So you made an offer to buy a home and your Realtor just told you that you NEED to get a Home Inspection. Ok then. What next?
First things first. You need to find and hire a Home Inspector and you probably only have 7 to 10 days to schedule all of your inspections per your purchase agreement with the seller. Not to worry, most Home Inspectors are use to rushing around last minute. You may get a list of local Inspectors from your Real Estate Agent, or you may have to look for one yourself. If you use Google or any other means just be sure to check if they have 5 star reviews. The more the merrier! Like NH Home Inspector LLC at www.nhhomeinspector.biz.
Or just ask family and friends for suggestions.
Your Home Inspector will ask you an array of questions like how large is the home? Where is it located? Does it have a private well or septic? These questions are to help figure out the cost of the inspection and to see if you are interested in getting water sample tests done, Radon tests done, or a septic evaluation. I recommend all of these if applicable! The cost of your standard home inspection should be about $350 for a small home/condo and about $50 more for every 1000 square feet. This is just an estimate and every Home Inspector has different pricing.
Other services and pricing commonly added to a Home Inspection are as follows: (if done during and inspection)
Radon air testing- $80 to $120
Radon water testing- $50 to $100
Standard water testing- $100 to $150
Septic evaluation- $230 to $350
Other less common services:
Limited (spot) Mold testing- $150+ depending on how many samples taken
Full Mold Testing- $400+ depending types of samples, and how many taken.
Lead testing- $400 to $1000+
Well Flow Testing- $75 to $350
Next you will schedule a time and day for your home inspection. You will want to be at the inspection if possible. This way you can see in person the things your inspector calls out, and you can ask him/her as many questions as you can think of. Yes ask ask ask. This is the best opportunity to learn as much as you can about your soon to be new home. The inspection will last between 2 and 4 hours on average.
Things you will want your inspector to do, and the good ones will do no matter what:
On the exterior of the home your inspector will/should –
Walk on the roof if possible. If too steep it should be observed from a ladder, or a drone, or extended pole camera.
Check the outside of the chimney and the chimney top.
Check the siding, trim, doors, and windows.
Check the grade of the property near the home.
Check retaining walls and drainage.
Check decks, porches and garages.
Check for visible and obvious structural issues.
On the interior of the home-
Check all walls, floors, ceilings and interior doors and a handful of windows.
Check the basement and or crawlspace.
Check the attic.
Check all visible plumbing and fixtures.
Check most electrical receptacles and lights.
Check the electric panel and grounding.
Check the heating equipment, water heater and fireplaces etc.
Check stairways and railings.
Check all ventilation and AC’s if the temperature is above 65 degrees F
Test all appliances.
Now that you have a better idea of what your Home Inspection will consist of, here are some tips on how to know you have a great Home Inspector. Your Inspector should be kind and patient with you. They should have a non biased attitude toward the home. They should be able to answer many technical questions as well as ideas on how to fix the items that are being called out as defects. Your Inspector should be taking his/her time and even explaining how systems work in the home. Inspectors that are in a rush tend to miss things. That being said it is common for small things to be missed. No Inspector is perfect. Your inspector should not miss the big ticket items however.
Do not confuse “Shiny Offers” with great inspectors. Glitz and Glam Inspectors often offer things like 90 day warranties (which are actually only 22 day warranties) This does not necessarily mean they are good at what they do. In fact some Inspectors hide behind the glitzy things to appear more professional and to reduce their own liability. A great Inspector will stand behind his/her Inspection and offer help in a dispute even without a shiny 90 day warranty. This does not mean all warranties are bad. Just be warned that not all Inspectors are the same. Not all cheap Inspectors are good, and not all good Inspectors are cheap.