A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the entire home including its structure, roof, foundation as well as its mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.
Why do I need a Home Inspection?
Honestly a home inspection is not generally required, but for a lot of people buying a home, it is the single largest investment they may ever make. It can also be a very emotional and stressful time. No one wants unexpected surprises when buying a home and it’s incredibly helpful to know and understand what you are buying before you make the purchase rather than trying to figure it out after. A home inspection will identify systems, surfaces and existing conditions and may uncover major concerns or builder oversights. Having an objective third party provide you with a detailed report with pictures will help guide you and your realtor through the purchase phase and be there as a reference once you take ownership.
If you already own a home you may not have the time or experience to go through and inspect all its surfaces and systems. It is always better to know early on when something is damaged or not functioning properly. A home inspection will help explain your existing conditions and can be used as a guide when budgeting for upgrades or repairs.
If you are selling a home nothing is more frustrating than having a buyer come back to you with a list of requested repairs, especially when you potentially could have fixed some of the items if you’d only known in advance. We all get emotionally attached to our homes and it is difficult to be objective when determining if something should be repaired or replaced. A home inspection will give you that unbiased report and help you determine what you can fix, need fixed or are unwilling to fix prior to ever putting the home on the market. This will help you price your home and negotiate with a prospective buyer.
What will I receive after the inspection?
You will receive a PDF report that will list and show any material defects in the condition of the homes interior and exterior surfaces. The report will cover all visible and accessible walls, floors, ceilings, doors, windows, siding and roof as well as home heating, plumbing and electrical components, insulation, structure and foundation. There is also a lot of useful information for a new homeowner such as water and electrical disconnect locations, age and type of mechanical systems and locations of the meter, electrical panel, fill valves and waste cleanouts. The report includes pictures to help show any areas of concern or locations of important items.
What does a Home Inspection cost?
The cost for a home inspection varies based on the size and location of the home similar to the cost of real estate. The age, number of buildings and different tests that may or may not be included also affect the overall cost. The average cost is between $350 - $800. This is usually a fraction of the cost of the home and for many is well worth the peace of mind they get when making a purchase of this magnitude.
Does a house “Pass or Fail” and inspection?
No, a professional inspection is a snapshot in time of the existing material condition of the home. It is not an appraisal to determine value and it is not a code inspection one would get from a municipality that would pass or fail. It is visual description of the home, its systems and components and will identify those items that may require maintenance, repair or replacement in order to function properly.
Why do I need a water test?
A vast majority of homes in Maine are in rural locations where household water is supplied by a well. According to the U.S. CDC, in 2014, just under 48% percent of Maine households tested positive for arsenic. Wells are also susceptible to water runoff from road ways, leach fields and farm land where coliform bacteria or E. Coli can find their way into your well. A comprehensive water quality test is an inexpensive way to make sure that your drinking water is safe for you and your family. If your home is on city water then it is already being tested by your municipality for water quality. You can request those results from your water district.
Do I need a well and septic inspection?
It is highly recommended to have your well and septic system inspected by a certified or licensed technician who is specially trained and experienced in the proper installation and function of these systems. These systems not only need to function properly but they need to be designed and installed correctly. There are some home inspectors who offer, and are qualified, to test these systems but to ensure proper design and installation we recommend using specific well or septic inspectors. If requested, we or your realtor can help you with finding qualified contractors who can do their inspection at or around the same time as your home inspection.
Do I have to be there for the inspection?
You are not required to be there for the inspection but we do recommend being present if possible. Homeowners are welcome to accompany the inspector during the process but remember, this will take 2-4 hrs and the inspector will be constantly moving and working to get through the entire home. If there are certain areas where you would like to be present then the inspector can notify you when he is in those areas and answer your questions at that time. At the end of the inspection we will verbally review any major items that where noted. The complete report, with all items noted, will be sent within 48 hours and is yours to keep.
What if items are found during the inspection?
No home is perfect and there are bound to be items noted, however these may not be major concerns and most often do not affect the sale or purchase of a home. This is where your realtor comes in and walks you through what is a concern and what is maintenance. You can then decide what you are willing to accept or what you want to negotiate. Use the report as a resource to help you and your realtor to work out a deal that is in the best interest of everyone.