Home inspections can provide important legal protections

A crucial step in the home purchasing process is getting a home inspection. A home inspector’s job is look at the main systems of a house to ensure it is in satisfactory condition.

Sometimes there are only minor, easily fixable issues. Other times there are more major problems that create question about the integrity of the house, causing the buyer to reconsider whether they still want to purchase the home.

Potential problems an inspector might discover

There are a range of different problems a home inspector might uncover. A sever structural problem, while relatively rare, is one of the worst possibilities. This could take the form of horizontal cracking or lateral movement in a foundation and could make a house uninhabitable.

Water damage is another potentially big problem. It might be caused by a leak, basement flooding, or a broken pipe, and should be dealt with promptly. Water damage can lead to stains, rust, damaged finishes, or even mold. Sometimes there are no visual signs of water damage, but a competent house inspector will still be able to detect it with the right equipment.

A house inspector will also look at the electrical components of a house, as well as its pipes. Despite the fact that they are not specialists, an inspector will still be able to identify if the previous homeowner failed to hire professionals to complete any degree of electrical or plumbing work.

Other potential issues an inspector might uncover include poor insulation, problems with the roof, or equipment at the end of its life expectancy, such as a water heater or furnace. These issues are not as concerning, but still need to be identified.

Next steps after an inspection uncovers issues

After a house inspector uncovers all the issues with a house, he will communicate his findings to the buyer in a detailed report. It will then be up to the buyer to decide how to proceed. The seller is not legally obligated to fix the defects, though the buyer might still ask seller to fix some or all of the issues.

Alternatively, the buyer might want to renegotiate the contract price. If the seller refuses, then the buyer can usually walk away from the deal. If it comes to light that the seller tried to conceal a known material issue, then the buyer might be able to take legal action. If a house inspector fails to uncover a serious problem that should have been found and noted, the inspector could bear some legal responsibility as well.