Various Real Estate Inspections

There’s a misconception when it comes to inspections in a residential Real Estate transaction, so allow me to cover some basics.

First of all, if a buyer applies for a conventional loan, he or she does not have to order a home inspection. This is at their discretion although in most cases, I’d strongly recommend one. An example of when it might be ok to not have one is when a home is gutted or is so badly damaged that the buyer already knows they’re inheriting very significant work. Even if a home is to be sold “As Is”, meaning that the seller won’t make repairs, I believe it would behoove a buyer, to have that inspection so that he or she doesn’t take on something too big for them to handle. One example is when a structural problem is found by the inspector, which wasn’t visible to the buyer.

Now, when it comes to some government backed loans, such as those through the Veterans Administration and Federal Housing Administration, a traditional inspection still isn’t required. However, those programs require an appraisal like most loans, but they go beyond the traditional appraisal. In these scenarios, the appraiser will conduct sort of a watered-down inspection in addition to determining the home’s value. That may sound confusing and many of us don’t agree with some of the criteria, but the intent is that if the government is backing the loan, they want the home to be turnkey for that buyer. The requirement is actually well intended even if some of us say the criteria should be tweaked.

Again, as I said, I strongly recommend that traditional home inspection but in addition, radon, mold, septic, structural and pest Inspections can also be conducted. When you tour a home, if you notice moisture in a basement or crawlspace, it might help you to decide on ordering a mold inspection. Moisture can lead to mold, which can lead to health problems for those residing in the home. Radon inspections are often needed in areas which are hilly or where mining has occurred, such as in much of West Virginia! Even in WV, that risk varies in different geographic areas so ask your REALTOR® for a radon map. For WV, some are color coded by county. Septic inspections don’t apply if you have sewer service from a city or public service district. My home is in an HOA which has its own sewer system, but if you’re in a rural area, you just might need a septic inspection. Pest Inspections look for termites, bees, etc and even current homeowners should conduct this periodically. A structural inspection may be needed if first recommended by the home inspector, or if it’s visually obvious there’s an issue. That structural inspector can advise on how much of an undertaking it might be to remedy the issue.

If you’re working with a high-octane REALTOR®, he or she will have recommendations for the good inspectors in our area who can then recommend the appropriate remediation. Hire a professional to guide you through this process!