Posted on September 5, 2019
How does a home inspection help buyers?
By Bradley Beck, owner, Alto Home Inspection, LLC
The process and timeline involved in buying a house or investment property can be stressful and overwhelming. Once a home is under contract, the buyer will typically follow the advice of their real estate agent, friends and others and schedule a home inspection to be performed by a NY State licensed home inspector.
WHAT DOES A HOME INSPECTOR LOOK FOR?
The main purpose of a pre-purchase home inspection is to help you understand the condition of the home that you are about to buy. To do this, the home inspector should come prepared to examine the visual condition of the roof, exterior, attic, kitchen, bathrooms, plumbing, electrical, basement, structure and interior areas of the home.
A typical home inspection involves assessing the condition of those systems by visually examining them, but also by operating switches, faucets, sump pumps, doors, windows, ceiling fans and other items that can be activated or switched off or on.
If the home has an attic or crawl space, they should enter those spaces as well and examine any visual structure, plumbing or electrical components.
HOME INSPECTORS ARE NOT CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS
A misconception is that home inspectors check for compliance with building codes. Although home inspections might occasionally refer to modern building standards in terms of safety of stairways, railings or electrical installations, specific language from building code should not be used. For example, references to the National Electric Code with respect to wiring should not be included in a home inspection report.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON PROBLEMS THAT A HOME INSPECTOR FINDS?
Houses in Hamburg and the Southtowns range widely in age, so you would rightfully expect a variety of problems to be found with them. Older homes may have leaky plumbing resulting from corroded pipes, typically galvanized steel piping. Newer homes may have hidden problems with electrical wiring, particularly in the attic, where you also may find bathroom ventilation fans that are improperly installed.
Thermal imagery can reveal voids in wall insulation, as shown below.
HOME INSPECTIONS ARE NOT PASS OR FAIL
Buyers should expect to receive advice and guidance from a home inspection regarding specific concerns, not a “pass” or “fail” of the home. Nearly every problem that may be encountered with a house can be repaired, and they should expect the home inspector to explain these problems. A good home inspector will present buyers with information about the condition of the home and allow you space to make your own determination about how you will move forward.
YOU SHOULD RECEIVE A PROFESSIONAL REPORT
The written report that buyers receive after the inspection should be easy to read and visually appealing, making it easier to read and more useful to the home buyer. The best reports available today include large photos that accompany descriptions of problems that use plain language that informs the reader of how to correct the problem.
The home inspection report should also highlight maintenance suggestions and items that should be monitored over time to ensure that they don’t become big and expensive problems. Surprisingly, some home inspectors continue to use simple checklists to report problems, instead of modern, visually appealing reports.
A HOME INSPECTION OFTEN PAYS FOR ITSELF
Fees for buyer’s home inspection more often than not are well worth the modest expense, both in terms of the peace of mind that can be provided and in credit toward closing or outright repairs to the home by the seller. A few minor electrical problems, for example, could easily cost as much as the price of a home inspection.
Bathroom ventilation fans often do not have ductwork that directs exhaust outside, as shown below.
Alto Home Inspection, LLC is a home inspector in Hamburg and the Southtowns that inspects homes for buyers, sellers and real estate investors throughout Western NY. For more information, contact Bradley Beck, NY State Licensed Home Inspector #16000086029, at 716-222-2586 or visit our website at www.altohomeinspection.com