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When it comes to paying for a home inspection, this is one cost that is best to be paid for by the home buyer. Whenever a consumer hires a professional to provide a service for them, the person who hires, or "pays for" the service, is the one who is owed the fiduciary duty or loyalty of the service provider. In the case of a home inspection, if the seller pays for the service, the inspector's loyalty will be owed to the seller. This would not benefit a purchaser who is seeking a candid opinion of the home's condition.
If cost is a serious concern for the buyer, it might be possible to have the real estate agent insert a provision that says the buyer will be reimbursed for the inspection expense in the event the home does not pass the inspection.
The buyer of a house pays an independent inspector to assess the condition of the house they're contemplating buying. The inspector should complete the home inspection, and provide a report detailing the findings. Sometimes sellers will have a home inspection done prior to putting the house on the market, to determine if there are potential problem areas that can be fixed before the house it put up for sale. No two inspections will be exactly the same, however, so a buyer inspection may turn up issues that weren't identified by the seller's inspection.
Your realtor may be a good source of referrals for home inspectors, but some realtors will simply give you the top card in a pile of business cards dropped off by home inspectors. It's always a good idea to do your homework when hiring an inspector. Home inspectors usually need to be licensed, but requirements vary by state. Membership in a professional society such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) or the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) is usually an indication that the home inspector takes his or her profession seriously, but it's not a guarantee of competence. Try to get references in your community to verify that the home inspector you're considering will do a good job for you.
Buying a home is the single largest purchase most people make. And most of us are not contractors or engineers. It's good business to have a professional inspect the home you're considering purchasing before you make the deal. Often, the results of a home inspection will enable you to renegotiate some details of the purchase contract, or have the seller make some repairs before you buy.
Everyone agrees to the importance of getting a home inspection performed on a home you intend to purchase. The home inspector will examine all of the major mechanicals of the home, inspect its foundation, roof and overall condition. What many don't understand, is that a good inspector will also educate buyers about the non-essential components of the house. The inspection is a great learning opportunity where an inspector will provide tips about general upkeep and repair that should be performed regularly to keep the home in tip-top shape. Money spent for a home inspection is money well-spent.
A home inspector will inspect the home's interior (other than cosmetics like wallpaper); the framing; the foundation; the roof and attic; the chimney; kitchen and bathrooms, including appliances like the dishwasher); the plumbing system; the electrical system including wiring and circuit breakers; the heating and air conditioning systems; and the garage. The inspector may offer other services, like mold or asbestos testing, usually at an additional charge.
Your home inspector should provide you with a written report of the condition of the home. This report will describe each feature of the home, and outline any deficiencies. Keep in mind that the home inspector's job is to identify any problems with the home, so don't be alarmed if the report seems to focus on the negative. Sellers who get an inspection prior to putting the house on the market will sometimes offer a copy of the report (if it's favorable) to potential buyers. This can be a great selling tool, but keep in mind that a buyer will still do his or her own inspection, which may turn up issues that the first inspection didn't find.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|