Before you buy a new home, get a home inspection to help guarantee smooth sailing. You need to play an active role in this process, so you should know these home inspection tips to help save you money and keep you from making missteps along the way.
1. Get Multiple Recommendations
Your real estate agent might suggest a home inspector who could turn out to be wonderful. However, it wouldn’t hurt to get a second opinion. Besides asking your friends and neighbors, use the American Society of Home Inspectors to vet their recommendations and make sure you hire someone who’s qualified.
2. Attend the Inspection
Many people don’t realize they can be at the inspection. However, if you’re there, the inspector can show you what they find and let you know whether it’s a big deal or not. Don’t let some weather or construction debris prevent your inspector from checking a hard-to-get-to area. You don’t want them to avoid inspecting some exterior areas, such as the deck or crawl spaces because of rain because a potential problem could be missed.
3. Ask Questions
You probably don’t know much about the “guts” of the house: the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems, so attend the inspection and ask a lot of questions. A good inspector will answer all of your questions and explain what they’re doing and looking at all along the way.
4. Turn on Utilities
At a normal home inspection, the utilities will still be connected, but that isn’t always the case. With some foreclosure properties, it’s the buyer’s responsibility to get utilities turned on for the inspection. If utilities are turned off, you’ll miss seeing things such as if the dishwasher drains properly, the pipes leak, or the water flow isn’t sufficient.
5. Test for Water and Mold Problems
If the home you’re buying gets its water from a drinking well, you need to have the water tested for contaminants. Everyone should get water tested. It doesn’t matter if the water comes from a well or from a public source. Water testing can tell you about the integrity of your plumbing, if you have copper or PVC, or if you have arsenic, lead, or radon exposure in the home. It’s also important to test for mold.
6. Don’t Assume a New-Construction Home Is Fine
New homes still need to be inspected. Many have defects, even if they met county codes. If the builder reassures you that the house is perfect, get it inspected anyway.
7. Hire a Specialist If You Need To
A home inspector can diagnose general problems, but will sometimes refer you to a specialist. If your housing inspector recommends a specialist, you should get one. Don’t be discouraged or afraid of paying a little more money to have a secondary specialized inspection done. It may save you a ton of money later on.
8. Take the Report Seriously
Don’t forget the inspection is not a mere formality and you actually need to consider the results. If the inspector finds problems that the seller won’t address, you might need to pass on the deal depending on the severity of the problems.