Home inspections are the most comprehensive way to determine the condition of your home. They are also the best way to protect yourself from getting stuck with unexpected repairs. So, when should you get a home inspection? Based on what stage of homeownership you are in, there are a few critical times to get an inspection.
- When you are buying a house
- When you are selling a house
- When you are building a house
- After living in a house for a few years
Let’s take a closer look at each of these stages and explore when (and why) it’s essential to get a home inspection during each phase.
But first, what is a home inspection?
A home inspection is a visual assessment of the condition of your home. It is conducted by a licensed home inspector who will look at all of the structures (roof, foundation, cabinets, etc.) as well as the home’s essential systems – including the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems.
After the inspection, the inspector provides a detailed report of the entire home and its structural and functional defects. Typically these defects are categorized into three types: safety, repair, or monitor - helping you understand what work needs to be done to the property.
Why do you need one?
Home inspections give you an insight into the condition of a home. Whether you’re buying a new property, selling one, or have lived in one for a while, inspections help you discover and repair issues with your home. If left untreated, defects tend to worsen over time, costing you more money in the long run.
When is the best time to get one?
The best time to get a home inspection depends on what stage of homeownership you are in. Here is when and why you should get an inspection.
1. Buying a home
The first time to get a home inspection is if you are buying a home. Once you’ve had an offer accepted on a home, you’ll have time to get an inspection during the due diligence period.
A home inspection is your best form of protection against overpaying for the house. By understanding the condition of the home (and what work needs to be done), you’ll be able to go back to the sellers to renegotiate the terms of the sale. With accurate information in hand, you can:
1. Request a lower price based on repairs needed.
2. Ask the seller to fix the issues before closing.3. Walk away from the contract if the sellers won’t negotiate.
Typically, the cost of a home inspection ranges from $300-$500. The actual price depends on various factors, including your location (i.e., how far the inspector would have to drive to get to the property) and the size of the property.
Inspectors may also charge you varying amounts depending on the ancillary services they provide, the overall quality of their service, and their experience.
2. Owning A Home
We recommend getting regular maintenance inspections every 1-2 years. As mentioned earlier, the goal is to find and fix issues while they are still small. Over time, most defects will get worse and cost you more money.
You can think of it just like going to the dentist or getting routine maintenance on your car. By having a professional check on the condition of your home, you’ll be able to maintain it better and preserve its value.
For newer homes that were recently built, you can get away with waiting a bit longer between inspections. However, the older the house, the more regularly you should inspect it.
3. Selling a home
We recommend that every seller get a pre-listing inspection. A pre-listing inspection is the same as a standard home inspection. However, instead of waiting for the buyer to schedule one in the due diligence period, the seller preemptively gets an inspection done before the house goes on the market.
Pre-listing inspections can help your home sell faster and for a higher price. You can find and address issues before buyers ever step foot in your house. This eliminates the need for renegotiations, letting your closing be faster and easier.
If you’re looking for even more ways to add value to a pre-listing inspection, check out Inspection Protection. Homes sold with Inspection Protection spend 45% less time on the market, and buyers are 4-5x more likely to waive their inspection contingency.
4. Building A New Home
42% of Americans would prefer to buy a new home over an existing one (for the same price). However, if you buy or build a new construction home, you should still get an inspection.
A common misconception is that new construction homes likely meet all safety and quality standards. But if you don’t get a home inspection, you risk not knowing if there are any problems.
When building a home, a new construction phases inspection is what you’ll need. This gives you the chance to inspect the house at each stage of construction, ensuring that everything is as it should be. Here are the stages:
- Pre-pour foundation inspection: ensuring the framing for the foundation is set up correctly before cement gets poured.
- Before drywall is put up: once drywall goes up, you won’t get the chance to see “behind the scenes” to look at the wiring and plumbing.
- Before moving in: this type of inspection is most similar to a standard home inspection. It allows you to double-check for issues before you get settled.
- Eleven months after closing: newly constructed homes often come with home warranties. It’s a good idea to get a professional inspection about a month before your warranty expires.
How Inspectify Can Help
With Inspectify, booking a home inspection is a breeze. Here are a few ways that we make your life easier:
- Simple and instant booking
We have a nationwide network of home inspectors. You can book an inspection anytime, anywhere in the country in a matter of minutes. Our team will handle the logistics, so you can focus your time on other things that need to be done before closing.
- Easy-to-read inspection report
Our standardized inspection report presents all the relevant details and insights to you in an easy-to-understand format. Every defect on the report is classified into three categories: safety, repair, and monitor. This helps you know which issues to prioritize.
- Free repair cost estimates
We use local pricing data to estimate how much repairs will cost you, saving you the hassle of getting a quote from a contractor yourself.