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Over 5 million existing homes were sold in the US in 2017.

When purchasing an existing home, you have to think about selling your old home, mortgaging, moving, and a whole lot of other details. A home inspection may be the last thing on your mind. But it’s an essential part of buying a new house.

Whether you’re in the market for purchasing a home or you’re already in the midst of a deal, getting a home inspection should be one of your top priorities. It can potentially save you future costs and reveal things you weren’t made aware of.

Keep reading to find out what a home inspection entails and why it’s so important.

What is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is exactly what it sounds like – a complete and professional examination of the condition of a home.

A home inspection is typically performed when a house is being sold. It’s the responsibility of the buyer to ensure a home inspection is completed.

The cost of an inspection is minimal compared to what an all-encompassing inspection of a home can reveal. It will determine potential future costs for the buyer as well as other important details regarding a homes’ condition.

A home inspection can take between 2 and 5 hours. This time varies depending on the size and age of the home.

Who Performs a Home Inspection?

A home inspection can only be performed by a certified home inspector. These trained professionals know exactly what to look for when conducting an inspection. While all certified home inspectors can perform general inspections, many are also certified to perform other types of home inspections (which we’ll talk more about later).

A home inspector goes above and beyond performing an inspection. They will also help the buyer understand potential problems. They provide significant details about the home that you’re buying – details that aren’t apparent to an untrained buyer.

A home inspector doesn’t fix potential issues but they can make recommendations on what repairs are necessary and what they’ll cost. They can also help a buyer find qualified and reputable professionals to complete the needed fixes.

What Does a Home Inspection Cost?

The cost of hiring a home inspector varies. What you pay will depend on the size of the home, the geographic location, as well as how old the house is.

Some home inspectors offer deals that can save you money.

The Types of Home Inspection

The first and most important type of home inspection is a general or residential inspection. At the very least, you should have one of these completed before purchasing a home.

You may also consider getting a termite or wood-destroying organism inspection. If the home has structural damage from termites or wood boring insects, the home inspector can tell you the extent of the damage and what it will cost to repair. Most general home inspectors can perform this kind of inspection for an additional fee.

A radon inspection will detect whether there is radon gas accumulating in the home. This radioactive substance is a health risk and it can build up in attics and basements. A home inspector can tell you whether you’ll need to seal concrete floors, foundations, and water drainage systems to stop radon from coming in the home.

There are also inspections related to well water, oil tank, and septic testing. Again, many certified home inspectors can perform these inspections for an additional fee.

Why is a Home Inspection Important?

Because a home inspection reveals items that aren’t visible to a buyer, there’s a number of reasons why they’re important. We’ve listed each of these reason in greater detail below.

Know What You’re Buying

Buying a home is a significant investment. That’s why you should know every detail about the home before purchasing.

A home inspection may reveal that the home requires costly repairs. Without a home inspection, you wouldn’t know about these potential problems. That means the responsibility for fixing them falls on you automatically.

Be Prepared for Repair Costs

A home inspector will check for structural damage, exterior problems, and roof damage. They’ll also check the electrical systems, the plumbing, HVAC, insulations, and ventilation.

This comprehensive examination will allow the home inspector to provide you a detailed report of potential problems. They will make recommendations on what needs to be improved or repaired.

Armed with that information, you can calculate the cost of repairs. Then add that cost on the total cost of the house for a more accurate figure of what you’re paying. This is an important component of determining your future budgets and preparing for purchasing home insurance.

Ensure Your Safety

Before moving into a home, you want to know if it’s safe for you and your family. A home inspection can detect potential safety and health hazards. This includes radon, carbon monoxide, and mold.

Ensure the Home is Compliant

Not only do home inspectors reveal the need for repairs, they can also tell you whether rooms and additions were completed without a permit. They’ll also determine whether any additions are up to current standards and code.

Besides affecting the usability of a room, illegal additions or rooms will have an impact on your insurance and taxes. You should be prepared for this in advance.

Negotiate the Sale Price

If your home inspection reveals costly repairs, this gives you ammunition to negotiate the sale price. Depending on what an inspection reveals, you may be able to decrease the purchase price of the home significantly.

Have the Seller Complete Repairs

If the seller doesn’t agree to decrease the purchase price, you can ask them to have the repairs completed before the deal is closed. In fact, many buyers contracts include a clause that requires repairs to be completed by the seller.

An Opportunity to Walk Away

If a seller refuses to complete repairs or negotiate the purchase price after a home inspection, this gives you an opportunity to walk away from the sale before it closes. Even in the case that the repairs are simply too problematic for you to deal with, you now have an opportunity to end the deal.

Invest in a Home Inspection

If you’re considering purchasing an existing home, a home inspection is an essential part of the process. For the affordable cost of a 2-5 hour inspection, you can potentially save $1,000’s in future costs. You’ll also be ensuring your safety and providing yourself an opportunity to walk away from a bad deal.

If you’re about to close a deal, schedule a home inspection with us before you sign on the dotted line.