The Home Inspection Process

When you make an offer on a home, your Purchase Contract will likely contain provisions allowing you various inspections of the property. The purpose of these inspections is to educate you as to the physical condition of the property you are purchasing. While these inspections do not provide guarantees of the condition of the property, they do provide valuable information to you as a Buyer. It is important to remember that your Purchase Contract may provide for withdrawal from the contract if these reports are unsatisfactory to you.

Who Pays? 
Typically inspections are paid by the Buyer.

Home inspections are conducted by trained and certified professionals. In some states like Illinois home inspectors must be licensed. A home inspection costs on an average between $300 to $500 depending on the size of the house, but it can prevent thousands of $$$ investment mistake. This is especially true with older homes, as you want to avoid later spending lots of money on fixing existing structural or mechanical defects. A professional home inspector you hire will conduct a thorough visual survey of a property’s structure, roof, foundation, will check if all systems like electric, plumbing, heating, and cooling in the house are working properly, and will check site conditions. The home inspector describes the condition of the home at the time of inspection but does not guarantee future condition or life expectancy of the house systems or its components. After inspection is finished the buyer gets a written report of findings. Depending on the results from the inspection the buyer has a few alternatives:

1. Ask the seller for the repairs that were indicated in the inspection report if they were not disclosed by the seller
2. Ask the seller for the credit to cover those repairs
3. If serious defects were found and the buyer does not want to proceed with the purchase buyer may walk away from the deal

There are three other areas buyers should be aware of and get knowledgeable on the subject.

1. Radon– radon is a naturally occurring, colorless, odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas produced by the decay of other radioactive substances. The potential for developing lung cancer from exposure to radon is a function of the extent and the length of someone’s exposure to radon. Radon is found in every state and territory, rising hot air draws cooler air in from the ground through cracks in the basement and foundation walls pulling radon into buildings. It is recommended that home buyers have an indoor radon test performed prior to purchase or taking occupancy, and mitigated if elevated levels of radon are found.

2. Lead-based paint – the federal government estimates that lead is present in about 75% of all private housing built before 1978. Lead-based paint may be on any interior or exterior surface, but it is common on doors, windows, and other woodwork. Children younger than six are the most vulnerable to damage from excessive lead levels. In 1996, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Housing and Urban Development issued the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, which is requiring the disclosure of the presence of any known lead-based paint hazards to potential buyers. Buyers have the right to test for the lead if they decide to exercise that right.

3. Mold – mold can grow on almost any organic substance, as long as moisture, oxygen, and an organic food source are present. If a moisture problem is not addressed, mold growth can gradually destroy what it is growing on. In addition to that, some molds can cause serious health problems triggering allergic reactions and asthma attacks. The Environment Protection Agency has published guidelines for the remediation and/or cleanup of mold and moisture problems.