So you have found a house you love. Great backyard, gleaming hardwood floors and the kitchen of your dreams. But what about the furnace? The wiring? Leaks in the basement? Before you buy, it is best to have the home inspected; no matter how experienced you are as a homeowner, it's the best way to make sure you really know what you're getting into.
A home inspection will give you the information you need to make an informed decision. The inspector will determine the condition of the house you're thinking about buying, and let you know if there are any problems. If there are any problems, you have 3 options: Walk away OR Use the results to negotiate a better price OR Give the seller a chance to fix the problem(s).
The inspector meets you at the home and takes about 2-3 hours to carefully inspect the entire house for structural, mechanical or other issues. They examine everything form the roof to the foundation and everything in between, including the heating and air conditioning, plumbing, electrical, insulation, roof, windows and doors, walls, ceilings, attic and basement. You should accompany the inspector as they go through the home as it is a good way to get to know the home.
The inspector prepares an inspection report that outlines problems, breaking them down into major repairs that need to be done right away and areas that will need attention in the future, with accurate cost estimates for each, highlights good points and gives you an idea what kind of maintenance you'll need to do to keep the place in good shape. Make sure you ask for a detailed report that's written in a narrative style. Never, never accept a verbal report.
Most inspections cost between $250 to $500. This is a small price to pay for peace of mind...it could save you thousands of dollars in home repairs.