Unlike cars, you can’t take a house for a test drive.
You need to have a prudent approach in learning about a property before signing on the dotted line and a home inspection is not required by law in Indiana. However, you should always obtain one. A thorough inspection provides a summary of the home, with the purpose of documenting the major components of the house. “You actually get a better inspection because it’s not required by the state,” says Christian Strnad, owner of Iron Gate Inspection Services. “The state of Indiana only requires a housing report. They want to make sure the furnace is functioning and the windows are not broken. It doesn’t cover a lot. My company checks out all the major systems of your home, and more.”
Strnad has owned his business for over 15 years, and knows the home inspection process well. He’s never had a buyer who has regretted paying for this thorough analysis of a home.
What’s covered by an inspection?
Home inspectors are like general practitioners. “Compare it to when you get a yearly physical,” says Strnad. “We check the major systems — the heating, the plumbing, the foundation, roof and more — for overt problems. But if you said, ‘Hey, my shoulder hurts,’ you’d go to a specialist. And I recommend the same thing. If there is a particular concern that comes out of the general inspection, we advise getting a second opinion.”
A traditional home inspection does not cover everything and Strnad recommends looking for a specialist in these instances too. For example, a well is not covered in a basic inspection. Inspectors are not trained to inspect pools; instead, go to a pool dealer.
Chimneys are a limited inspection. “We’ll look up a fireplace; if there is obvious deterioration, we’ll try and look from the roof down,” says Strnad. In the spirt of better safe than sorry, if you’re buying a home with a fireplace have the chimney inspected, and learn how to care for it. It is especially important to know if there has ever been a fire in the chimney.
The timing of a home inspection
The buyer schedules the home inspection once there is an accepted offer. It is customary for the buyer to send the report (or appropriate pages) to accompany any inspection response that is asking for repairs. The offer is often contingent upon a negotiation of how these repairs are handled.
Be aware of two important points: A buyer cannot back out of a sale due to a minor defect nor can they back out for a repair – major or minor – without giving the seller an opportunity to fix it.
Also, if you are the seller, Strnad highly recommends a pre-listing home inspection. If you hang your hat on the one inspection the interested buyer obtains, it could contain errors. “You could have a bad inspector, or an inspector that had an off day. There can be disruptions during the inspection, such as bad weather.” Knowing the condition of your home before listing it eliminates surprises.
Central Indiana is damp. Make sure the basement or crawl space is thoroughly checked. If it has experienced water damage, mold can be present.
Many lenders require a termite report. Heavy termite infestations occur all across the state, and most homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover the damage.
Who’s qualified to inspect a home?
Put a fair amount of scrutiny into one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. Hire a home inspector who is a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and you get a professional aligned with an organization whose mission is to establish and advocate for high standards. Often your realtor can recommend a good one, or you can find one here.
Be proactive. If you know you are going to be in the market for a house, check out inspectors in your area before you pick out a new home.
A word about cost
Most inspections in the Indianapolis area are between $250 and $500 depending on the size of the home. Additional testing for things not covered in the basic inspection range from $50 to $200 per test. Take a look at this sample inspection report from Irongate Services. It’s an excellent guide if you are not familiar with the process.
Leave us a comment below if you have any questions or contact us at Newkirk Realty. The nuances of the home inspection process can be confusing – we are happy to help! Call us: 317-578-1141.