SHOULD I USE A HOUSE INSPECTOR??
In the last 10 years house inspectors have become a regular part of the home purchasing scenario. In today's increasingly litigious world, Realtors are encouraged to involve 'subject to inspection' in every deal that they write.
A home inspection, normally paid for by the purchaser, will cost about $300.00 depending on the inspection company and the size of the house. The process takes about 3 hours and culminates with the buyers meeting the inspector in the home and reviewing the report on site.
One of the key benefits is in the responsibility of representation of defects. The seller is always liable for failing to disclose defects he knew or should have kown about. The Realtor too carries a burden to disclose known defects. By using an inspector, the buyer is now relying on an independent third party to disclose the condition of the home thereby avoiding a potentially costly litigation. If the inspector misses something he should have seen, he has liability insurance.
It should be noted that inspectors carry a long list of disclaimers. Mostly aimed at them not being liable for damage that they would have been unable to detect without damaging the home. They cannot see inside walls or break apart a furnace, therefore they limit their obligations there.
Inspectors do carry many tools such as a gauge for moisture content within walls and CO gas detectors. They typically access the attic and crawl space, review the roof, electrical, plumbing and heating systems and then supply a written report at the end.
A good inspector recognizes that the house is not new and that different itmes will have different remaining life expectancies. This is not meant to dissuade the buyer but to give them a realistic future expectation as to repairs and maintenence. The seller should not be expected to return the house to as new condition before each sale. Usually the sale price is already typical for homes of that age and general condition. At the same time defects that are immediate in nature may cause an adjustment in sale price or an agreement by the seller to repair prior to completion of the sale.