Most but not every home buyer requires a home inspection but every one of them should. Buyers of new homes and buyers that receive a warranty are the most likely to skip the house inspection. Every purchase offer should be made with a house inspection contingency clause. Every house has some problems, be those major or minor. Major problems that the seller refuses to correct can cause a purchase offer to be rescinded. Minor problems might or might not result in a slightly lower price being negotiated.
Some people confuse a house inspection with the appraisal. The appraisal is for the lender to assure that the value of the house is more than the loan being requested. The appraisal does not evaluate the major systems of the house or the performance of mechanical systems.
A house inspection is for the benefit of the buyer. When a buyer finds their dream home, they often only see the best parts. They fall in love with the solid granite kitchen counters, the shiny hardwood floors, and the fresh paint job. What they fail to notice is the sagging roofline, the pooling water under the foundation, and the DYI wiring on the electrical panel that isn't safe.
Any inspection that comes back without any defects should be questioned and probably rejected as being improperly done. The defects might be as minor as landscaping mulch needing to be pulled back a few inches from the foundation to protect from wood eating bugs or a bathroom water faucet that needs to be replaced because it constantly leaks. Or the problems might be much bigger such as an attic infested with pests or a furnace that won't make through the winter. The whole point of having an inspection done is to learn what problems exist with the house so that the buyer makes an informed decision before completing the purchase.
A good home inspection will be thorough. Most inspections begin with the outside of the house and include common features such as the roof, siding, exterior doors, and windows. Inspectors check the grading of the house for drainage issues. They’ll test to see if the gutters are in place and working. However, unless arranged for, most inspections don't include outbuildings, swimming pools, underground sprinklers, and other features that are not attached to the house.
The inside is also thoroughly inspected. All of the major systems are checked. The furnace should be started, the air conditioner checked, water lines and drains examined, electrical system checked, etc. Issues such as two pronged electrical plugs that are not grounded should be noted in the inspection report.
It's a good idea for the buyer to accompany the inspector on the inspection. For one reason, the inspector can point out exactly what problems exist in addition to writing them down in the report. When the buyer attends the inspection, it typically creates a more critical mind set than when he or she first fell in love with the house. This results in a better informed purchase decision. An inspection contingency clause in the purchase offer enables the buyer to rescind the offer if they don't like the results of the inspection.
However, not every little detail will be included in the home inspection report. Items that the inspector expects the buyer to notice often are not included. These are typically minor issues such as a knob missing from a cabinet or slightly larger issues that are not safety or operational issues such as scratches on a hardwood floor. When a buyer attends the inspection with a more critical eye, they often pick up on some issues that were missed when they first viewed the home.
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Author bio: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 35 years and writing about real estate investing for seven years. He also draws upon 30 plus years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives at Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination, a few short miles from a national forest. In the Olympic Mountains with the Pacific Ocean a couple of miles in the opposite direction.