Congratulations, you found your first Dream Home! Your fantastic Realtor helped you write up your offer and now you have a few days to finalize financing, possibly read some strata minutes, look into home insurance, and of course get a home inspection.
Why Do You Need a Home Inspection?
Home Inspections for first time homebuyers are an opportunity for you to learn a lot about your home before you finalize the purchase. In a Home Inspection, Home Inspectors are performing two key functions:
- Documenting The Home – Home Inspectors identify the types of building materials and the condition of those materials used in constructing your home. By providing you this information in a written report, you will learn what maintenance needs to be done and when some home systems may need replacing. Insurance companies and occasionally financing companies may want to know types of electrical wiring, plumbing materials, and that the home is in good order all of which you will know from your inspection report.
- Deficiencies – Deficiencies are concerns your Home Inspector raises in an inspection where parts of your home are beyond regular maintenance. Examples of deficiencies range from badly neglected exterior paint to failures in building structure. Deficiencies identified in a home inspection tend to need immediate attention.
When you hire a Home Inspector, you are buying an education and custom report on the home you are buying. You will know what major expenses may be coming up near future, what minor maintenance items need to be completed, and you have an opportunity to
ask questions to an expert about various systems in your new home you may not be familiar with.
Do Condos Need a Home Inspection?
Yes, they do. See this previous blog post on why you need a Home Inspection on a Condo.
Does a Home Inspector Pass or Fail a Home?
Home Inspectors do not pass or fail homes. Your Home Inspector will educate you on any concerns they may find and help you understand your options. No home is perfect under the lens of a home inspection and all deficiencies, except location, in homes can be corrected. It is up to you as the buyer of the home to decide for yourself if the home passes or fails a home inspection.
Who Gets a Copy of the Home Inspection Report?
Only you, our client, get a copy of the home inspection report. We even need your permission and direction to issue it to another party, typically your Realtor. We don’t disclose anything we find in the home (written or verbally) to the seller, the sellers agent, or anyone else unless there is some type of life safety concern such as a gas leak. When we complete our home inspection report, you are the ‘owner’ of the report and can distribute it as you see fit.
How Do I Hire a Good Home Inspector?
There are 4 things you should look for in a good home inspector:
- Communication Skills – You need a Home Inspector that can clearly communicate with you about your home inspection results and can also clearly answer your questions so that you understand the answers. A Home Inspector with 20 years of experience is not worth anything to you if they cannot articulate to you their concerns and options you have. Look for home inspectors who publish material in newspapers or blogs as this is likely a good sample of their communication in person.
- Valid License – In California, Home Inspectors are not required to be licensed.
- InterNACHI Member– The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors is the largest professional home inspection association. Members can be verified at the InterNACHI website.
- Expertise – You want a Home Inspector who has the core knowledge to protect your investment and provide you a detailed report. InterNACHI membership is a great way to know your home inspector has the expertise they claim to have as it tests all its members before allowing them to practice Home Inspections.
Buying a home can be both rewarding and risky. Hiring the right Home Inspector will give you confidence in your purchase and allow you to buy your home with your eyes wide open.