If you’re a lucky almost-homeowner who has just been approved to buy a new house, congratulations! Fortunately, you’ve completed the difficult part of the process: finding the perfect home and securing financing for your mortgage. Don’t let your guard down yet, though! You may feel like you’re finished except for signing a few contracts, but your job is not quite over.
Your realtor, a well-meaning family member, or a previous homebuying experience may have steered you in the direction of arranging for a home inspection prior to moving in. The inspection is not just a formality; it is a necessary and important step that you should complete in the home buying process. Check out the following information so that you can know what to expect from your home inspection in Charlotte NC before you buy your dream home.
Why Do I Need a Home Inspection?
Home inspections, in general, are an excellent idea regardless of how new, nice, or expensive the house is that you choose to purchase. They can reveal large and small issues with the home that the average homebuyer would not notice during a showing or even a final walk-through with a realtor.
The home inspector should be an independent professional who is not hired by the seller or the agency for which your realtor works. The goal of the inspection is to give you a fair, unbiased look at your house, give you a chance to ask the seller to fix certain problems before you move in, and it will also give you the opportunity to walk away from the home entirely if the inspector finds too many red flags. Basically, the inspector gives you information so that you can make the most informed decision possible about your potential home.
What Happens During a Home Inspection?
The home inspector will visit the house and complete a detailed checklist of both visual and practical inspections over the course of a few hours. This can include:
- Making sure outlets, light fixtures, and appliances work and are in good condition
- Checking the grading (the way the land slopes either toward or away from the house) outside
- Observing the crawlspace, the attic, and other out-of-the-way nooks and crannies for signs of mold, rot, and termite infestation
At the end of the inspection, the home inspector will likely have you come to the house and walk you through what he or she has inspected. If you are not local to the area, the inspector may send you his or her report and contact you by phone, email, or video call to discuss the results. It’s important to realize that a good home inspector should be an independent party in this process. A good home inspector will not:
- Convince you to either buy or not buy the house
- Declare that there is a mold problem and suggest that he or she remediate it personally (if this is the case, an outside agency should do the testing and remediation work)
- Assure you that the seller will fix all — or even some — of the house’s problems
- Tell you how much the repairs will cost
What if the Inspector Finds a Problem?
If your inspector alerts you to an area in your home that needs your attention, it’s crucial that you pay attention. Not addressing problems in the home you’re about to purchase can mean heartache and lots of money lost in the future as you try to remedy the damages. Examples of red flags that your home inspector may find generally fall under one of two categories: deal-breakers and minor issues.
1. Deal Breakers
If your century-old house looks great on the outside but is infested with termites, mold, or wood rot on the inside — even if it’s a small area like the attic or a corner of the crawlspace — you may want to consider this red flag as a sign to reconsider moving into this home. Even healthy individuals can react to certain types of mold, which can cause a range of issues from allergies to asthma to more insidious effects. This doesn’t mean that you should never purchase an old house or even say goodbye to one that has a few issues. Minor mold growth can be remediated and often cleared entirely, depending on its cause.
We experience a wetter, more humid climate in North Carolina than in other areas of the country, and these frequent rainy spells can lead to wood damage from moisture, mold growth, and standing water in yards that should not be there. Some of these issues will make you want to walk, and this choice is OK as long as you specify in your purchase agreement that your purchase is contingent on your home inspection (make sure to check with your realtor if you are unsure about this clause or its wording). If you’ve got a grading issue that involves water leaking into the house, for example, this is a chance to negotiate with the seller to fix this issue before you take occupancy.
2. Minor Issues
Your inspector should point out areas that may need minor repairs, such as a broken door handle, a dead electrical socket, or a loose banister on the staircase. A responsible seller will fix these things before turning over the house to you, and most will be happy to do so as these are not costly repairs. Your realtor will negotiate these little fixes with the sellers’ realtor or the sellers themselves.
Choosing a qualified and licensed professional to complete your inspection is well worth the time and money spent. A good inspector will alert you to small problems that can be easily fixed before you move in, and he or she could also save you from making a mistake by buying a house with a lot of areas that cannot be fixed. Do your due diligence before signing that final purchase agreement and contact EDM Home Inspections to make sure your new home is safe, secure, and ready to occupy before you buy it.