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The Ultimate Guide to Home Inspection Before Buying

Finding the perfect Naples home is an exciting step in the home-buying journey. After looking at many unsuitable properties, you know this is the one. It can be tempting to try to rush through closing, even if that means cutting out a few steps. The house looks perfect, after all, and you might feel like a home inspection would just delay moving in. Even though it may feel tempting to skip the inspection, it is a necessary step that should never be overlooked.

Just because a home appears to be in good condition, only a qualified professional can thoroughly and properly evaluate the condition of a home. A house may look perfect during a walkthrough, but a detailed inspection could still reveal structural problems, faulty electrical work, or a failing plumbing system.

What is a home inspection?

During a home inspection, a qualified professional will look the home over and assess the internal and external systems of the house. The purpose of a home inspection is to check the function, habitability, and condition of a home. Your home inspection will uncover any repairs that need to be made to the home before you can move in.

Most qualified home inspectors will perform a four-point inspection. A four-point inspection will check the roof, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. Every real estate seeker should order a four-point home inspection before buying. It may even be required by your insurance company. You should be sure to work with a professional that will also check the exterior structure, crawl spaces, and insulation of your home.

If you live in an area that is likely to experience hurricanes, additional inspection points will be needed. A wind mitigation inspection will ensure the home is structurally sound and optimized to withstand hurricane-force winds and heavy rains.

Common findings

A home inspection may not always reveal a major concern in need of immediate repair, but even minor issues can lead to expenses down the road that you did not plan for. On average, 86% of home inspections uncovered issues that homebuyers were relieved to know about before closing on the sale.

Old roof

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On average, a home’s roofing should be checked and repaired every 15 years; however, this remains an often-overlooked aspect of home care. A traditional four-point inspection will give the roof a thorough assessment ensuring the shingles are in good condition and that there are no leaks or sagging.

Faulty electric and plumbing

No one wants to move into a home just to have the electricity or plumbing fail. Leaking pipes, malfunctioning toilets, low water pressure, and clogged drains are all common issues that are found in a home's plumbing. Exposed, fraying, or faulty wiring are issues to look out for in the electrical system of a home.

Water damage and mold

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Water damage due to old roofing and poor drainage is another common problem that often turns up in a home inspection. Your inspector will go into the attic and crawl spaces looking for water damage, mold, and mildew. Areas of water damage and mold will have to be addressed before moving in. If your home has a significant mold presence, you may have to hire a professional cleaner.

Code violations

Housing code violations are more common than many realize. Your inspector is up to date on all the local code laws. They will be able to check any additions and fire safety measures for compliance. Any infractions will have to be repaired before you can move into the home.

Red flags

While most issues that turn up in a home inspection are minor, occasionally, a home inspection will uncover major problems. Some concerns can be serious and affect the soundness and integrity of a home. Sometimes, if a home has too many red flags, it may be better to walk away than risk the investment and well-being of your family.

Foundation damage

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A home inspection occasionally uncovers major foundation issues. Repairs to a foundation can cost tens of thousands and cause huge delays in moving into the home. A cracked, sagging, or uneven foundation is a red flag that is best avoided unless you’re willing to fork over the expense. 

Water intrusion

If the Naples home has a history of flooding, it may be better to pass. Living in Florida, homes are subjected to hurricanes, severe rain, and rising sea levels, all of which contribute to flooding. In some instances, putting in drainage or waterproofing the foundation can minimize the problem. However, these repairs are extremely expensive and may not entirely mitigate the flooding problem.

Cost of a home inspection 

The cost of a home inspection will vary state-by-state and is dependent on the type of inspection. In Florida, the average home inspection will generally cost between $254 and $374. Be sure to ask your inspector for a quote before scheduling an appointment and ask what’s included so you know what add-ons you will need. Mold testing and septic inspections are not always covered in a typical inspection, so be prepared to pay extra. 

Find a qualified home inspector 

A home inspection may feel like another step in the home-buying process, but it is a necessary step to ensure you’re making a wise decision. You do not want to sacrifice the quality of your inspection to save a little money, especially when overlooked issues could end up costing you more after closing.

Pick a qualified, local inspector who has experience with the type of house you are buying. When scouting for home inspectors, always shop around. Compile a list of questions to ask each inspector. Ask about pricing, credentials, licenses, and the types of issues they commonly uncover. You can always turn to organizations like the American Society of Home Inspectors or the National Academy of Building Inspectors for leads.

Post-inspection negotiations

If your contract has a home inspection contingency, you can use the findings of your inspection as leverage in negotiations. If your home needs a lot of time, money, and repairs, you can try to get a lower price. Not all sellers will be open to a lower offer, but they may agree to make repairs themselves before closing. If the home inspection reveals major structural flaws or costly damage, you can still back out on the sale after the inspection.

If you have issues you want to bring up in post-inspection negotiations, be sure to provide pictures, excerpts from the inspection report, and cost estimates. In the United States, sellers have no obligation to make repairs before a sale, but it never hurts to ask.

If you’re looking to buy a home or need help navigating the inspection process, expert agent Vincent Branda can help. As a Florida native, he knows what Naples real estate needs to withstand tropical weather. Give Vincent a call today to get started.
*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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