The short answer is that you can’t tell the health of the house during a 20-minute showing with your realtor.
The purpose of a showing is to check boxes that relate to the home's aesthetics and to see if it fits the size and layout that your family needs. Not to get too far out into the weeds, but a real estate showing is like a first date. Are you attracted to the home? Does the home intrigue you enough for a second look (date)? Many homes that you look at just don’t check all the boxes and you are not interested in moving forward. Unfortunately, in today's market, you may find the right home, but your offer is not accepted (insert dating analogy here). We don’t need to further the dating analogy; you get the picture. At some point, the magic will happen, and your offer will be accepted. At this point, you need to dive below the surface and hire someone who can dig into the bones of the home. Regardless of your gut feelings, your very handy family member who has walked the property with you, or the advice of the folks who are helping you, you need someone who will take a deep dive into the workings of the home. There are many things that can’t be known at first glance. This is a short list of some items that inspectors evaluate that can’t be realized during an initial walkthrough.
· Walking and evaluating the age and viability of the roof.
· Testing for elevated radon levels.
· Looking for tell-tale signs of structural issues.
· Running a camera through the lateral sewer line (damaged lines can be a huge expense).
· Pulling the cover off of the electrical panel and evaluating the electrical system.
· Operating and evaluating the HVAC system.
· Getting into the attic and checking for water, mold, structural, and rodent issues.
· Evaluating the plumbing system and noting the piping material.
· Evaluating the exterior of the home and the grounds.
A good home inspector will take three to four hours evaluating a home, spend an additional 45 minutes to an hour walking the property with the buyer, point out findings with you, and then deliver the completed report by the end of the inspection day. At the end of your contingency period, that report may help you to negotiate repairs, compensation for those repairs, or a lower selling price.
Ultimately, a home inspection gives you the information that you need to make the best possible decision when deciding to buy a home.
At Katz Family Home Inspection we have the experience and tools needed to be able to deliver a thorough and detailed inspection report.