The list of things that can be wrong with a newhome is endless, so don’t sign on the dotted lineuntil a reputable home inspector gives you theall clear. The cost of an inspection is nothingcompared to your purchase price. It’s alsonothing compared to what you will pay forunexpected repairs if you don’t have a homeinspection.
Most houses have defects orneed repairs, and manyproblems can be serious. Ahome inspection will point outany safety hazards and alert you to major repairsthat will be necessary. A home inspector is ajack-of-all-trades who is familiar with everythingfrom structures and electrical and plumbingsystems to insulation, heating and coolingsystems, and roofs.
During an inspection, the inspector will make anintensive visual examination of yourhome, concentrating on areas such as thefoundation; exterior walls and roof;attic, basement and garage; electrical, plumbingand heating systems; and the home’s interior.
The inspector should then present a writtenreport that details findings and suggests repairs.It’s always advisable that you attend theinspection, which may take two to three hours.But don’t expect the home inspector to providecost estimates. Your best bet is to contact two orthree contractors. When looking for a qualifiedhome inspector, don’t overlook recommendationsfrom friends or your real estate agent, but beaware that there are other resources to help you.
The National Association of Home Inspectors Inc.(NAHI) provides standards of practice and a code ofethics, as well as training courses for potentialmembers. Some states now license homeinspectors, but many do not.In states that don’t, it’s importantto establish that the inspectoris qualified and is a member ingood standing of an organizationsuch as NAHI. The Better BusinessBureau can also help you.
Remember that the inspection report won’tguarantee you’re set forever once the suggestedrepairs are completed. Houses still need regularmaintenance and repair, and as thehomeowner, that’s your job.