A home inspector is a property professional who deals exclusively in performing incredibly detailed, but non-invasive examinations of real estate prior to sales transactions. The inspector is contracted by the potential buyer, who often makes their offer on the home contingent on a favorable report from the trusty inspector.
Forgoing a property inspection can be financial suicide, since serious and potentially catastrophic issues may come to light after finalizing the sale of the house. Using areal estate inspector is always advised and is considered common sense according to the lesson of Caveat Emptor: Let the buyer beware.
This consumer guide examines the risks and benefits of the home inspection process during residential real estate transactions.
Home Inspector Qualifications
Currently, inspectors are regulated by the individual state governments in the United States and the qualifications to be called an inspector vary greatly. Some states set minimum educational criteria and training requirements, while others necessitate actual licensure.
People who live in states with strict inspector requirements are far better protected than buyers who live in unregulated states. Often, the more people an inspector has to answer to in order to keep doing their job, the more thorough and comprehensive their exam will be.
In foreign countries, property inspectors may or may not be regulated at all. It is important to discuss these issues with your real estate agent prior to making an offer on any property, foreign or domestic.
Home Inspector Functions
A property inspector will do their best to thoroughly detail a piece of real estate, inside and out, in their report. They will examine the residence around the entire exterior and detail the utility service, foundation, roof, walls, windows, landscaping, land grading and secondary structures on the property.
They will also check the home inside, describing the condition of the floors, walls, windows, appliances, heating system, cooling system, plumbing and structural integrity of the residence.
Inspectors can not rip into walls, or damage the house while doing their job, but they still have an array of high and low tech tools to get to the root cause of most problematic issues. Discovery of unknown home problems save the buyer from any nasty surprises once the deal closes. Identification of troublesome concerns can also create leverage for financial bargaining with the seller.
Hiring a Home Inspector
Real estate inspection specialists should be well trained, skilled, knowledgeable, insightful and professional. They should be incorruptible and not open to incentives to pass any property for favors or monetary compensation.
A good home inspection will take quite a bit of time, from 2 hours to a half day or more, depending on the size and detail of the home.
In some markets, a buyer will get frustrated, since they might pay for 3 or more inspections, which all reveal problems with the prospective homes. This occurrence has happened to me on one occasion. This can get very expensive and may make the buyer want to stop the housing search altogether, or worse yet, buy the property regardless of what issues are found.
In many cases, a better solution is to take the report to the seller and work with them to fix the issues and go ahead with the deal. This way, everyone is happy and financially protected and the inspector is still credited with doing a fantastic job.