A home inspection: to pay or not to pay, that is the question. Home inspections will typically run anywhere from $250 to $500 per house or condo. This will usually include checking the foundation, structure, exterior grading, swimming pool & equipment, water equipment, exterior roof, roof structure, heating & cooling, attic, insulation & ventilation, electrical, plumbing, interior (including installed appliances & searches for visible evidence of mold), and Chinese drywall. If you are buying a foreclosure or short sale, you can get a home inspection, but the seller will NOT fix anything; however, you can terminate the sale if you are within the time deadlines of the contract. In a traditional sale, the seller will typically repair the defective items or give you a credit for repairs.
What about airborne mold- the stuff that you breathe, but do not see? This can cause you lots of health problems. Home inspectors will typically charge an additional $200 to $300 to take air samples which they mail to a laboratory and a scientist sends the results back. This test will tell if the air quality is elevated due to mold in the house or condo compared to the air quality outdoors. Although mold sounds very scary to most people, it actually can be remedied quite easily. Usually it will mean wiping everything down inside and using high powered HEPA vacuums for 48 hours to suck, clean, and purify the air. If there is visible black mold on the walls, that’s more intrusive and you’ll actually have to cut it out and replace with new drywall. This can be more costly to fix than airborne mold.
As a buyer, remember that you are paying inspectors good money to find things wrong with the house. If they don’t, you might be thinking “What did I just pay for?” Inspectors sometimes make very little things seem much more severe than they really are. Several times I’ve had buyers back out of purchases based on fear of what the inspection report said. The problem with the inspection is that the inspector does not fix anything, they just tell you things that are wrong. When you hire a contractor to come and look at the “issues” in the inspection report, often times you’ll see that things are not as bad as the report states.
What’s interesting is that until July 1st, 2010, home inspectors didn’t even have to have a license. Anyone could have called themselves a home inspector. Kudos to the state of Florida for finally regulating this industry!
Having said all that, I always recommend that every client get an inspection done, but to have an open mind with the process. Make sure you find someone who is fair and knowledgeable – you’ll be happy you did. If you’d like recommendations, feel free to contact me.