A home inspection can be the difference between buying the proverbial "Money Pit" and buying the perfect house. However, deciding when the extra expense of a home inspection is needed is really a matter of opinion.
Whenever you can, you want the home seller to pay for the inspection. Naturally, it is their home and they are representing it as being in great condition, so they shouldn't have anything to fear with a home inspection. However, not all home sellers will be willing to fork over 300 to 650 dollars or more for someone to come in and tell them they need 5K worth of repairs. (The home sellers nightmare)
Once a home seller is aware of a problem with the home, they are legally required to disclose issues to any prospective future buyer. You can see why seller agents hate home inspections. This is great leverage should, once you have a home inspection completed, significant issues arise that will require future repair.
Some of the more important things a typical home inspection will review are:
Note: A home inspection is NOT required at this time for an FHA Home Loan or any conventional loan for that matter.
These can all be significant cost issues with regards to repair. Granted, if buying a home warranty, many of these items will be covered under this policy. However, as a home buyer, you have to ask yourself are you prepared to pay 2 to 5 thousand dollars to repair major issues after spending Tens of Thousands of dollars just to buy the property.
As a rule of thumb, if the structure is less than 5 years old, you will typically not need to get a home inspection. The decision on this should be made based upon what you see when visiting the property. If you see any signs of potential neglect, you most certainly want a home inspection.
If the property is older than 5 years, it is highly recommended you have a home inspection completed, whether paid for by the seller or not, in order to review the overall condition of the home and remaining life expectancy of the roof, appliances etc.
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