Who needs a home inspection?
Your lender may require a pest inspection to make sure your new home is free of termites and other wood-destroying insects. If the pest report mentions damage from an active or previous infestation the lender will ask you to hire someone to verify the structural integrity of the home. Don't confuse either of those inspections with a true home inspection.
What Is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is a thorough visual examination of the building and property. A home inspector evaluate the structure of the house and gives feedback about other systems such as the roof, plumbing, electrical system, heating, and air conditioning units, insulation, doors, windows, and more. The inspection is non-invasive. A home inspection is performed according to industry Standard Operating Procedures.
Are Home Inspections Required?
Home inspections are an extra expense and usually optional, so do you really need one? Probably. Money might be tight for closing but try to imagine moving in and finding out that the air conditioning unit isn't capable of cooling the house; or that portions of the electrical system are substandard; or that the chimney needs immediate repairs?
What if the Inspection Uncovers Problems?
Your offer to purchase should include a detailed statement regarding your rights to a home inspection. The standard contract used by real estate agents may give you the right to back out of a contract if a home inspection uncovers more problems than you are willing to deal with. If it does not, the wording should be added in the form of a contingency.
Don't assume the seller will make every repair you ask for. They may refuse to make any repairs at all. Read your contract carefully before signing it so that you understand the rights and obligations of all parties. Agreements must be in writing and signed by the buyer and seller. Never rely on a verbal agreement.
A home inspection is not an appraisal, and vise versa.
A home inspection report is not a warranty.
WHEN SHOULD YOU GET A HOME INSPECTED?
Read this comment from a prominent Realtor:
"Each and every time you are purchasing a home or condo, have it inspected by a professional home inspector. Even if you are purchasing new construction, even if it is coming with a warranty, have it inspected. Knowing what problems you may face upfront and having the seller contributed to fixing
them will save you a load of grief, frustration, and money later on.
You may wonder why a new house may need inspecting. More than 20 years ago I purchased a brand new home in a brand new subdivision. That was a great house and we had no problems. Our neighbors on the other hand also purchased their home at the same time and it was also new construction. Three to four years later, their home developed the most horrible stink throughout. They lived with it and burned scented candles and sprayed various sprays to try and mask the smell but it was so bad that I simply could not go inside without holding my nose. Eventually, their family members and friends told them that something was dreadfully wrong. After 4 years, a crucial pipe connecting the kitchen garbage disposal to the sewer line was missing. It had never been installed. For 4 years, all their kitchen scraps were landing in their crawl space and rotting. Get my point? Get an inspection and make your purchase and sale agreement contingent upon it."