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How to inspect a home before buying: Expert advice

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Before closing on a new home, it is necessary to complete some steps. One of the most important is, undoubtedly, the internal and external inspection of the property. This should be done by an expert who will certify that the house is safe to live in and is a good investment.

How do you know when a home inspection is useful? Learn what experts say about this process and the best tips for a successful inspection.

What is a home inspection and what is it for?

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It is always a good idea to request an inspection to verify that the property you want to buy complies with all safety regulations. In addition, this step will help you make financial decisions based on the condition of the property. If the inspector finds defects that could cost thousands of dollars, you will need to take this into account when considering your purchase.

A home inspection is usually carried out by a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), who is fully trained to analyze every detail of the interior and exterior of a property. This includes things such as plumbing, the state of the structure and the roof and electrical systems.

The inspector will tour the entire perimeter of the property to identify defects or to verify that the most important parts work properly and are not a safety risk. The inspector will also tell you what repairs are needed.

How much does an inspection cost and how long does it take?

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How much does a home inspection cost? Usually, the potential buyer pays for this service in order to get an idea of the condition of the house. Based on the results you may decide the home isn’t worth the price or you can use needed repairs to negotiate a lower price with the seller.

Sometimes, the seller will arrange an inspection prior to the sale of the house. However, most buyers prefer to also hire their own inspector in order to ensure the results are accurate and unbiased.

The cost varies based on location, inspector and the size of the property and its features. However, you can expect to spend between $300 and $1,000. The cost of the inspection will include a detailed report of all findings.

As for the time it takes to inspect a house, it generally takes two to four hours, but this will depend on the size of the property and the number of rooms, bathrooms and other aspects of the home. Rocket Mortgage has some examples of possible costs for this service here

What is involved in the inspection?

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A home inspection includes an inspection of basic systems (such as plumbing), potential fire and flood hazards and the condition of the structure. This includes looking for things such as cracks or rotting wood. It is also necessary to consider whether the property is located in an area that has an elevated risk of natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes and earthquakes.

A certified home inspector will deeply analyze the following:

The state of the roof:

The roof inspection is one of the key factors in determining whether to buy a home since a new roof can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars. For this reason, ASHI certified inspectors are fully trained to detect issues such as sinkholes, cracks, defects in beams or tilted structures.

Electrical systems:

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A defect in the electrical system of a house can be both costly and hazardous, therefore, your home inspector will do a detailed analysis of this.

They will ensure that the electrical lines are in good shape, that the outlets are in working order and that the lights do not flicker.

They will also verify that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. The inspector will determine if  any repairs or upgrades are needed.

Leaks:

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Water leaks can cause enormous and costly damage, as they can affect the roof and the foundation of a house. When leaks are not detected in a timely manner, they can cause hidden damage in addition to encouraging pests and mold.

Pests:

Pests are usually not included in the inspection, but if they are obvious they will not go unnoticed by a certified expert. In most cases, it is advisable to have a separate pest inspection, which costs approximately $400 on average, to verify that the property is free of insects and rodents.

Termites are especially dangerous, as over time they can cause serious structural damage, which can be expensive to repair. Here are some other things to take into consideration, according to Rocket Mortgage.

Why is it important to request a home inspection?

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A home inspection is a crucial step to determine if a house is fit to live in or if it is worth the price the seller is asking.

Requesting an inspection, preferably by an ASHI certified expert, will give you the certainty that the property meets the basic requirements for you and your family to live there safely. In addition, inspections can allow you to negotiate the cost or terms of the purchase.

In summary

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Requesting a home inspection service by a certified expert will typically costs between $300 and $1,000, depending on the area where the property is located and its size, as well as any special equipment required to complete the inspection and provide an accurate report.This investment benefits both you and the seller and it’s advisable to hire your own inspector even if the seller has their own report.

Rocket Mortgage® cares about providing you with the best world-class tools and guidance to help you acquire the home of your dreams. You can find information about properties, costs, home renovation details, types of loans and much more on their website.

Rocket Mortgage, LLC; NMLS #3030; www.NMLSConsumerAccess.org. Equal Housing Lender. Licensed in 50 states. For additional information please visit RocketMortgage.com. 

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