I'm buying a home. What can I have inspected?
So you are buying a home. You're offer was accepted and now you are "in contract." That contract gives you a certain number of days to do your inspections. Just what are you going to have inspected? And who is going to pay for those inspections?
First let's deal with who pays for the inspections. This should be addressed in your contract. Depending on the current real estate market it could be the seller or you the buyer or a combination of the two that pays. In a hot seller's market like we currently have here in California's Central Valley most likely you as the buyer will be paying for your inspections. With most homes receiving multiple offers asking for the seller to pay for inspections will probably move your offer to the bottom of the pile. Your Realtor® should help you out with determining who is going to pay.
Now on to what you can have inspected. The first thing most people probably think of is a pest inspection or home inspection. These are two different things.
- Pest Inspection: This inspection is done to determine if the home has wood destroying pests or organisms or any condition which might lead to an active infestation of either.
- Home Inspection: This is an inspection of the home's systems such as electrical, heating, cooling and plumbing. This may also include the appliances.
- Roof Inspection: This is an inspection of the roof and it's condition. It can give you an idea of if it's water tight and how much life it has left.
- Pool Inspection: If the home has a built in pool you can have it inspected too. This will help to determine if all the pool equipment is in good working order.
- Septic Inspection: Some homes may not be hooked up to a city sewer system and instead have a septic system. This inspection will make sure the system is operating properly and if the tank needs to be pumped.
- Well Inspection: Some homes may not have city supplied water and instead have their own well. This inspection will check to make sure the well is working properly and will also check the water to make sure it is safe to use.
- Chimney Inspection: This inspection will determine if the chimney is in good condition and safe to use. It will also let you know if it needs to be cleaned.
- Tree Inspection: This one was a new one to me this past year. I had a buyer that was buying a home with several large redwood trees. They wanted to make sure they were in good health and not in danger of falling. The inspector was able to determine that the trees were in fact in good condition but a couple of them were close to the house and in later years may present an issue with the roots damaging sidewalks.
- Property line survey. You can have your property lines surveyed if you want. If there is a question of where property lines are you might want to do this.
- Investigate School Districts. You can check with the local school districts to make sure which school district the home is in. It may not always be the closest school to your new home. Sometimes due to overcrowding it could be another school that is farther away.
- Crime Statistics: You can check with the local police department or one or more websites (including the Megans Law website) to determine the crime rate in the area you want to buy.
- Visit the neighborhood at different times during the day and different days of the week. Is the home near a school and there are lots of kids walking by every afternoon? Is the road a neighborhood short cut to get to the local shopping center. Is the home across the street from a popular park that has big parties every weekend? These are just a few examples of what can be going on in the neighborhood.
This list is by NO MEANS a comprehensive list of inspections you can have done when you are buying a home. The California form: Statewide Buyers and Seller Advisory which is part of the disclosures you will receive has 14 pages of suggested inspections.
Of course not every home will need every one of these inspections. Every situation is different. Ask your Realtor® which inspections they would recommend. What inspections you have done are up to you. Do what ever you think needs to be done in order to make you feel confident you are getting a good home for your money.
If you have any questions about buying a home and what inspections to have done give me, Jim Patton, a call at 209.404.0816 and I will be happy to help!