Buying a Home? Why Get a Home Inspection?
WHY GET A HOME INSPECTION?
Caveat Emptor: Under the doctrine of caveat emptor, the buyer could not recover from the seller for defects on the property that rendered the property unfit for ordinary purposes. The only exception was if the seller actively concealed latent defects or otherwise made material misrepresentations amounting to fraud (source: Wikipedia).
Buying a home can be a person’s largest financial investment in their lifetime. It makes sense to protect your investment with a home inspection! Buying a home is subject to caveat emptor… let the buyer beware. It is true in the state of Vermont, that typically the home buyer pays for the home inspection, and it’s money well spent!While home inspections are very important in the process of identifying big-ticket repairs, it also serves as a planning guide so that you can learn about future repairs and maintenance items. Not to mention, important things like knowing where the electric panel is located, the main water shutoff valve, the fuel tank, etc. A home inspector’s main job is to do a general inspection that will, among other things, include: the foundation, wiring, plumbing, heating/cooling system, appliance inspection, siding, windows, doors, roof, exterior grading and landscaping. Some inspectors, for an additional fee, will test the following areas: water potability/quality, radon in the air (usually in the basement area or lower levels of the home), radon in the water, and lead-based paint. If the home is not on municipal sewer, you may want to have the septic tank and septic leach field inspected by a septic company. Also if the home has a well and is not on municipal water, you may also want to consult with a well company in regards to well capacity and flow rates if the well is not clearly tagged. It is helpful to look at the home inspector much like a general practitioner in medicine - if there are more specific/specialized problems, you may want to call in a specialist like an electrician, contractor, roofer, plumber, etc. to come out for further investigation.
Generally speaking, the home inspection is the first thing that happens after you agree on a price with the seller. It is usually done within 10 days in order to get this aspect of the home buying process out of the way in the beginning of the transaction before you start spending money on appraisals and legal work. In the state of Vermont most home inspections are up to the buyer’s satisfaction or the buyer is not obligated to purchase the house. If the home inspector does find significant issues, it’s up to the seller and the buyer to negotiate any concessions or repairs based on problems found. Of course, all of this is negotiable and is often determined by what the original Purchase and Sale Agreement stated. Sellers are not normally obligated to correct any defects. If within the terms of the inspection clause, the buyer is free to not buy or accept the property as is.
It is important to select a good, qualified house inspector to inspect your future home. Although your Uncle Charlie is a good carpenter, he may not always be as thorough as a trained home inspector would be. There are many ways to choose a qualified home inspector, one of which is to speak with friends and family members who have bought homes previously to see if they had a good experience with a housing inspector. Your real estate agent may be able to supply several names of local reputable inspectors. Lastly, there are a few home inspecting associations that you could check with and they may have names of local home inspectors to choose from: NAHI-National Association of Home Inspector Inc., NACHI-International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, ASHI-American Society of Home Inspectors, HIF-Housing Inspection Foundation. These associations would also be a good resource if you’re looking to become a home inspector and would like more information.
Whether you are a Buyer or a Seller and would like more information about the home inspection process, please feel free to give me a call anytime and I would be happy to answer your questions! Or you can post your comments or questions below…
Bye for now! Dave Chenette, Realtor