A home inspection is a visual exam of the structure and systems of a house. It details problems with the property and if they’re serious enough to prevent a sale. The three main points of an inspection are physical condition, items in need of repair or replacement, and the remaining useful life of major systems. It’s a good idea and I recommend that you be present during the inspection: you can ask the inspector questions, and the inspector can point out areas of potential trouble and may offer maintenance tips. Expect an inspection to take 2-5 hours (old homes may take longer), and expect charges of $200-$500 depending on size.
The Home Inspector's report should include a lot of what you already know about your home...especially what you have long neglected to take care of! Expect recommendations for repair or replacement of the items included in the report to total over $2000. This is a rough average and may not include things you feel are important to dress up the house like fresh paint on the interior or exterior and creating some curb appeal. The report most likely will NOT cover defects that are not visible, inoperable systems (e.g., A/C during the winter), or code violations.
To see what a good home inspector is looking at click on the link to this CHECKLIST
So what do you do once you see this list of recommended repairs? As the seller you are not required to make repairs, but the buyer can use the report in negotiating (e.g., if a repair is made, the buyer will offer to pay more, otherwise the buyer will bid lower). If you are looking to buy a home I suggest making the home inspection and final approval of any repairs, etc. made to the property a condition of your purchase.
When you are ready to hire an inspector be sure to ask about references, memberships in professional associations, professional training, and experience. If you want to avoid all that simply give me a call or send me an email and I will provide three great options for you to choose from.
And if you're looking for a great realtor, I can help with that too!