Since I began selling real estate nearly a decade ago, the home inspection industry has completely changed! Buyers used to have a friend or a trusted carpenter come along and let them know if they had any serious concerns before they bought. These friends and trusted advisers weren’t licensed or fully trained. Some were better than others…many weren’t insured. Today, the home inspection industry is a huge and amazing industry. It is a huge improvement over my early days in real estate, but more confusing than ever.
What is the purpose of a home inspection? What types of inspections can you have done? Who should perform the inspections? Once an inspection has been completed, what should you do with the information? These are all questions that my buyers have been asking.
First, you should always reserve the right to inspect a property. In some cases, like bank repo’s, and other “as-is” properties, you can inspect, but it doesn’t mean that the owner will make repairs. In some rare cases, it doesn’t even mean you can get out of the deal if you find something you don’t like. SCARY! However, most of the time, in Indiana anyway, major items found on an inspection can be cause to terminate the transaction with your earnest money in tact. I say “most of the time” because it depends on how your contract is written. Be sure to have a clause that allows for this if you want to be fully protected.
Second, you must be certain that your contract allows for the types of inspections you wish to have done. Here are a few: whole house inspection, radon inspection, termite or other wood destroying organism inspection, lead paint inspection, mold inspection, and so on and so on and so on.
Third, do your homework before you choose an inspector or a type of inspection. What are you hoping to find? What will you do with the results? Who will perform the inspections.
I would make sure to get referrals from a real estate professional on the “who” of the above list. Your Realtor should also be able to answer simple questions or refer you to your answers in some way.
In Indiana, a whole house inspector now has to be licensed. This is another huge change from my early days in real estate.
My final words of advice: attend the inspection. Not only will you want first hand knowledge of any problems that are found, but you will learn the ins and outs of maintaining your new home.
Good luck and happy house hunting.
**The information here is the opinion of Robyn Spoon. I do not warrant or guarantee the information above.