What Really Matters in a Home Inspection?
Are you buying a home? Whether it's your first home, or one in a series of many you will own throughout your life, the process of buying a home can be stressful. The process can be stressful.
While a professional home inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind, it can sometimes have the opposite effect as you go through pages and pages of report data, photographs and recommendations that the inspector includes in your report. Here's how to make sense of your report, by focusing on the things that really matter in a home inspection.
Most of your home inspection report will consist of maintenance recommendations, life expectancies and minor imperfections, all of which are nice to know about but shouldn't be a major cause for concern. The issues which are a cause for concern will fall into one of these four categories:
- Major defects
- Things that can lead to a major defect
- Safety hazards
- Things that will prevent you from financing, insuring or occupying the home
First of all, let's look at major defects. That would be something like a foundation issue, a bad roof, or some other structural failure in the house. These are sometimes apparent to the naked eye (for example, crumbling foundation walls) or they may be unearthed only during the inspection.
Along with major defects, you may want to be concerned with things that would cause a major defect, for example, a leak in a window housing, or missing insulation, or missing flashing on the roof.
Anything that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy or insure the home, or anything that is a known safety hazard should be addressed with the seller up front before closing. What appears to be a serious problem can be sometimes be corrected inexpensively. Most sellers are fairly honest and will want to work with you to remedy an issue which is uncovered during an inspection.
At the same time, be aware that that sellers are under no obligation to repair everything mentioned in your home inspection report. Since no home is perfect, try to keep everything in perspective and before long, your dream of home ownership will become a reality.
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