Conventional wisdom says that the best time to have a home inspection is during the due diligence period of a real estate transaction, before the sale is finalized. This allows the potential buyer to uncover any issues or problems with the property before committing to the purchase.
In most cases, the home inspection will take place after an offer has been made on the property and has been accepted by the seller. The buyer will typically hire a licensed home inspector to evaluate the property and provide a detailed report of any issues or concerns. The inspection can also provide valuable information about the home’s systems and they best way to maintain them.
It’s important to schedule the home inspection as soon as possible during the due diligence period to allow for time to address any issues that may be uncovered. This can help prevent any surprises or unexpected costs after the sale is finalized.
There are some limitations to a pre-sale inspection, however, since the buyer does not yet own the property thus the home inspector can only do a visual inspection. Also, the seller and realtors will often allow only a limited amount of time to perform the inspection: usually not more than three hours.
Perhaps a better time to have a home inspection performed is after the homeowner has lived in the house for a few years or when they are planning for home improvements. With the homeowner’s permission, a home inspector can do a more in-depth inspection of problem areas like the basement (where carpet might need to be taken up to evaluate the subfloor) and the attic (where stored items and insulation might need to be moved to look for water damage). A home inspector can also identify the manufacture dates of appliances like hot water heaters and furnaces which might be better replaced as part of a renovation.
Lastly, homeowners who are planning on selling their homes should consider a home inspection. The inspection could help identify issues that should be addressed before listing the property as well as provide information about the best way to make repairs and improvements.