Why a Purchaser Should Have a Home Inspection and What To Expect
A home inspection provides the last opportunity to have a professional opinion about the condition of a home before the Purchaser commits to the transaction. It may confirm what a Purchaser already knows about the home, or it may uncover conditions that were not obvious to an untrained professional. An inspector will evaluate heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems as well as structural conditions, including the roof and foundation. Although most common when purchasing of single- and multi-family house, with condo or coop purchases, inspections are highly recommended in older buildings where a unit’s electrical and plumbing systems may be out of date. If issues are discovered, the Purchaser may choose to withdraw the offer, negotiate for a reduced purchase price, or require that repairs be made. Otherwise the Purchaser takes the property “as is”, and may regret not paying a few hundred dollars for a home inspection that would have uncovered defects requiring thousands of dollars in repairs.
Home inspections normally take two to three hours for single-family homes. Multi-family homes will take longer depending upon the size of the home. Co-op and Condominium units will take less time since the inspection will be limited to plumbing, heating and electrical systems serving just that unit. For single- and multi-family homes, the inspection will include the home’s: foundation, structural components (walls, ceilings, floors and windows), roof, attic, basement, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems. Home inspectors will not open walls. However, if they feel there is a potential issue somewhere they cannot access, they will recommend a further specialized inspections for the presence of Radon, termite infestations, asbestos, lead piping or paint, mold and water damage. It is recommended that the Purchaser attend the inspection so they may be alerted to potential problems and have their questions answered by the inspector.
Once the inspection has been completed, the inspector will provide a written home inspection report with their results. This may take a few days and will delay the signing of the contract of sale. When the Purchaser receives the report, they should be more concerned with the extent of any major issues rather than the number of minor issues. Once the Purchaser has sense of the issues and the potential costs to correct them, they should speak with the real estate broker and their attorney. If the defects are severe enough to prevent the transaction from proceeding, the Purchaser’s wisdom in obtaining a home inspection will be self-evident.