Before completing the purchase of a home in the Bay Area, you want to make sure it is in as good condition as you think. The most reliable way to do this is through a professional inspection of the property.
Home inspections and reports are an important part of buying a home and should be included as a contingency in your purchase agreement. In an inspection, at least one licensed professional will inspect the home for defects in its structure, systems and physical components. This includes the plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems, floors, ceilings, roof, windows and foundation. The inspector will also check or pest infestations, dry rot or other signs of pest damage, and examine the land on which the home sits for issues concerning the grading, drainage and retaining walls.
When Should the Property Be Inspected?
Most buyers get an inspection performed once they are in contract to buy the home, usually with the transaction contingent on a satisfactory inspection. The buyer is responsible for arranging and scheduling the inspection.
You can also perform your own inspection as you tour the home. Issues to look for include:
- Bowing walls or sloping floors
- Signs of water damage on the floors, ceilings or walls
- Missing roof shingles
- Loose gutters
- Old or poor-quality appliances and fixtures
- Major cracks in the foundation
- Signs of deferred maintenance or required repairs
Choosing a Home Inspector in the Bay Area
You can choose to hire a professional home inspector or general contractor to inspect major systems in the home, which normally takes a few hours and costs up to $500.
Remember that you are choosing a professional who will essentially be providing a check-up for one of the largest financial investments of your life. Choose someone you know is competent and trustworthy, not just the cheapest inspection company you can find or the one your real estate agent recommends. Do not forget that the least expensive inspector will be the one with the least experience, knowledge and ability.
Getting a Pest Report
Along with a general inspection of the home in the Bay Area, it is a good idea to hire a pest control inspector who will give you a pest report. The seller may have already commissioned a pest report, in which case you can go by this. Pest inspectors often perform work on properties they have inspected, so they have an interest in finding an issue. If the pest report ordered by the seller comes up clean, you can usually rely on it.
The pest inspector will check for signs of infestation by flying beetles or termites in the wood of the home, along with dry rot and fungal problems.
Special Inspections May Be Necessary
For some properties in the Bay Area, and depending on your wishes, you may also choose to get specialized inspections for hazards such as natural disasters or health hazards like mold. If the general inspection turned up issues with the foundation, roof or other potentially expensive areas, you may also opt for another specialized inspection.
Time to Proceed
When you are satisfied with the inspection reports and find that the home is in good condition, you can proceed with the sale. If issues are detected, you can also negotiate with the seller to pay for required repairs or lower the purchase price. Assuming your contract grants you the right, you can also back out of the sale.