Home inspections are an invaluable part of the home-buying process when you’re making a decision on one of the biggest investments in your life.
Your real estate agent can tell you things like how a house is priced in relation to “comps” (comparable properties) nearby, or which financing programs a house might qualify for. But a state-licensed home inspector is trained to find the things that might not be obvious to you or your real estate agent. Your home inspector will be able to find problems such as faulty wiring, foundation cracks, mold and more, so you won’t have any unwelcome surprises once you settle into your new house.
While a home inspector can’t diagnose or fix a problem, knowing there’s an issue gives you leverage to negotiate a lower price or ask the seller to pay for needed repairs, as well as make sure your new place is safe. For example, if your home inspector finds a mildew-like substance in the attic, they typically would suggest contacting a mold specialist to investigate further. If the heating system isn’t working properly, they would advise calling in an HVAC specialist. Home inspections are a prime opportunity for buyers to perform due diligence before purchasing.
Home inspectors are required to objectively report on a checklist of items, including structural, safety and mechanical items. The inspection generally takes about two to four hours and is a great chance for buyers to learn more about their home, its systems and its equipment. The inspector will walk through the entire house and examine the foundation, roof, exterior walls and siding, windows and doors, plumbing and electrical systems, HVAC system, fireplace and chimney, attic and basement, and major appliances.
Sellers also can opt for a pre-home inspection before putting their house on the market. For sellers who have the budget to fix any problems that crop up during an inspection, this helps ensure that the buyer’s inspection will go well and greatly decrease the possibility of the buyer backing out of the deal. A pre-home inspection also is an attractive option to buyers in markets with high demand or where multiple offers are expected, because it can help buyers feel more comfortable about waiving their own inspection to expedite the process. However, pre-home inspections aren’t right for all sellers. If a problem is found, not fixed and reported to your real estate agent, the agent then is liable to disclose the problem to prospective buyers, which could affect the marketability of the property.
To find a Massachusetts-licensed home inspector, visit nachi.org/certified-inspectors/browse/us/massachusetts.
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