While almost all mortgage lenders will require that a home have a home appraisal as part of the mortgage process, home inspections are rarely required when buying a home … although there can always be exceptions.
FHA loans come closest to having a home inspection requirement in that they strongly recommend – in writing – that a homebuyer have a home inspection completed. FHA loans do require that the home meet minimum property requirements, and this requirement can be determined through a home inspection.
And there can be times when something is noted, perhaps by an appraiser or through other means, at which point the mortgage lender will then require a further home inspection.
However, we recommend that you ALWAYS get a home inspection. And not just because we’re in the home inspection business.
A home inspection will provide you with valuable information on the health and safety of the home before you buy, which will allow you to make a better informed decision about this large investment.
The Home Inspection Contingency
In addition to providing valuable information about the mechanical and structural systems in the home, home inspections are used to provide an opportunity for a buyer to identify any major issues with a home prior to closing.
The home inspection can be used as a contingency in the sales contract, providing that if significant defects are revealed, you can revoke your purchase offer within a set timeframe. This usually would not include issues that are minor and relatively easy to fix, but could cover major defects, such as with roofing or foundations.
Home inspection clauses can also be included in contracts for new home builds, which your buyer’s agent may decide to do. These generally cover phase inspections including checking foundation before concrete is poured, checking the structure and mechanics before drywall is installed, and a full inspection of the completed home.
Remember, a home inspection is not the sole determinant for buying a home. You may be willing to make some repairs or renovations, and the home inspection report – and your real estate agent – can help you determine how many you’ll need to make.
It is very likely that every home will have at least some small issues that need to be addressed, and no seller is going to fix everything before the sale, but a home inspection report will give you information that lets you know when you need to negotiate.