Many real estate agents suggest having a home inspection performed prior to contract. But according to Arizona-based HomeLife Warranty Protection, that might not be enough. Today, Community Blog Online speaks with the home warranty experts at HomeLife Warranty Protection about additional steps homebuyers should take to determine the soundness of their potential investment.
Q: Spring is coming up and for many that means buying a home. Can you tell us why a home inspection is such an important step in the process?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: A home inspection, which usually cost around $400, will offer homeowners valuable insight on the state of their potential property. However, these surface inspections don’t always tell the full tale of a home’s history or condition.
Q: Why not?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: A home inspector simply doesn’t always have the equipment and will likely not want to take on the liability of physically inspecting certain appliances and systems.
Q: What kind of equipment will a home inspector lack?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: The most important thing that comes to mind right off the bat is a drain line camera.
Q: For the plumbing?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: Yes, that’s right. We recommend a mainline inspection before putting any money into a down payment.
Q: Why is that?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: The last thing anyone wants when moving into a new home is a $10,000-$15,000 repair to dig up a yard and replace faulty pipes.
Q: What sorts of issues will a mainline inspection uncover?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: This is a thorough inspection of the main plumbing line that runs from a home to the sewer system. It can detect any breaches of the pipe, corrosion, root intrusion, or obstructions that must be addressed prior to the home purchase.
Q: What other inspections does HomeLife Warranty Protection recommend?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: We suggest having a licensed HVAC company inspect the heating and air-conditioning units. This is usually $150 or so but can help detect problems that are much more expensive to repair.
Q: Can’t the home inspector examine the HVAC system?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: Yes, but just the outside and any visible components. Home inspectors are reluctant to open up the system for fear that they will be held accountable for future issues. In addition, rarely is a home inspector a licensed HVAC specialist.
Q: If problems arise, can the homebuyer request to the seller pay for the repairs?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: Yes, of course. You can make your contract contingent upon your home inspection, HVAC inspection, mainline inspection, and thermal imaging.
Q: What is thermal imaging?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: A thermal image of a home is a digital picture that shows concentrations of temperature. It can help determine if the home is insulated properly and therefore likely to be energy efficient. It can spot water damage behind walls and can even reveal potential termite problems lurking in unseen places.
Q: We would’ve never thought about that. Why don’t all real estate agents suggest all of these inspections?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: Many simply believe the home inspector can uncover all potential issues. Others don’t bring it up because it’s cost prohibitive, especially for many first-time homebuyers.
Q: Altogether, how much would all of these inspections cost?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: Between $800 and $1000, on average.
Q: If the buyer chooses to cancel the sale if issues arise, do they get their money back?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: Probably not, but that’s something that can be written the contingencies. We would suggest consulting a real estate agent or attorney.
Q: If the buyer cannot afford the additional inspections. Is a home inspection still valuable?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: Yes, of course. It will give a homeowner an idea of the general condition of the property and help them understand what it is they’re about to commit to.
Q: Budget considerations aside, are there any other inspections that may be beneficial?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: There are number of other tests including well water, septic tank, radon, and termite inspection that offer a wealth of insight into the condition and quality of the property. A home inspector may be able to perform many of these for an additional fee.