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From Your Rooftop to Ground Zero: Home Inspections

From Your Rooftop to Ground Zero: Home Inspections

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By Elaine VonCannon, ABR, SRES, Associate Broker, Notary, Team Leader, Property Manager, Award Winning Agent

Home inspections are an important part of the real estate process whether you are buying your first home, retiring to a second home or relocating to a new area. Real estate agents must work with a home inspection company that is both reputable and trustworthy. Attention to detail and knowing how to report the facts are essential to a thorough home inspection. In this article I have asked Kevin Salva of US Inspects in Virginia to explain some of the basics of home inspection to help answer the questions many homebuyers and sellers are asking.

No Stone Left Unturned
Home inspection covers many areas of the house. According to Kevin, a home inspector must "objectively evaluate every angle of the home". The first consideration for any home inspection is the age of the house. New homes fall under stricter laws and regulations. Therefore, the inspector must pay attention to the safety features and be certain the home is in compliance with the current safety requirements. Older homes are only expected to meet the safety standards and regulations current in the year they were built. However, older homes must be carefully assessed for potential problems. "The structure of the house must be analyzed along with the utilities, roof and heating and cooling systems," states Kevin. "I do a number of different inspections," continues Kevin, "including termite, Radon, septic systems, private wells, and more." As a potential homebuyer it is important to know what the basic home inspection includes, and when you may need specific services such as termite, lead paint or asbestos inspection. Your real estate agent can advise you on what types of inspection are necessary.

Knowledge and Planning Lead to a Successful Purchase
Kevin suggests all homebuyers "become familiar with the average life span of particular household appliances and systems". For example, a typical heat pump works for approximately fifteen years. If you buy a home and the heat pump is fourteen years old this repair expense may come in the near future. As a homebuyer, knowledge and planning are the keys to avoiding unexpected costs and a lack of funds to complete important repairs. Kevin also believes that an experienced and reputable home inspector will offer the homebuyer a walk through of the property. This allows the home inspector the opportunity to "begin a dialogue about home maintenance" says Kevin. This dialogue will be a valuable asset to the homeowner in the future. Homebuyers should also talk to their real estate agent about home warranty programs. Many systems or appliances that are potential future repair costs can be covered by a home warranty that is renewable each year. A home warranty is a great strategy for any homebuyer, but especially for those purchasing older homes.

The Language of Home Inspection
Home inspection reports are not difficult to understand. "The body of the report talks about the systems of the home," states Kevin. The home inspector should know the difference between "a defect" and "a related item" and be able to identify these items clearly. The home inspector must speak the language of real estate so the agent can fully comprehend the report. This allows the real estate agent to advise the buyer in the best way possible. A "defect" is an issue about the home that must be addressed immediately. The buyer should expect the real estate agent to budget the repair of the "defect" into the closing contract. A "related item" is simply a typical maintenance item that the homebuyer may need to be prepared to cover now or in the future.

The relationship between a real estate agent and a home inspector is built on trust. The real estate agent knows the market and typically what items the sellers and the buyers are financially responsible for at closing. The agent understands trends in specific regions when looking at the home inspection report. They analyze the buyer's concerns and close the best deal they can for their clients. A home inspector must know the real estate business and pay attention to the details. Kevin says, "A home inspector must provide impeccable service and do everything necessary to educate the real estate agent and the buyer about the home." To learn more about real estate topics such as renovations, homeowner's insurance or mortgages please visit my website at www.voncannonrealestate.com. For more information on US Inspect contact Kevin Salva at 888-US-INSPECT or visit www.usinspect.com.