Home Inspections 101: Everything A First-time Homebuyer Should Know
by Brook Walsh
on Wednesday, February 28th, 2018 at 4:50pm.
You finally found the perfect Northern Michigan home.
The house checks all your boxes: it is the right style and size, has an entertaining kitchen, and even boasts an awesome master bedroom. To make things even better, your offer was accepted by the homeowner.Congratulations!
You’re one step closer to owning your first home.
The next step in your home buying journey is the home inspection. The job of a home inspector is to provide interested homebuyers an unbiased report about the utility and safety of the home they are preparing to purchase.
While a home inspection is not required, it is highly recommended. A home inspector gives you the chance to understand a property through the trained scrutiny of someone whose job it is to notice problems, risks, and potential future costs.
It is the home buyers' responsibility to seek out and hire a home inspector. If you need help knowing who to trust,contact Brook Walsh. We would be glad to give you some recommendations.
1. Take your time choosing a quality inspector
Home inspectors must be certified. It shouldn’t just be a family friend who volunteered to give you an honest assessment. Home inspectors are trained to know even the subtle, hard-to-notice problems that would escape even a careful eye.
Don’t decide on a whim. Nowadays, the internet makes it easy to vet home inspectors based on reviews.
You shouldn’t expect to spend a fortune on a home inspection, but we advise also not going for the bottom of the barrel. Remember that a few dollars saved on a home inspector might mean thousands of dollars lost over the details he/she missed. Home Advisor says that the national average cost for a home inspection is $324.
2. Here’s what you’ll learn from the inspection
Online resources, likethis one from Total Home Inspection, describe in detail many of the places inspectors look for potential problems within a home. The list on their website is extensive, but here is a short peek into some of the basic elements:
If there is no standing water in the yard
All railings along stairways are sturdy
Driveways and walkways appear in good condition
Walls of the home are straight and do not bow
The visible foundation is in good condition
Wood frames and trim are secure
No open electrical splices in the attic
This list leaves out a lot—and Total Home Inspection mentioned that even the list on their website is not exhaustive. Home inspectors are on the lookout foranything and everythingthat could cause problems for you as a homeowner.
3. Attend the inspection
Inspector reports are much easier to understand if you attend the actual inspection. Going along with your inspector will put their findings into a clearer perspective.
This also allows you to ask questions or posit concerns you may have about the home. If certain elements are particularly important to you, tell the inspector. After all, they are trained to prioritize discovering certain problems. Your priorities might concern elements of the home that are less on their radar.
4. Pay special attention to these details from the home inspection report
Once a home inspector returns to you with results, what are the most important—or potentially expensive—flaws to pay attention to?
Some details are more important than others. A structural issue will cost more money to fix than replacing a window that doesn’t provide proper insulation, for example. Here are a few things to pay special attention to:
Electrical:This is the 21st century. If the home doesn’t have strong electrical, many families will be disappointed. We need to plug in everything from cell phones to televisions to refrigerators and microwaves these days. If the house can’t handle your electronics, it’s good to know. Unstable or antiquated electronics can also cause a fire, potentially putting your life and home in harm’s way.According to the NFPA, between 2010 and 2014 there were over 45,000 house fires caused by electrical failure or malfunction.
Roof:Replacing or fixing a roof can be a huge expense. If the inspector’s report comes back with reasons to worry about the condition of the roof, this is worth serious consideration.
Property drainage:A home can look great in the dry season, only to prove to have terrible drainage that leads to flooding during the rainy season. Know the risks before the storms hit.
HVAC:Having fully-functioning heating and air conditioning is especially important in Central Texas. Summers spent without quality A/C can be grueling and you don’t want to be without heat if we have another cold snap in the middle of winter
Mold or mildew:It isn’t always obvious when a home has endured water damage. Mold and mildew can spread where you can’t see it, getting into the air—and possibly your lungs. Prioritize your health by knowing what’s behind your walls.
We hope this helps you make the most of your next home inspection. Even if some of these issues are found by a home inspector, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should walk away from the deal. Knowing is half the battle and aBrook Walshcan help you negotiate the price of the home. Whether you want to find a home inBoyne Mountain, Charlevoix, Bay Harbor, Harbor Springs, Petoskey or some other spot inNorthern Michigan, our team is here for you.
"I'd like to help you find the right price and the right time to make your next move a successful one. Send me a message or give me a call at 231.459.3179 to learn more today."
Brook Walsh is from Northern Michigan and understands lifestyle based real estate investing which is one of the reasons he's chosen to pursue his dream of helping real estate investors with their home buying needs. Learn more about Brook or start your home search now.