When you purchase a home in Georgia, you will have a period of time that is called the Due Diligence Period. (Click here to read more about what the Due Diligence Period means to a homebuyer.) Essentially, this is your time to do your due diligence -- to have any and all inspections performed on the property and, in short, to make sure there are no major defects that the seller isn't willing to address, to negotiate repairs or other concessions with the seller, and to make sure you definitely want to purchase the home.
During this time, you will most likely hire a home inspector to perform a general home inspection. It's important to know a couple of things about home inspection in general and home inspectors in Georgia, in particular.
First, Georgia does not license home inspectors. In other words, practically anyone can decide to be a home inspector, market themselves as a home inspector, and start conducting home inspections. What does this mean to you, as a buyer? This means that you should choose your home inspector very carefully. Click here to read more about how to choose and hire a home inspector, including important questions to ask.
Second, home inspectors are generalists. This means they likely know a little bit about a lot of things, and perhaps a lot about some things. This is because the scope of their job is to give you an overall picture of the home, to look for compliance with building codes, and to be on the lookout for safety issues, hazards, and structural defects in the home that you're thinking of purchasing. For this reason, don't be surprised if your home inspector uses phrases like "appears to be" or "could possibly be" or ultimately recommends that you consult a specialist or a licensed service provider for certain components of the home where he or she suspects there could be an issue.
For example, by visual inspection, a home inspector can see and advise if there is no expansion tank installed on a water heater; however, they may suspect there are roof leaks, from the staining they see in the attic, on the decking boards, etc., and then recommend that you have a licensed roofer assess the roof and what repairs it may need.
There are a number of additional inspections you may need on the home you are buying, in addition to a general home inspection. Some may come at the recommendation of your home inspector; others your REALTOR® may recommend up-front, depending on the home's specifics.
Ultimately, remember this: the money you spend on your home inspection(s) could be the best money you've ever spent. Spending a little money up front, to assess the safety and structural soundness of the home, can save you thousands or even tens of thousands in unplanned-for repairs down the road.
Here are some of the types of specialty inspections you may want to consider:
Pool inspection: If the home has its own pool and/or hot tub/spa, you should likely get an independent pool inspection.
Termite inspection: the home may come with a termite bond, but an independent termite inspection is almost always a good idea. As the saying goes, there are two types of homes in Georgia: the ones that have had termites and the ones that are going to get them.
Stucco inspection: If the facade/exterior of the home is synthetic stucco (also known as EIFS), a stucco inspection is a good idea.
Mold or air quality inspection: If you or someone in your household has severe allergies or if the home inspector has alerted you to a cause for concern about fungal growth or possible air quality issues, a mold and/or air quality inspection may be warranted.
Septic inspection: If the property is on a septic tank (rather than connected to the sewer system), it's strongly recommended that you obtain a septic inspection.
Sewer camera inspection: If the property is attached to the city or county sewer system, this inspection involves sending a camera down the main sewer line to make sure it's in good condition with no breaks and no tree roots or other damaging entities encroaching on it.
Structural inspection: If the general home inspector notes any structural concerns or if the seller has disclosed previous structural or foundation issues, you may want to hire a structural engineer/inspector to assess the home.
Well/water quality inspection: If the home is served by a well (rather than city or county water), you will want to have the well inspected and the water quality tested.
Water intrusion inspection: If there is a concern about water intrusion, usually in the basement or crawl space, you will want to bring a waterproofing/water intrusion company out to inspect and make recommendations for remediation.
Electrical inspection: In the even that the general home inspector notes any issues with the electrical panel or breaker box, usually if it's an older box that is in disrepair or no longer manufactured or has had a class action lawsuit against the maker, or that the home has had a lot of DIY electrical repairs, they may recommend that you have a licensed electrician perform a full electrical inspection on the home.
Chimney/fireplace inspection: If the home has a fireplace and you plan to use it, you may want to get the fireplace and the chimney inspected. Most fireplace and chimney companies will require an appointment to clean the fireplace and chimney as part of the inspection, so be prepared to possibly pay for a cleaning, as well.
Roof inspection: If the roof is older or the inspector has any concerns or if the shingles used have been part of a class-action lawsuit, the inspector will likely recommend that you have a licensed roofer come out and take a look.
If you are thinking of buying a home and would like a REALTOR® to help guide you, please call us today at 404-994-2181 or email Maura(at)BuySellLiveAtlanta(dot)com