Buying a home is a big decision, and you want to be comfortable knowing you have all the information you need. At South State, we know a home inspection can protect your future home and is a key point during the purchasing process. Here is some helpful information when it comes to having your home inspected.
Including an inspection contingency clause in your offer to purchase and/or your purchase and sale agreement (P&S) is the best way to ensure you have all the necessary information before buying a home. You’ll want to hire a professional home inspector to look for structural and mechanical defects in the property. You should also consider a termite (or other pest) inspection and test for environmental hazards, such as radon, lead paint (if the house was built before 1978) and mold. The home inspection should reveal both positive and negative aspects of the home and help you decide whether to make the purchase.
Even brand-new homes should be inspected. Although the home might look fine, an inspector may be able to uncover workmanship errors, potential drainage problems and the presence of unsafe radon levels.
What does a home inspection cover?
A standard home inspection will generally cover the following areas:
- The structure of the house, including the foundation, walls, ceilings, stairs and attic
- The exterior, including the roof, chimney, caulking and weather stripping, grading, drainage, driveways and patio
- The interior, including visible insulation and ventilation, leaking, steps, counters, railings, cabinetry and sinks
- The interior plumbing, such as fixtures, faucets, drains, toilets and water heater
- The electrical system, including wiring, fixtures and overload protection
- The heating and air-conditioning systems, including type, capacity, condition, distribution of sources of heating and cooling, controls, humidifiers and fire safety
- The basement or crawl space, including construction, structural ability, settlement and water penetration
There are limits to the inspection. Normally, the inspector will not move furniture or boxes that block access to parts of the house. He or she should also do nothing to damage the property (for example, by dismantling walls or systems). Be sure you understand everything your inspector will cover before the inspection.
What if the inspector finds problems?
Look to your P&S to determine the rights and duties of both parties. Generally, the procedure is standard. After inspecting the property, the inspector issues a report, noting any problem areas. If the report indicates the house requires repairs, the buyer typically has a few options:
- Request the seller have the problem repaired by a certain date.
- Request the seller lower the purchase price of the property to cover the cost of making the repairs.
- Request the seller split the cost of the repairs with the buyer in some fashion.
- Last recourse? Inform the seller the deal is off and ask for an immediate refund of any deposits.
To ensure you are covering all your home inspection bases, consider working with a real estate professional to give you expert advice about inspections.
To learn more about The Purchase Process, visit our Advice Center here.