The buyer’s home inspection – in the buying process

The purpose of having an inspection before purchasing a house is to educate the potential buyer aboHome-inspection-VIP-pointsut the condition of the property. Getting a buyer’s home inspection is a generally accepted practice in the home buying process. It usually occurs after you’ve fallen in love with a house and made an offer (as the buyer – it’s safer to have your offer contingent on the property passing a home inspection). The sellers have accepted your offer – otherwise why would you worry about inspecting the place. This is typically an expense the buyer pays for.

Michigan allows for an “Inspection Contingency Date” that you stipulate in your buyers offer/contract. This means that you must have all the inspections performed by the specified date. If you do not have them taken care of by the specified date, you will lose any ability to walk away from your offer based on anything that may be wrong with the house.

It’s always best to get this part of the process out of the way as soon as possible. If the inspector finds something that requires further investigation, you can get the other tests ordered and completed in a timely fashion.

Even in new construction homes, occasionally buyers retain the services of  a home inspector.

The VIP inspection items

In a buyer’s home inspection – the inspector is looking for “condition issues” with property. They usually do a thorough check of everything between the foundation and the roof.   Some of the most important issues with a home can be found in:

Bottom to top:

  • The Foundation – The foundation is mission critical. Inspectors will check for cracks that could indicate structural damage. These can be caused by a variety of factors including water damage, invasive plant & tree roots and even soil conditions at the foundation line.
  • The roof – The roof is one of the most important components in any building. “Problems” in the roof can mean problems in the rest of the house. A few loose shingles aren’t necessarily a big deal. Missing shingles that have allowed water to get under the roofing materials, potentially exposing the decking to the elements and possible wood rot – bigger deal. Leaks in the roof that have managed to penetrate the interior of the house – huge deal. Your inspector will also likely make notes regarding whether or not the gutters and downspouts are properly positioned.

Everything in between:

  • Plumbing is another VIP issue. Leaks travel. Plumbing leaks can cause foundation issues, mold issues and depending on where the leak originates, ceiling issues. Another reason pluming in so important to assess before purchasing a home is – it is also one of the more expensive items to fix at a later date.
  • Electrical systems – This item speaks for itself. Electricity is nothing to guess about. A good inspector will be knowledgeable about circuit loads, breaker boxes and if the house is up to code, or will need major upgrading to suit your needs.
  • Finally, a good home inspector will go over a home’s Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning system (HVAC). Of all of these items, this is probably the least expensive item on which to do an entire replacement. Your inspector will be able to give you a good idea of the furnace and air conditioning efficiency and whether or not you may need a radon remediation system.

A bank appraisal vs. A buyer’s home inspection

You might think banks would require an inspection to get a mortgage – but more often than not, they don’t. Banks DO usually require an appraisal of a house before they’ll help you buy it. Regardless of whether or not a lending institution requires a buyer’s home inspection, it is always a good idea to get one. Talk to your realtor to get the best advice on who to hire.