So, you have found the house of your dreams and it’s time for a home inspection. What that is and why you need one is right here!

If you are just getting started in the home search process, please ask for a copy of my e-book: The Ultimate Guide to Buying. This will take you step by step through each step of the home buying process from the choosing your lender to the what to expect at the closing table. And it’s FREE!

The Purpose

The purpose of a home inspection is to reveal environmental, safety and structural issues with the house you’ve chosen. What a home inspection is NOT, is to help you create a laundry list of minor items for the seller to address. Although the home inspector will point out that the refrigerator is not as cold as it should be, there are non-GCI outlets near the sink, and that the floor isn’t perfectly level, you shouldn’t expect a homeowner who is moving out of the house to spend exorbitant amounts of money making the house 100% for you. They have lived there in this condition for years and will not feel the need to make adjustments beyond addressing issues that will come up in other home inspections again and again.

However, there are important issues to concern yourself with in a home inspection and they are as follows:

Electrical

Knob and tube wiring, specifically. This type of electrical wiring is not safe. If this is present in a house and that house has NOT burned down to the ground, the owners were extremely lucky. This is a reasonable item to ask to be updated. It is antiquated and dangerous. No FHA appraiser will let this one slide.

Roof

The age of the roof is important. A typical roof lasts about 20 years and an architectural roof lasts about 30 years. Find out the roof’s age but equally important is to have the inspector check the attic for holes, rotting wood and leaks. The roof can be brand new but if the installers didn’t fix the wood beneath, there will still be problems. Check the number of layers. More than 2 layers is illegal and can void any insurance claims. Check the ventilation, too, since a lack of that will encourage mold.

Plumbing

Cast Iron, lead or steel pipes can be dangerous and worse. They build up sludge on the inside and eventually the water pressure turns into a slow drip. You want PVC piping rather than cast iron.

Foundations

Be sure to check every section of the foundation for severe cracks or crumbling. We once found a crumbling and collapsing foundation hidden behind a haphazard wall. While some cracks are a normal part of settlement, multiple cracks and crumbling can lead to water seeping in or worse, a sinking house.

Peeling and Rotting

Exterior peeling paint and rotting sills are easily fixed but are serious enough to prevent you from getting your VA or FHA loan approved. If the seller is using the term “as is”, you can offer to do this work yourself, prior to the appraisal. It is risky should the deal fall through but it is an option.

Even if you choose to have a home inspection for informational purposes only (which means that you won’t be asking the seller to fix anything but you can still walk away if the results are not satisfactory), these items can cause you problems and need to be addressed in the very near future.

Home inspections cost between $350-$500 in the New England area and are well worth the money. However, several home inspections can get costly so be 100% certain that this house is right for you before moving forward.