A general home inspection is a very important tool to have for the negotiation process in a home purchase. A home inspection is not required, however it is a way to know if there are any issues or problems with the home. If there are certain issues with the “bones” of the house, then further investigation could be required. If issues do arise, the problem(s) could be negotiated with the seller for repair or money in lieu of repairs. Better to know ahead of time, than to find out and the buyer has no recourse. Understand, the seller does not have to make any repairs, but if the buyer terminates the contract, the seller has to disclose there was an inspection and disclose any material fact from the inspection.
Here are five important questions to ask your home inspector if you plan on having the home inspected.
1. What is the age of the HVAC and is it efficient? The lifespan of a HVAC unit is normally around 10-15 years. Just because the unit is old, doesn’t mean it is not doing the job it was meant to do. The home inspector will complete an inspection of your HVAC unit, checking the output temperature based on the thermostat. The inspector can not check the heat during the summer months or the air conditioner during the winter months, tell you the date of the unit and if he is able to see if there are any leaks from the drains. If the inspector finds any issues, a HVAC inspector should be called for an thorough investigation.
2. How old is the water heater? The lifespan of a water heater is about 10 years. The inspector will be able to tell the age, and if the heater has had leaks. If there are any issues a plumber should be called for a more thorough investigation.
3. What are levels and condition of insulation in the attic, walls, and floors? Insulation over time can decrease its effectiveness due to floor space, age, things sitting on top of it, etc. The home inspector may not be able to see the insulation in some of the walls, but he should be able to see in the attic space or under the house. The inspector should be able to tell you if it is not thick enough, or if any has fallen or missing.
4. What is the condition of the electrical panel and wiring throughout the home? The home inspector will inspect the panel box, as long as it isn’t rusty and easily opened. The inspector will check outlets and GFI outlets. If there are any issues an electrical engineer should be called for a more through investigation.
5. Are there any extras in this home that will increase my utility bill? The home inspector may or may not be able to inspect any extra item such as a spa, swimming pool, shed, etc. These may need to have a more thorough inspection by an appropriate company.