’t pass inspection then you have the choice of nullifying the sale or the seller has the ability to fix the items that won’t pass inspection in order to make the sale.
The Standard Home Inspection – This type of inspection is an overall inspection of the home and will usually include exterior surfaces, basement, crawl space, lawn & grounds, roof, electrical, plumbing, appliances, garage, any outer buildings that aren’t attached to the home (sheds, etc.), attic, fireplace or wood burning stoves, air conditioning (generally only central air & won’t include window units that may come with the home), and foundation. This is a standard home inspection and leaves ample room for additional types of inspections to be added on to and include with other types of inspections.
Many of the standard home inspection will also include other types of inspections while others will require that the following inspections be requested. Depending upon your area you may or may not want to include the additional inspections mentioned here. Generally, it’s best to be safe and have as much and as many of the inspections as possible to lower the possibility of any problems with your new home.
Termite Inspection – while in certain areas where termites are common this may be included in your standard inspection; other times it could be an additional inspection you order with your standard inspection. Termite inspection looks for anything that damages wood; this could include everything from organisms such as mold or fungus and any insects or animals. This particular type of inspection often varies by state as to what the inspection requires.
Well Inspection –If the home you are buying is not connected to a city/local water system then you will want to have the well tested. The well testing involves both testing the water with a sample sent to a lab and the flow of the water from the well enough to supply the home with water. This test may or may not also involve an inspection of the septic system also. If it does not include the septic system you want to assure that the septic system is inspected also.
Pool/Hot Tub Inspection – This inspection obviously only applies when you have a hot tub and/or a swimming pool involved with the sale. The inspection covers the overall condition of the items and assures that all parts involved are in working order. They also will conduct an inspection of any decks or attached areas that could become rotted or lose integrity due to the possibility of water damage or any other wood damage.
UST Inspection – This is an inspection of any underground storage tanks. These tanks could be anything from oil tanks for home heating and although not necessarily a part of this inspection it can include the septic tank. Most often the septic tank is part of your well inspection because you generally have a septic tank involved when you have a well; but make sure if you have a septic tank that it is either part of the well inspection or part of the UST inspection. You need to be assured of the integrity of these tanks because they are underground and are subject to the elements; often rusting, being worn from time and elements.
Generally these tests are done with a vacuum test that assures the tank is not leaking. Leakage, cracks, or any compromising of the integrity of the UST could cause everything from contamination of water to hazardous contamination of the grounds around it. Not only is there the safety factor but there’s the factor of having the expense of replacing these tanks, which can be quite expensive.
Lead Paint Inspection – A lead pain inspection is now, in many states, a required inspection for any home built before 1978. This inspection is a must if you have pets or children especially; but the lead in the paint can be harmful to everyone, including adults. We recommend that if the home was built after 1978, but within a few years of that date, that you take the extra time and money and have a lead pain inspection. The only time you really don’t have to worry about the lead inspection is the home is truly a newly constructed home or a home that was constructed and verified not to have used any lead paint in the construction process.
These are just a few of the additional types of inspections that can be conducted or may be conducted as part of your standard inspection process. There are so many more and your agent should guide you as to whether you need to have additional inspections added on to your standard inspection.
One type of inspection to consider is an Asbestos Inspection which determines if there is asbestos in any part of the house, inside or out. There is a Stucco Inspection which is for homes with stucco siding, generally found in the south west, and the inspection determines if there is any problem with the finish or if there may be any moisture issues with the stucco. Stucco can often experience breakage that can allow for water intrusion, resulting in problems with the finish and/or mold and fungus issues.
There is also an inspection designed specifically for Composition Board Siding. CBS is a paper based siding that is man-made to look like wood siding for less money. The condition of the siding can be compromised if there are tears, breaks, hits, dents, etc. that would allow for moisture to seep in and ruin the siding. Of course this inspection would only be needed on a home that has Composition Board Siding so it’s not included in a typical standard home inspection.
As you can see, there are many different types of inspections that can be needed, depending upon the area you live in, the year your home was built, and the type of home you’re buying. What can’t be argued is the importance of having a home inspection done on any house that you are considering buying. What’s just as important is to make the sale of the home dependent upon the results of the home inspection to assure that you are not going to be buying a house that may need thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of repairs or fixes to make it safe and/or livable.