A proper home inspection is your best defense against buying a home that can be an improvement nightmare. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your home inspection.
Show Up Make sure you are present for the inspection and be prepared to ask questions and point out specific problems you'd like checked out further. This will be the first time your inspector has been to the property, so you may be aware of some potential issues from your previous viewings.
Use Someone You Trust Do your homework and find a home inspector that will give you the peace of mind you need. Find an impartial home inspector that won't have any loyalty to anybody and will be able to speak freely and frankly about potential issues. You may have to pay a bit more for a quality inspection, but compared to the purchase of a house, it's well worth it.
Get Pictures for Proof A home inspector worth using will bring a camera along on the inspection. The inspector will likely be heading into places that you won't want to go to if you don't have to (the roof, crawl space, under decks, the attic, etc) Ask your inspector to photograph any potential issues that arise so you can see these issues for yourself. Infrared and thermal cameras are also available now, and can give your inspector a look behind walls and floors that you otherwise wouldn't be able to get without ripping out drywall and flooring. Some inspectors may charge an additional fee for this service.
Do Your Own Pre-Inspection You can learn a lot about a house just by looking at it. Make sure you do your own home inspection and note any possible issues. Look at walls and ceilings for any evidence of water damage. Try all the light switches and outlets you can to make sure the electrical layout makes sense. Peek at the electrical panel to see if there are any potential wiring issues (look for new wire, old wiring that isn't hooked up, etc). On the outside look for drainage issues, areas with peeling paint, around decks and porches. Inspect the siding. Before your official inspection you should have an idea of things you would like your inspector to pay extra attention to.
Do The Required Maintenance After the home inspection your inspector is going to leave you a list of items that need immediate attention, and items that will need regular maintenance. Upon settling into your new home, be sure to pay quick attention to the items in priority that need immediate attention, and for your homes well being, and to be certain it is in the best care when you are ready to sell, be sure to attend to the items regularly that require ongoing maintenance.
Remember, regardless of the age of a home - with proper care and attention it willl last indefinitely. Enjoy!