If you are looking to buy a home in New York, it is important to understand why home inspections are necessary and what they consist of, because they are your best chance to learn about potential maintenance concerns and repairs that a property needs. Inspectors look for water damage, foundation problems, issues with the electricity, and other signs of damage or disrepair, and they generally know how to negotiate the diagnosis of those problems in ways that will help you decide whether or not to move forward with the purchase.
Unfortunately, this state does not have licensing requirements for home inspections, which is why it is important for homeowners to know what to expect from an inspector. That way, it's easier to choose one who will be careful and diligent.
Areas your home inspection will cover
Inspectors are thorough, and they not only check out each room for things you might have missed, but they also check out the following areas:
- Crawlspaces and attic "knee-walls" for problems with rafters
- Under the insulation in the roof, to inspect the roof itself
- Basements, where mold and water damage can appear
- Bathrooms, especially under sinks and in other hidden areas with expose plumbing
- Garage and cellar areas
- Your facilities or electrical room, if separate from a basement
- On the roof, looking for soft spots
Additionally, home inspectors use a variety of tools like sonophones to check out the connection between the water main and the home, to look for pest infestations, and to check for other plumbing and electrical problems.
Choosing a home inspector
Ideally, a home inspector will be able to find any underlying maintenance concerns that need to be addressed, and then it is up to you as the homeowner to decide whether you are going to ask for concessions in the price, for repairs, or for nothing. Choosing to address issues yourself rather than to pursue repairs with the current owner is not only completely valid, but it can also be the best option during a tense bidding war, because often the party making the least demands gains an advantage.
While home inspectors in the state of New York are not licensed, they do join trade and professional organizations that maintain standards for performance. This can really help you choose the right inspector because membership in those organizations often demonstrates the experience, diligence, and quality of work you can expect from any individual contractor you hire.
When you are closing in on the final stages of your home buying experience, make sure you know both what to expect and whom to choose to inspect your future house. That way, you will know everything you need to know about the property you are trying to buy.