Buying your first house may be one of the more significant milestones in your life. For many, home ownership signifies that your planning and saving has finally paid off. That’s why you do not want your excitement to turn into disappointment because you discovered after moving in that the central air conditioning system no longer works or the basement floods after a heavy rain.
Having a home inspection performed before closing on your house and taking possession of the keys could help to prevent your dream home from turning into a financial nightmare.
What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is an examination of every aspect of a house – from the roof to the crawl space, and from cracks and decay on the inside to downspout drainage on the outside.
Home buyers and sellers may be surprised at just how extensive a home inspection can be and how many hidden problems a thorough examination may reveal. Here is a sample of what gets checked out during a home inspection:
- Structural System (foundation, slabs, framing, and beams)
- Electrical System and Components (wiring, conductors, service panel, lighting fixtures, and switches)
- HVAC System (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system that involves an air conditioner, duct work, furnace, or other installed heating systems)
- Plumbing (sump pumps, drainage systems, water heaters, and faucets)
- Roof and Gutters
In addition to the main systems, the home’s interior will be scrutinized as well. That includes:
- Windows (including locks and latches)
- Kitchen Appliances (dishwasher, garbage disposal, oven, refrigerator, microwave, etc.)
- Bathroom (sinks, drains, fans, lights, toilets, showers, etc.)
- Laundry Rooms
- Crawl Space
Even with all these areas, a home inspector’s work is not over. Your home inspector will also look for signs of insect infestation that can wreak havoc on a house. Wood destroying organisms, such as termites, particularly enjoy Florida’s humid climate. Unfortunately, these and other pesky insects can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars in damages to homes. Inspectors can spot the signs of an insect invasion so homeowners can take action to remedy the problem.
Pro Tip: If you’re worried about termites, want to know the signs of termites, or want to learn about buying a house with termites, check out our blog 5 Signs Your Home Has Termites.
Your home inspector can also check for mold, which grows in dark, damp, and warm environments. If not removed, mold can spread throughout a house and affect the residents’ health, especially if they have allergies or asthma.
Florida Home Inspection
Florida does not make home inspections mandatory, but the state has established general standards of practice that govern home inspections and has requirements for home inspectors. For example, individuals interested in becoming a licensed home inspector must:
- Take and complete a minimum of 120 hours of a state-approved course that covers the eight components of a home,
- Undergo a background check,
- Obtain $300,000 of commercial general liability insurance,
- Take and pass a home inspection examination approved by Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (FDBPR), and
- Submit proof to FDBPR that they passed the exam.
A Florida home inspection conducted by a state-certified home inspector can help buyers make informed decisions before going through with a major purchase of a house or a condo.
What Does a Home Inspection Company Do?
A home inspection company helps potential home buyers and sellers by examining a house or other residential property to determine its overall condition. Both buyers and sellers are more likely to choose a company with experienced, state-certified inspectors who provide professional home inspection services.
How Long Does a Home Inspection Take?
The time it takes to perform a home inspection depends on several factors, including the size of the home. For example, it may take an inspector only two or three hours to inspect a single-bedroom ranch home, but longer for a multi-story, multi-bedroom house.
The Inspection Report
After the examination, the home inspector presents the potential buyer or homeowner with a written home inspection report. Depending on the extent of your inspection, the report may includes details such as:
- The inspector’s professional opinion of the systems and components inspected that had significant defects or are near the end of their service lives.
- A reason why the home inspector arrived at his or her professional opinion, if it is not obvious.
- A reason why the home inspector did not inspect other systems and components in the home.
The report may also include photos to substantiate the inspector’s findings and recommendations for necessary repairs.
Pro Tip: With over 17,000 inspections in Florida, we’ve become familiar with the most common types of problems found during home inspections.
Who Pays for Home Inspection (Services)?
Generally, the home buyer pays for the inspection since an inspection serves as protection for the buyer. However, a pre-listing home inspection can help a seller to increase the chances of selling their home quickly and for the asking price they want by providing clear facts about the details of their home. In that case, the seller will pay for the inspection and the buyer will typically pay for any additional inspections of the home.
Depending on the defects found in the home, an inspector’s findings could have the potential to change a buyer’s willingness to pay the seller’s asking price. For example, if an inspection report finds that a house has significant damage, the buyer may be willing to walk away from the deal or want to negotiate a lower price because of the needed repairs to the home.
On the other hand, with a pre-listing home inspection, a seller can choose to make any repairs before listing their home for sale or determine the lowest amount they’re willing to accept if they home buyer asks for a lower price due to the necessary repairs.
Questions? Contact Your Local Home Inspection Company Today
Potential buyers usually do their due diligence to find out what problems a home might have before purchasing their next home. However, having a professional home inspector identify problems within a house’s structure, primary systems, and essential components provides added benefits of security and assurance. Whether you’re in the process of buying a home or selling a home, you should contact a highly-rated Florida home inspection company and ask about the details of their home inspection services.