A home inspector is someone who is qualified to examine houses for problems before a transaction is closed. Home inspectors are generally appointed by a real estate broker when the house is being considered for purchase or by the homeowner if it is an investment. It is a misconception that home inspectors are lawyers or accountants. An honest home inspector will not charge you for an initial visit.
A pre-purchase home inspection is simply a visual examination of the general condition of a property, most often in relation to the sale of the house. While home inspectors are not allowed to make a legal recommendation to a buyer (that is the role of the attorney), they can provide a buyer with a checklist of problems that should be addressed during the purchase process. Many home inspectors are also adept at finding problems that would have been easily spotted by the average buyer. Most home inspectors are also trained in forensics, which may come in handy if problems with the house later turn out to be serious.
Once the home inspection has been completed, the seller typically offers a detailed list of problems found, along with suggested fixes. Most buyers offer to pay for the repairs themselves and are satisfied with the list of suggested repairs. Buyers also appreciate the opportunity to save money on closing costs by paying the entire cost of a home inspection, including the home inspection, to the seller. Most buyers also prefer to pay the listing price rather than the closing cost to avoid any conflict of interest involving an inspection and the sale.
A typical home inspection covers the interior and exterior of the house. Although it is usually performed before the real estate agent offers the house on sale, it is sometimes performed after the listing date. This is because certain conditions, such as underground piping or foundation cracks, may require immediate repairs and may cause potential damage to the house’s appearance. The home inspector will check for structural damage, which could affect the ability of the buyer to obtain financing. He will also check for safety concerns, such as installing smoke detectors in suitable areas.
After the home inspector finishes his inspection, the real estate agent presents the buyer with a written report of his findings. The written report is often used as the selling point of the home inspection, though the home inspector often makes recommendations on how to fix any problems he finds. In some cases, the home inspector may suggest that minor repairs are done by the seller without adding any cost to the listing price. If problems are significant, the inspector may suggest that the seller consider obtaining a permit from the local government to conduct minor repairs on his own. In this instance, the home inspector would obtain a permit from the local building department.
Some states do not limit the number of repairs that can be performed by the home inspector. Other state laws limit the total number of repairs that may be conducted by the inspectors during the home buying process. The New York State Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) regulates the home inspector, requiring him to provide a written report detailing his findings to the home buyer within a reasonable amount of time after the inspection. The RESPA act also requires home inspectors to submit written reports to the customer explaining the procedures they used to inspect the property and providing recommendations on how to repair the problem. It is the real estate agent’s responsibility to obtain all of this information from the home inspector. If a home inspector has not inspected a property and has recommended major repairs, the agent may refuse to sell the house, or ask for a higher commission.