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Buying Maine Real Estate
Home Inspections

Home inspection plays a very important role in the real estate process. When you are buying a home, you rely on a home inspector to provide an accurate and reliable inspection of a property and provide insight about what repairs might be necessary in both the short and long term. A home inspector will tell you about the condition of the home and help you avoid buying a home that needs major repairs. It is the perfect way to get an in-depth and impartial opinion of your next home before you buy it.

Inspection Expectations

Typically, you will hire a home inspector either immediately before an offer is made on a home or as a contingency to a sale. Additionally, home inspections are ideal if you want to evaluate your home's condition or diagnose potential problems before they become serious issues.

Home inspections in Maine average about $300 to $500, depending upon the type of property and the level of detail to be performed. A separate septic evalution would be additional. The inspection is customarily paid for by the buyer.

Home inspectors typically perform the following duties:

 Evaluate the physical condition of a property, including the structure, construction and mechanical systems.
 Identify the items that should be repaired or replaced.
 Estimate the remaining useful life of the major systems (such as electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning), equipment, structure, and finishes.

Although inspections are primarily visual, inspectors may use tape measures, survey instruments, metering devices, and other equipment, such as concrete strength measurers, to aid in their inspection. They keep a log of their work, take photographs, and file a formal report.

The inspection usually takes two or three hours (depending on the age and size of the home). You should be present so you can ask questions and learn about areas that need additional work. All of the findings will be presented in a formal report that details the condition of the home.

In-depth Examination

The main purpose of the home inspector is to provide an objective viewpoint on the condition of a specific home at the time of inspection. The inspector does not evaluate the cost or value of the property, but provides a close examination of the following:

 Structural Components : Foundations, floors and walls.
 Exterior Components: Siding paint, windows, decks, garage doors, etc.
 Roofing: Coverings, flashings, chimneys, etc.
 Plumbing: Piping, fixtures, faucets, water heating and fuel storage systems, etc
 Electrical: Wiring, main service panels, conductors, switches, receptacles, etc.
 Heating: Equipment, safety controls, distribution systems, chimneys, etc.
 Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps: Cooling and air-handling equipment, controls and ducting, etc.
 Interior: Partitions, ceilings, floors, railings, doors and windows, etc.
Insulation and Ventilation: Attics, walls, floors, foundations, kitchen and bathrooms, etc.

They will additionally perform the following services (sometimes for an extra fee): mold sampling, radon testing, asbestos evaluation, pests/wood destroying organisms, carbon monoxide testing, lead testing, and more. These services are not always available.

Be Involved in the Inspection

The home inspector cannot tear into things, so they can't always see everything they'd like to. They do, however, come equipped with ladders, strong flashlights, and devices to measure various things related to plumbing, electrical and other necessary home items.

Importantly, a home inspector will also typically bring a digital camera to photograph problems such as roof shingles not lying flat, signs of mildew from leaking pipes and construction that doesn't comply with building codes. They don't miss much.

It's a good idea for the buyer to be present during the home inspection. If you ask them to, home inspectors will usually explain how things work to you. This is important as they can show you where cut off valves are, how to remove filters for cleaning or replacement and tell you how often various maintenance chores need to be done. This information can be very valuable if you ultimately purchase the property.

It's also a good idea to ask the home inspector if there are any particular tests they would perform if they were buying the home. For example, radon gas (a colorless, odorless gas which is a carcinogen) is often tested in Maine. It can be detected, measured, and, if levels are above EPA standards, there are procedures to deal with it successfully. A home inspector can help identify such issues for you.

Make sure to protect your investment. Get a home inspection before you buy or sell a home!



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