A Buyer’s Guide to Home Inspections | 1st Alarm Lawn & Home Management

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

A Buyer’s Guide to Home Inspections

Now that mortgage rates have dropped below 3%, potential home buyers have a strong incentive to make a purchase while financing options are so favorable. But before closing, it’s important to make the final purchase contingent upon a satisfactory home inspection.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the benefits of having a home inspection include:

· Uncover sources of potential significant repair costs

· Negotiate price according to repair costs uncovered during inspection

· Identify any health or safety risks associated with the home

· Verify home systems are operating properly

· Identify energy inefficiency that would make utilities cost more

Every home financing program is different, so hiring an inspector authorized by your lender or financing program is important. For example, USDA loans require the inspector to be accredited by either the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), or the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI). Inspections conducted by other professionals are not accepted for the purpose of qualifying for a loan under their program.

Tip: An inspection and an appraisal are different services. While an inspection identifies traits of a home that impact its value and livability, an appraisal determines is market value.

Once a qualified home inspector authorized by your lender or program is selected, there are several options for the scope of the inspection itself. In rare instances, appraisers are donning haz-mat suits to walk through pricey properties. In some cases, homeowners are connecting by Zoom or FaceTime to give tours to appraisers who no longer are walking through homes.

According to the Texas Professional Real Estate Inspectors Association (TPREIA), a basic inspection evaluates ten areas of the home:

· Structure

· Exterior

· Roofing system

· Plumbing system

· Electrical system

· Heating system

· Air conditioning system

· Interior

· Insulation and ventilation

· Fireplaces

For a more detailed dive into the specifics of home inspection, the Texas Real Estate Inspectors Standards of Practice Pocket Guide can provide more specific information.

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