Do I Really Need a House Inspector to Close My Loan?

Buying or building a home means you and your family are in for an exciting and busy experience. There’s much to do in a relatively short time period. Pack your household goods, change your address with all your creditors, enroll the children in a new school, and review the hundreds of pages of loan documents before you close your loan.

When you buy a new house, you go through an emotional experience that can cloud judgment. Walking through a prospective new home, you view surface elements that are likely staged to please the eye. Curb appeal is fresh paint, neatly manicured landscaping, and features free of clutter. It’s what you can’t see that’s most important.

Home inspection and an appraisal is a requirement of all FHA loans; it should be on your ‘to-do’ list regardless of loan type. The FHA will not insure a mortgage unless a property appraiser inspects the house and attached real estate beneath it. If the your dream house doesn’t meet the FHA’s property standards, the problems must be fixed, or FHA will not agree to insure a loan.

A house inspection protects both you and your mortgage lender from buying a house in poor condition and in need of major repairs. A home inspector will conduct a thorough onsite inspection of the physical condition of your new property. They are trained to check and ensure the house is safe from damage and structurally sound. Home inspections can take about two hours or more to complete, depending on the size of the prospective new property.

Your inspector works off an official check list and is looking for problems to flag, which include, water and insect damage, broken or leaking pipes, mold, worn or improperly installed electrical feeds and fuses, foundation damage, insulation levels, exposed sub-flooring, inadequate entrance and exit ways from bedrooms to the outside (important in the event of fire or natural disaster), illegal room additions, and much more.

Included on the inspector’s list is proper appliance installation, condition, age, and operation. Inspectors check the durability of doors, windows, gutters, paint, cabinets, walls, ceilings, roofs, and flooring.

Inspectors pay special attention to locating site hazards that can compromise your health and safety in ways you may not consider. They look for unusual ground and structure settling that can be evidence of serious concerns (i.e., sinkholes, underground waterways, broken sewer pipes or water supply lines, poor water drainage, natural gas pockets). Inspectors will watch for the property’s proximity to high-pressure gasoline and natural gas lines within 10 feet of the property, storage tanks filled with flammable material, and soil contamination.

At the end of the property inspection, you receive a report that lists the good and the bad. If there’s a serious problem to address, then it’s your decision on how to proceed if your property is not up to FHA standards.

Your new house is likely your most expensive asset. You are preparing to spend a lot of money buying your dream home. No matter the outcome, ‘buyer beware’ is a good mantra to remember when closing your mortgage loan.

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