What Type of Home Buying Inspection do you Need?

Dave Hanson
Published on March 18, 2016

What Type of Home Buying Inspection do you Need?


Having a home buying inspection on your new purchase is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.  It is going to be an expensive purchase so doing it right will pay dividends in the long run.  One of the best ways is choosing the right buying inspection for the right job. Just like your tool belt, you have a hammer in there but a hammer should not be used for all jobs.  Screws are for screwdrivers and nails are for hammers.  A hammer can pound a screw in the wood but it will not look pretty.  You need the right tool for the right job.

There are so many aspects to a home and so many different things to inspect that you need a specialist for some and you need a generalist for others. Here are some buying inspection options you need to look into for your specific home in the Seattle area.

  1. General home buying inspection: This is the most common home buying inspection that buyers typically get on a home.  They do a great job for the most part and is the perfect scenario for most homes in the Seattle area.  Water is not our friend in Seattle and so checking crawl spaces, attic, leaks and any other water related items will help reduce expenses down the road.
  1. Pest inspection: Speaking of water in the Seattle area, moisture is a pest best friend and a pest inspection can be provided by a general inspector if they are a licensed pest inspector.  Most general home inspectors will tell a buyer they have pest but if they are not licensed they cannot name the pest.  Most will recommend a specialist if they see evidence of pest.  Be sure to ask your home inspector if they will determine a pest infestation or other related problems.  If they won’t then proceed with another inspector.  This will save you from hiring another inspector that the general home buying inspection should determine the problem.
  1. Sewer inspection: In the Seattle area most of the homes were built around 1920-1950 and sewer tiles were used in those days.  Tree roots, settling and breakage are common for older lines and you can’t always tell by just flushing the toilets or running water for long periods of time.  You need a sewer scope to view the line to determine the quality and functionally of the line.  It is not uncommon to see rocks, dirt, foreign objects, breaks, negative flow or worn lines that needs fixing.  Just because the home you are purchasing is new construction does not mean that your line should not be scoped.  Many builders have tapped into old lines and you would never have knowledge of the condition if you did not scope it.  It is rare to have a plastic line broken but we have come across it from time to time.  For example:  I sold a 1970 home with plastic line and the buyer did not want to do a sewer inspection.  I convinced him to do one and we found out that the line was plugged at the 80 foot mark.   We asked the owner to rooter out the line and scope the rest.  They found out that the line was broken by a fence posted and it created the blockage.  That was a simple fix since it was only 2 feet down but it was still $3,000.   Sewer lines are expensive to fix so a $250 buying inspection is well worth the money.buying inspection
  1. Lead base paint inspection: Lead base paint has a toxic metal in the paint that may cause health problems, especially in children.  When it is absorbed into the body by the mouth or breathing it in, it can cause lead poisoning.  To keep this from happening it is best to keep all items in the home painted at all times.  When doing construction it is best to determine if lead base exist and precautions be made to contain the dust.  1978 is the magic year so if the property is older than 1978 it may have it.  Many buyers do not do a testing and it is disclosed to the buyer if it does exist.  Don’t rest on this disclosure and if you have kids and you’re buying a home before 1978 then just assume that the home has lead base paint.  You can get a disclosure from your agent or online from HUD to understand the risks.
  1. Asbestos inspection: Textured ceiling or popcorn ceilings were very popular in the 70’s and 80’s, not so much anymore. Buyers should be aware if they are going to remove the product they need to make sure that it does not contain asbestos.  Removal of textured ceilings that contains asbestos is very expensive and will need to be put into your budget.  If it is painted and you do not want to remove it, then no buying inspection is needed.  It is contained in the paint and there is no danger of being exposed.To inspect the ceiling you need to take a sampling of the texture, usually under a ceiling light or an area that will not be notice if it is removed and put it in a zip lock bag for lab testing.Buying_inspection (2)
  1. Soil engineer inspection: Seattle has many steep slopes and if the home you are purchasing is near a steep slope or on one, a soil engineer is highly recommended.  A general inspector might not see cracks in the foundation but land movement can occur at any time and your yard is just as important as the building.  For example: I personally put in an offer on a home that was near a steep slope and hired an engineer to examine the slope.  When he came up from the base of the slope, he showed pictures of an old brick fireplace half way down the slope and soil movement all over the hill.  Because I got this buying inspection, we opted out of the purchase since we found out the rest of the back yard might go too and saved ourselves from potentially making a very costly mistake.

There’s a lot of information to know when buying your home in Seattle, which buying inspection is right for you and a lot in general to look out for. Take your time and hire the right agent with experience to help guide you in making a smart investment. I’ve been in the Seattle Real Estate Industry for over 20 years and have gathered a lot of knowledge and would love the opportunity to help you!

Other information after you find the right buying inspection:

  1. 10 Top Tips to Find the Perfect Home
  2. 5 Ways to Make Your Solo Home Hunt a Success
  3. Search Seattle Home Listings: Phinney Ridge homes for sale, Green Lake homes for Sale & Fremont Homes for Sale

Wondering how to go about buying your home in Seattle WA?  It’s important you understand the home buying inspection options but also how to truly find the home that’s perfect for you by talking with an agent who has been working in the area for over 20 years.  The information above should be helpful in knowing more about buying inspections but if you haven’t hired a top real estate agent in Seattle WA yet to assist you with finding your home, contact me, and I’d love to discuss your real estate needs further!

Dave Hanson Home Team – Exceeding Expectations – 206.686.7525

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