The Ultimate Guide to Home Inspection Before Buying

The Ultimate Guide to Home Inspection Before Buying

The Boston region is one of the most popular areas to live. Known for its grand historical appeal and successful sports teams, residents of Massachusetts love the rich cultural atmosphere that pervades the state. Homebuyers are interested in living in Massachusetts for its proximity to the ocean, mountains, and of course, its stunning homes. While browsing homes for sale in Boston, however, you may want to pursue acquiring a home inspection. This is especially important in Massachusetts, where many of the homes, despite their beauty, have older systems in place. Boston real estate experts Kim Covino & Co. have provided a guide for all you need to know about home inspections before buying your dream home.

What is a home inspection, and is it required?

A home inspection is a detailed examination of a home’s condition. Typically, you will hire a professional outside party to conduct an objective home assessment. This entails evaluating the home’s plumbing, electrical, HVAC, roofing, and overall components to determine whether they are safe and in optimal condition.

While home inspections are not required in Massachusetts, as mentioned above, they are highly recommended. Given the state’s historic status, homes in Massachusetts tend to have older elements that may need to be replaced.

Why should I get a home inspection?

When buying a home, one of your priorities is to live in a safe and comfortable environment. It is better to purchase a home that needs fewer improvements so you can save some money. Thus, you should obtain a home inspection to have extensive information about your home’s condition before buying a home.

By having a home inspection, you can identify the potential defects and issues your potential home has. You can decide for yourself whether you want to take on the burden of fixing these problems or if you would rather do without these challenges. You could also use the findings from a home inspection for leverage in negotiating the home's value if many problems need to be addressed. Of course, the main reason why home inspections are crucial is that they provide reassurance that your home is safe to reside in.

What is the difference between home inspection vs. appraisal?

A lot of times, home appraisals are confused with home inspections. However, their purposes are very different in nature. Home inspections, as we have discussed, aim to assess a home's condition and provide an evaluation for the buyer to have plenty of information about safety.

An appraisal, however, is an evaluation of the home to determine what professionals believe your home should be valued. Appraisals are completed so lenders can determine a home's fair market value as part of the mortgage loan process. Lenders can ensure the home is valued high enough to support the loan amount. Thus, an appraisal is usually required by lenders.

What is the home inspection process like?

Home inspection processes look different depending on which professional you contact. Nonetheless, they typically start with an exterior examination of the house which involves looking at the home’s foundation, windows, doors, roof, and more. Next, the professional will conduct an interior examination which involves inspecting floors, stairs, ceilings, and other structural components. Then they perform comprehensive evaluations of the home’s systems.

Once the inspection is complete, the professional will provide a report of what they found and recommendations for any necessary repairs. From there, the buyer can decide with their real estate agent whether purchasing the home is a sound investment.

How to choose a home inspector

The best way to choose a reliable home inspector is often through word of mouth. Asking your friends and family who have experienced moving to Boston who they selected as a home inspector can be useful, as they will provide an honest opinion of their experience. Still, it is important to do your own research. Look for reviews and check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against the company.

You will want a certified or licensed inspector to conduct professional inspections and potentially a member of a professional association. These attributes demonstrate the experience and expertise of home inspectors. Also, be sure to retrieve a quote about the service and ensure that it is well within your price range.

Wait, what is the home inspection contingency clause?

You may have heard of the home inspection contingency clause from researching home inspections. Basically, this clause guarantees that you will have a certain amount of time to get a professional home inspection done before your contract with the seller is officially binding. The purpose of the clause protects the buyer, who can back out of the contract or negotiate for repairs if the inspection report finds significant damages.

What to do if significant damage is found

Once you receive your home inspection report, you can take steps to ensure that the home is in proper condition. You will have an overview of the smaller maintenance tasks that need to be completed and the more severe issues the home may have.

From there, you can ask the home seller if they would be willing to make the necessary repairs or if you could receive a discount from the original price to make up for the repair costs that you will shoulder. You and the seller will likely be able to develop some kind of agreement.

We answer all your real estate needs

We hope we have helped you learn more about the home inspection process. If you need advice about seeking a home inspector or purchasing a property, contact Kim Covino. Kim and her team of experts are happy to help you with any of your Boston, Massachusetts, real estate needs. We hope to hear from you soon!

*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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