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The Importance of Home Inspections

The value of a general home inspection is incomparable.  It is essential to know the condition of the property you’re buying. The cost of an inspection (paid by the buyer) by a professional is minimal when you consider all the knowledge you will gain about your new home - average price for a $200,000 home is in the range of $300.

The home inspection is not the same as an appraisal. The inspection is meant to evaluate the structural and mechanical condition (not the market value) of the property. The inspector’s findings will be based on observable, unconcealed structural conditions. The inspector will not normally guarantee or warrant the condition of the home.

It is strongly recommended that the buyer accompany the inspector at the inspection. You can expect the inspection to take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours depending on the size of the home. During this time, the inspector will give you valuable maintenance tips, answer all your questions, and give you information regarding further possible problems. You will then be in a better position to understand his written report.

The professional home inspector has been trained thoroughly and is fully educated regarding the various plumbing, electrical, and building codes in the counties he works. A home inspection will encompass all the following:

• Exterior walls, roof, driveways, patios, porches, decks, and fences
• Foundation, sub-flooring, attic and crawl spaces
• Interior walls, ceilings, floors, doors and windows
• Kitchens, baths, and appliances
• Plumbing and electrical fixtures, lines, switches and receptacles
• Heating and air conditioning systems, insulation, vents and ductwork
• Water heaters, fireplaces and chimneys
• Gutters and drainage
• Estimated life/replacement costs
• Component and system maintenance guidelines

Every inspection should include a written evaluation of all of the foregoing. The report will not include a recommendation as to whether or not you should buy the house, nor will it evaluate the purchase price. If major flaws are uncovered, it should give you some idea of what it will cost to repair or replace the problem.
The report may serve the following purposes:

• To identify problems before you purchase a home to prevent unpleasant surprises later.
• To enable you to get out of a contract (and get your deposit refunded) if serious problems are found.
• To help you negotiate an adjustment in the purchase price if you want to buy the house in spite of uncovered problems.
• To get the seller to agree to pay for needed repairs, either before the sale or after the sale using escrowed funds.
• To make you feel confident about going ahead with the purchase.

The Jim Berg Team will help protect you by using a "contingency" in the contract (usually for 4-7 days). The buyer will remove this contingency assuming he/she gets a satisfactory home inspection report. In the case of problems, the buyer (through an addendum written by the Realtor) may ask the seller to repair/replace certain items. The seller may then agree or disagree. Sometimes the seller agrees to repair/replace some things, but not others. The buyer may then accept what the seller will do and remove the contingency. If the buyer doesn’t accept the seller’s response, then the contract will become void.

You may also obtain additional inspections, such as:

• Septic tanks, wells, or sewer lines.
• Common areas (in the case of a condominium or cooperative).
• Full or partial structural inspections.
• Environmental inspections (FRT, asbestos, lead-based paint, radon, formaldehyde, electromagnetic fields, USTs, UFFI-insulation, toxins in soil, impurities in water systems).
• Probably anything else you can think of.

Finding a qualified Inspector
• Referral from the Jim Berg Team, family, friends, or your mortgage company
• Local consumer affairs office
• Yellow Pages under "Building Inspection Services"