So you've found 'The House' and you're going to make an offer. Congratulations! But before you get too far along, there are some important things to consider. My father-in-law approached me when I bought my first home almost 39 years ago. His comment: "Be careful what you're buying. Have it inspected. Yo0u can't return it next week like you can a suit that doesn't fit." Inspections are one of the most important parts of the buying process. Like my father-in-law said, you can't
So, what do you do? How do you inspect the home? What, more than physically looking at it, is necessary? How do you find someone to do the inspection(s)> Pay attention.
Home inspections are an essential part of the home buying process, but what constitutes a thorough inspection and how do you find the right professional to do the job?
A general inspection is meant to identify structural or systemic problems in a home:
: Condition of walls, ceilings, floors, foundation, insulation, and roof.
: Wiring, grounding, main panel, circuit breakers, light fixtures, and exhaust and ceiling fans.
: Toilets, showers, sinks, faucets, and traps. Check condition and identify materials used for potable, drain, waste, and ventilation pipes.
: Water heater, furnace, air conditioning, duct work, fireplace, chimney, and sprinklers.
: Dishwasher, range and oven, refrigerator, garbage disposal, washer, and dryer.
: Slab, walls, ceiling, garage door, and firewall.
: Siding and trim, doors, windows, lights, gutters, driveways, fences, sidewalks, landscaping, and drainage.
Sometimes a general inspection may not be enough. Specialists may be called in to test for asbestos, lead paint, radon, or methane gas, as well as mold and wood-eating pest damage.
It’s always a good idea for buyers to be present during home inspections to get an up-close look at the condition of their new home, ask questions, and learn from the inspector’s comments. Plan on at least three hours, and perhaps five or more, for a thorough inspection.
How to find the best inspector for the job? Ask friends for their recommendations, and also the real estate professional who’s assisting you in your home search – he or she has probably dealt with dozens of inspectors and can steer you in the right direction.
Many skilled home inspectors do not belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, but such membership is often a plus. Organizations include the American Society of Home Inspectors
, the National Association of Home Inspectors
, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors
, and the California Real Estate Inspection Association
And congratulations on your new home. Now that you've had it inspected, you truly know
what you own.
Other questions about buying a home? Call Peter: (415) 279-6466; or Jane: (415) 531-4091.