The Ultimate Guide to a Home Inspection Before Buying

The Ultimate Guide to a Home Inspection Before Buying

You spent a lot of time with your agent touring homes, but at last, your efforts have paid off! You have finally found the home of your dreams and are excited to get the keys in your hand. However, before you sign your name on the dotted line, there’s another critical step to be checked off your list: the home inspection.

While this might seem like a bothersome task to some, you’ll find that an inspection can be the difference between a successful home purchase and one that might be a potential money pit. Let’s take a look at the importance of a home inspection before buying and how it will best serve you during your real estate transaction.

What is a home inspection?

If you’ve never bought or sold a home before, you might not be familiar with the home inspection and the process. A home inspection is the evaluation of the entirety of the property’s structure, inside and out.

A qualified home inspector is hired to perform the inspection. An inspection can take hours, or even an entire day, depending on the size of the property. Getting a home inspection before buying is an important step, as it will identify any potential issues that you might not be aware of.

Imagine buying the home of your dreams, only to discover after moving in that the foundation is unstable or that the faulty wiring is a severe fire hazard. Getting a home inspection before buying will allow you to determine precisely what shape the home is in before you sign the paperwork and make it legally yours.

If the inspection turns up anything that you feel the seller should remedy, your agent will guide you through further negotiations with the other party before you proceed with closing.

What is examined during the home inspection?

Once you’ve found a trusted and highly qualified home inspector, you’ll set an appointment with them to visit the property you’re considering. They’ll work with the selling agent to get access to the home, and their job will begin.

The structure itself will be carefully inspected

The whole of the building will be inspected. This means that the inspector will look at the “bones” that make up the dwelling. The attic beams will be assessed to see if they are still in good shape. The foundation will be examined, too, to make sure the home is on steady ground and hasn’t shifted for any reason. The ceilings will also be looked over, checking for cracks or holes. The inspector will also take a look at the basement or crawlspace if the home has one.

The interior of the home gets a thorough assessment

There are many items on the home inspector’s checklist when it comes to evaluating the interior of your new home. The windows will be scrutinized to ensure they open and close smoothly, as will the doors and doorframes. The inspector will also check out any stairs and railings to make sure they are sound. Should there be any appliances permanently installed in the home, they will also be tested to ensure they’re in working order.

Just as important: the exterior

Evaluating the property's exterior is a time-consuming part of the home inspection process. Here, the inspector will look at the roof to determine its age and whether or not it may need to be replaced soon. Roof replacements can be a lengthy, expensive project, so it’s essential to be aware of any issues before buying the home.

The guttering and drainage system will be looked at as well. Sitting water can significantly damage the foundation over time, costing the homeowner a fortune in repairs. The inspector will also evaluate the windows, doors, and framing to ensure nothing is out of alignment or broken. Decks, patios, garages, and other outdoor areas are inspected to make sure that they are in excellent condition.

You’ll want to know that the air and heating systems work, right?

The HVAC system will be next on the inspector’s list. The inspector will test the furnace and air conditioner (or window units if the home is without central air) to ensure they are in working order without the need for a replacement or repair. The hot water tanks will also be tested for proper functionality.

The plumbing and electrical systems will also be checked

Lastly, the home inspector will check on the plumbing and electrical systems. All the faucets (indoor and outdoor) will be tested. The water pressure will be reviewed as well. A thorough home inspector will also test each drain to ensure it works correctly without clogging.

To assess the electrical system, the inspector will typically begin at the breaker box. The fuses should all be labeled and not double-tapped. From there, the inspector will test the outlets and light switches to ensure everything is working as expected and that there are properly affixed switch plates. Conductors and service interrupters are also inspected and tested. Lastly, the service line into the home and the meter box are evaluated.

Once the inspection is finished, the inspector may take a day or two to complete the paperwork and send it to you. You will receive a detailed inspection report noting which areas passed and which areas failed the inspection. It will then be up to you to determine whether or not you want to proceed with the sale “as is” or negotiate further with the seller to fix any of the repairs or concerns noted on the inspection report. Your agent will be by your side at every point, guiding you through the negotiation process if you choose to proceed with that route.

Getting a home inspection before buying can save you time, money, and frustration in the end. If you are ready to start the home-buying process, reach out to trusted expert Leigh Williamson for the guidance you can rely on. Leigh is a top-producing agent in Dubai, guiding buyers to exquisite luxury villas and gorgeous homes in highly competitive markets. Reach out to Leigh today to get started!

*Header photo courtesy of Leigh Williamson


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Her ability to close deals in global markets including key markets such as NYC, London, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Canada, and South France allows her to consult as a truly global advisor to her clients. Her passion is working as an exclusive buyers agent for the UHNWIs, so do reach out and connect to her to start the journey in your real estate portfolio acquisition.

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