Why hire a professional home inspector?
Many homes have hidden problems that only a home inspector can find. When buying a new home, whether it was built in 1880 or 2009, it is a wise idea to hire a professional home inspector to sniff out any possible issues.
Hiring a Home Inspector
When buying a home, a home inspector is your best friend. They have the ability to detect problems like wood-boring insects and molds that are invisible to the untrained eye. These problems could end up costing you thousands of dollars, but if know about them beforehand, you can negotiate a better price for the house from your position of strength or seek a home that isn't beset with such issues.
To locate a home inspector, simply search for "home inspection services" online or in your local Yellow Pages. Your real estate agent may also be able to provide you with a few recommendations. Friends and family are also a good resource for locating trustworthy professionals.
New home inspection costs are quite affordable, averaging a few hundred dollars. Costs vary by location. Many inspectors recommend that you are physically present during the inspection so they can point out major problems and answer any questions you might have.
Just as doctors carry malpractice insurance, many home inspectors carry "error and omissions" insurance which protects them in case they miss a large problem during the home inspection.
What to Expect at a Home Inspection
Home inspectors have a checklist of items they look for during their evaluation of a home. They check to see if any electrical repair or plumbing repair is needed, and they'll also look at your air conditioning and heating systems. They assess the condition of the home's roof, walls, attic, ceilings, windows, basement and floors.
Many people are also interested in having their potential new home tested for radon gas emissions and the presence of mold, so some home inspectors also provide these services. Other tests for excessive heat loss and water quality may also be performed.
It is important to remember that getting your potential new home inspected does not mean you are also getting it appraised, which is a different process. It is also not a code inspection, or a protection against any future mishaps or failures.
A home cannot pass or fail a home inspection; these inspections simply provide a list of items that need addressing. You can use the resulting information in your negotiations with the seller, which will more than offset the cost of the services.