A property inspection is a critical step in buying your next home. You find out about potential problems with the property, and you get familiar with the essential systems you’ll use every day. To get the most out of your upcoming inspection, follow along with the home inspection checklist below.
Work with a pro
Choose a licensed, professional home inspector (even if your friend with construction skills says he’ll do it for free). Inspectors have the training, specialized equipment, and insurance needed to do a thorough job and protect your interests.
Attend the property inspection so that you can see what your inspector sees. Inspection reports have helpful pictures, but nothing can replace standing next to the inspector and learning how systems work or why a potential defect is concerning.
Spend some time
Budget several hours for an inspection. This is a valuable opportunity to spend time in the home before it’s too late to back out. Walk around and try things out: open and close windows, flip light switches, and make sure the water pressure is something you can live with.
Follow the inspector
A professional inspector is happy to have you join in the process. They will explain what they’re looking at and may share opinions that won’t make it into the official inspection report. Ask questions that might seem unimportant—you may uncover valuable information.
Bring your own list
Professional inspectors are undoubtedly prepared, but bring your own home inspection checklist to ensure that nothing gets missed. Ask questions about any items that you don’t see your inspector addressing. Top priorities might include:
- Roof condition
- Drainage issues, including gutters and grading on the lot
- Electrical upgrades needed
- Foundation problems
- Appliances nearing their life expectancy
Know what’s included
Standard property inspections may not include radon tests, sewer inspections, and other specialized services. Ask your inspector and real estate agent about potential issues with the property (and potential costs), and hire professionals to address anything you’re worried about.
Ask about seller repairs
Based on the inspection report, the seller may take action and fix defects. But they might not make repairs in the same way (or with the same standards) that you’d expect.
Instead of asking for repairs, consider asking for a price reduction or other concessions.
That way, you can fix things yourself or hire a contractor that you trust.
Decide what’s acceptable
No property is perfect. Find out how much it will cost (in time, money, and energy) to fix problems that the seller may be unwilling to address. Then, decide if you’re up for the challenge. Health and safety issues, foundation problems, and outdated wiring are significant undertakings, but other projects may be easier to tackle.
Ready to secure financing? Talk to a Finance of America Mortgage advisor!