Home inspections are a common source of confusion for first-time home buyers, because there are several different types of inspections that can take place. Here is an overview of the most common types of inspections you could encounter during the buying process.
Primary Home Inspection
People talking about a “home inspection,” are generally referring to the primary inspection that is conducted by a licensed home inspector. It’s always a good idea to have a property professionally inspected before buying it.
The inspector will examine the home’s foundation, roof, electrical system, installed appliances, heating and cooling systems, and overall condition. When finished, they will give you a detailed inspection report that explains his findings.
Keep in mind that when you buy a house, you are generally buying it in “as-is” condition (unless specific provisions are added to the contract saying otherwise). For this reason, you want to make sure you know what is, and is not, working in the home. It is also important to know what repairs might be needed, and how much they might cost. For all of these reasons, the primary home inspection is essential.
Home inspectors typically don’t look for termites or other wood-destroying insects. So this is usually a separate inspection. The buyer typically pays for this type of inspection although sometimes, sellers will do one ahead of time in hopes of reducing inspection contingencies on offers. You might even have to provide a copy of the inspection for your mortgage lender. This is especially true if you live in an area where termites are common. You might be able to skip this process if termites are not commonly found in your area. Termite damage can be extensive and expensive. So these inspections are usually worth the cost.
Well Water Inspections
Depending on where the home is located, you may also need a well water test to make sure the water is potable (safe to drink).
Home Appraisal / Appraiser’s Inspection
If you are using a mortgage loan to buy a house, your bank or lender will send a licensed home appraiser out to evaluate the property. The appraiser is primarily concerned with the market value of the home. He will also examine the overall condition of the property, as it relates to the value.
Final Walk-Through Inspection
Home buyers typically perform one last inspection near the end of the real estate transaction, just to make sure the house is in the same condition it was in when they agreed to buy it. This isn’t a contingency of the contract but is just an option for you to ensure that there haven’t been any major changes during escrow.
As each inspection takes place, keep in mind that no home is perfect. You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of every house in order to make the right purchasing decision.
You can expect a number of inspections to take place during your home buying process. Most of these inspections are for your benefit, as the home buyer, so you need to take each inspection seriously and consider the outcome carefully.