Home inspections for buyers: yes or no?

 

If you’ve bought a home before you may have done home inspection during that process. If you have never bought a home, this is an important step in the buying process that you should become familiar with. There are many reasons why a home inspection is a good investment of your money during the buying process. With less frequency, even a seller will do a home inspection when they list their property for sale. This offers them the opportunity to address any items in need of repair if they choose to do so. 

Home inspections are not required by lenders; don’t confuse a home inspection with an appraisal that is required if you’re obtaining a loan to finance your home purchase.  Home inspections are a valuable tool to evaluate the home being purchased during the buying process, which in North Carolina could be during a due diligence period. The due diligence period is an agreed to period of time in your contract allowing you as the buyer to perform various inspections of the home.  Some additional inspections can be performed by a home inspector if they offer these specific services, for example: water analysis, and radon testing. In North Carolina home inspectors are licensed, and have various requirements, and standards that they have to adhere to when performing inspections, and reporting their findings.  I offer a list of inspectors for a home buyer to choose from when deciding to have an inspection.  Buyers communicate directly with the inspector to discuss services desired, their fee, and other details; they do require a signed contract to perform a home inspection.

While the list of benefits of a home inspection can be lengthy, I’m listing only 5 important reasons to invest in a home inspection. Some deficiencies, or changes to a home can have serious health consequences so there’s much more to evaluating a home than looking for a leaky roof, or cracked window!

  1.  Structural-   inspect for compliance with approved construction methods, determine if there is any damage, defect to the structural integrity of the home.
  2.  Electrical-    inspect for compliance with approved electrical installation, identify any safety concerns related to wiring, outlets, breaker panels, grounding.
  3.  Radon-       radon is an invisible and odorless radioactive gas (caused by decaying of uranium in the earth), It is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer, and does exist in western North Carolina.  A measuring device is used by the home inspector to take readings over a 48 hour period.  If there is an unacceptable level of radon detected, remediation is recommended.  The remediation process can be accomplished relatively easy by hiring a radon remediation contractor who will use one of a few different methods available to vent the home. Since there are no visible signs of radon, and it can pose health risks, this is an important inspection that you should consider  performing in addition to the home inspection itself.
  4. HVAC (Heating, ventilation, air conditioning)-  there are various methods of heating homes in western North Carolina, including the use of radiant floor heating. This method of heating may not be familiar to buyers from warmer climates.  A home inspector will test components to determine that they are functioning properly on HVAC systems.
  5. Water analysis–  most homes in rural mountain area use a well, or spring as their water source for drinking, coooking, bathing, etc.  It’s important to analyze the water since it is literally coming straight from the ground without being treated.  Sometimes, there is a higher level of iron in wells, and a homeowner may choose to install a water filter system; some homes for sale may already have a system. The water analysis will identify levels of iron, bacteria, and other chemicals found in water.

This is just the “short list” of  items that a home inspector will check during their inspection. Maybe there’s an item that you weren’t familiar with, and if so, then this was useful information for you. I always tell sellers, and buyers that an inspector will find something that he recommends be looked at further by the appropriate expert, or is in need of attention… that’s their job!  So, do not be alarmed when you receive a lengthy report, items noted by the inspector can range from minor to major, in need of immediate attention, or just something to keep an eye on. I’ve seen an inspectors report range from 30+ pages to 80+ pages, so that includes a lot of detailed information, photos, and sometimes even videos.   If there are items in need of attention that you want the seller to address at their expense, you may ask them to do so during the due diligence period. While a home inspection report is not provided to the seller, only to the buyer and their realtor, it’s beneficial to share the report with the seller when requesting that they handle repairs. If the buyer’s broker also represents the seller, it’s also important that the seller realize that the broker must share any information considered to be a material fact, with any future buyers should the current transaction terminate.  An example would be findings of radon in the home.

 

Additional source:  NCREC HOME INSPECTION BROCHURE published by: North Carolina Real Estate Commission

There is a wealth of information available on the internet regarding the items mentioned above, and others so you may conduct further research on your own. The information contained on this post is not all inclusive, nor any guarantee of conditions of a specific home.

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