If you’re purchasing a home, there are so many important steps, but there is one that is often undervalued, and that is the home inspection. A reputable home inspector can give you an insider’s perspective into the health and safety of the home, as well as give you tips on what potential problems there may be in the future.
What does a home inspector look at? A home inspector looks at the home, inside and out, to determine the condition and safety of the home. This includes your home’s HVAC system, electrical systems, interior plumbing, roof, windows, doors, walls, ceilings, floors, insulation where visible, foundation, and structural components. However a home inspector will not look at anything that isn’t visible, such as mold behind walls. They will also check for things such as radon, lead paint, asbestos, or pests. Because many homes are sold without appliances, they may not check the appliances to see if they are functional.
Homes in the Milwaukee area go all the way back to the late 1800s, but the age of the home isn’t what is important when having it inspected. New homes can have potential problems as well, and almost no home is without some sort of flaw. It is recommended that if you are looking to purchase a home, you have it inspected, and that you are present for the inspection. But why is it important for you to be there? This is your opportunity to ask questions to the home inspector about what he/she is finding. You may not understand a term that is being used, or why something is important, and being there to ask questions is a great way to learn more about the home. You may want to take notes, bring a list of questions, or even pick your inspector’s brain about the potential costs behind some repairs.
Take the opportunity of attending the home inspection to get a good second or third look at the home. If you bid on the house after a walk through that may have lasted 20 minutes, this is your opportunity to look at every area of the home in depth and let it all sink in. You may get a better feel for the home, including looking at areas that you weren’t able to before such as an attic.
Something else to keep in mind is that a home cannot “fail” an inspection, nor does it have anything to do with the appraisal of the home. It is simply an assessment of the physical condition of the home, and can help determine which components of the home may need repair or replacement. A home inspector is an impartial party there to inspect the home. It is also important to note that just because a home is inspected, it does not mean that it is necessarily up to code. There may be municipal codes that are not being met, or there may be components of the home that are not visible that are not up to code.
Lastly, it is not the job of the inspector to tell you if he/she thinks it is a good home, or whether or not you should buy it. It is, however, your job to listen out for key phrases and ask questions. Chances are if an inspector says something like “immediate repair” or “significant” or “major”, it is going to end up being costly. You may be able to use these as bargaining chips in the price of the home, or you may change your home about the property altogether. It is your home inspection, and therefore you will get out of it what you put into it. No matter what, it is recommended you have a reputable home inspector and attend the inspection.