One of the most important steps you can take in buying a home is getting a home inspection. The inspection can help to identify major issues with the home that could be costly to repair. There are limitations to the home inspector's evaluation and it is important to know what those are. If you are in the process of looking at homes for sale, here is what you need to know:
What Is Included?
Since every home is different, what the home inspector considers in his or her evaluation of a home can vary. However, there are some elements that are considered standard. For instance, the foundation, plumbing, and electrical are usually always inspected. Other areas that the inspector will likely evaluate include:
- Heating and cooling system
- Windows and doors
- Flooring, ceiling, and walls
- Visible insulation
In addition to these, the home inspector will closely exam other structural components of the home, such as the roof. He or she will be looking for signs that there is significant damage to the home.
What Is Not Included?
Although the home inspector will be thorough in what he or she inspects, there are some limitations to what he or she is legally allowed to do. The legal limitations can mean that some issues can go undetected.
For instance, the home inspector cannot look inside the walls. Therefore, he or she could miss a plumbing, insulation, or electrical problem. Although he or she will look at the roof, there are limitations on how thorough the inspection could be. He or she is limited to a visual inspection, which means problems hiding behind shingles or flashing will go unnoticed.
What Can You Do?
To protect yourself from costly repairs, you need to work with your real estate agent and attorney to ensure that the purchase agreement includes clauses that hold the homeowner responsible if he or she fails to disclose any known issues with the home.
In addition to this, you should attend the home inspection with the inspector. He or she can answer questions about any issues that are noticed. This will give you a better idea of what you are facing. The inspector can likely recommend contractors who can perform any work that needs to be done.
Talk to your real estate agent to learn more about the home inspection and the other steps you can take to protect yourself when buying a home.