Thursday, October 23, 2008

Protect Yourself with a Home Inspection

Home inspection plays a very important role in the real estate process. When you are buying or selling a home, you rely on a home inspector to provide an accurate and reliable inspection of a property. A home inspector will tell you about the condition of the home and help you avoid buying a home that needs major repairs. It is the perfect way to get an in-depth and impartial opinion of your next home before you buy it.

What to Expect

Typically, you will hire a home inspector either immediately before an offer is made on a home or as a contingency to a sale. Additionally, home inspections are ideal if you want to evaluate your home's condition or diagnose potential problems before they become serious issues.

Home inspectors perform the following duties:

-Evaluate the physical condition of a property, including the structure, construction and mechanical systems.

-Identify the items that should be repaired or replaced.

-Estimate the remaining useful life of the major systems (such as electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning), equipment, structure, and finishes.

Although inspections are primarily visual, inspectors may use tape measures, survey instruments, metering devices, and other equipment, such as concrete strength measurers, to aid in their inspection. They keep a log of their work, take photographs, and file a formal report.

The inspection usually takes two or three hours (depending on the age and size of the home). You should be present so you can ask questions and learn about areas that need additional work. All of the findings will be presented in a formal report that details the condition of the home.

A Close Look

The main purpose of the home inspector is to provide an objective viewpoint on the condition of a specific home at the time of inspection. The inspector does not evaluate the cost or value of the property, but provides a close examination of the following:

Structural Components: Foundations, floors and walls.

Exterior Components: Siding paint, windows, decks, garage doors, etc.

Roofing: Coverings, flashings, chimneys, etc.

Plumbing: Piping, fixtures, faucets, water heating and fuel storage systems, etc.

Electrical: Wiring, main service panels, conductors, switches, receptacles, etc.

Heating: Equipment, safety controls, distribution systems, chimneys, etc.

Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps: Cooling and air-handling equipment, controls and ducting, etc.

Interior: Partitions, ceilings, floors, railings, doors and windows, etc.

Insulation and Ventilation: Attics, walls, floors, foundations, kitchen and bathrooms, etc.

They will additionally perform the following services (sometimes for an extra fee): mold sampling, radon testing, asbestos evaluation, pests/wood destroying organisms, carbon monoxide testing, lead testing, and more. These services are not always available.

Make sure to protect your investment. Get a home inspection before you buy your next home!

Heather Brunson is a lead marketing writer for Allied Schools. She has a B.A. in Journalism with an emphasis on public relations. She has additional experience in technical writing.

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