So you’ve found your dream home in Maine and you’re ready to make an offer! Exciting times ahead. Before signing on the dotted line, it’s critical that you get a home inspection to evaluate the condition of the home and uncover any issues.
As a homebuyer in Maine, here’s what you need to know about home inspections to make the process smooth sailing.
Why Get a Home Inspectors ?
I know, I know. Home Inspectorsfeel like just another box to check off on the lengthy homebuying to-do list. But trust me, this is one task you don’t want to skip.
A professional home Inspectors Maine gives you an unbiased, comprehensive analysis of the home’s condition. An inspector will comb through the property and identify any structural, electrical, plumbing, or other defects. This gives you a much clearer picture of what you’re buying and any repairs needed.
Without an inspection, you could get saddled with expensive surprises down the road. Things like faulty wiring, water damage, or roof leaks can end up costing you thousands in repair bills. It’s better to know about these issues upfront before purchase.
Bottom line: home inspections help you make a smarter, more informed decision on a major investment. Don’t skip this crucial step.
What Does a Home Inspector Check?
When you hire a home inspector, what exactly will they look at?
A home inspection is a top-to-bottom examination of both the interior and exterior of the home. Here are some of the major features and systems an inspector will evaluate:
- Structural foundation: The inspector will examine the foundation walls and look for cracks or evidence of settling. Basements and crawl spaces will also be evaluated for water intrusion or dampness.
- Roof: The age, condition, and remaining useful life of the roof will be assessed. The inspector will look for damaged shingles, improper drainage, and any indications of leaking.
- Electrical system: This includes the main electrical panel, wiring, outlets, and fixtures. The system will be checked for proper working order and safety.
- Heating and cooling: The furnace, air conditioner, and other HVAC systems will be examined to evaluate functionality and energy efficiency. Ductwork will also be inspected.
- Plumbing: All water and drainage pipes, toilets, faucets, water heaters, and other plumbing components will be inspected for leaks, corrosion, clogs, and other defects.
- Major appliances: Built-in appliances like stoves, refrigerators, and dishwashers will be tested to confirm they are operational.
- Ventilation/insulation: Attics, walls, and crawl spaces will be checked for proper ventilation and adequate insulation.
- Interior rooms: The inspector will evaluate ceilings, walls, floors, windows, doors, and staircases in each room. Cosmetic flaws will also be noted.
A good inspector will thoroughly evaluate all of these areas and systems – and more. You’ll receive a detailed inspection report outlining any issues discovered.
What to Look for in a Maine Home Inspector
Not all home inspectors are created equal. Hiring a qualified professional is key to getting a thorough, high-quality inspection.
Here are the top traits to look for when selecting a Maine home inspector:
In Maine, home inspectors are required to hold a state license to operate. Confirm your inspector has an active license in good standing with the state. This ensures they have the training and expertise needed.
You can look up inspectors on the Maine Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services website.
Choose an inspector with considerable experience conducting inspections specifically in Maine. They’ll be familiar with state building codes and common regional issues that an inspector from out of state may miss.
Ideally, look for an inspector with 5-10+ years of experience and hundreds of completed inspections under their belt. Check online reviews to get a sense of their track record.
Many quality inspectors belong to the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI). These professionals have passed rigorous exams on all home systems. NACHI membership indicates advanced training and continuing education.
Ask potential inspectors if you can review a sample home inspection report from a previous client. This gives you a preview of the inspector’s reporting format, level of detail, and professionalism.
References from past clients can tell you a lot about an inspector’s quality of work, responsiveness, and communication skills. Reach out to a few references to hear about their experience.
Taking the time to vet inspectors will pay off with a detailed, high-quality inspection.
What to Expect During a Maine Home Inspection
Wondering how a home inspection will actually go? Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect.
- Pre-inspection meeting: The inspector will typically connect with you prior to the inspection to introduce themselves, outline the process, and ask if there are any special areas of concern. Take this opportunity to voice any issues you want the inspector to pay close attention to.
- Walkthrough inspection: The inspection itself takes 2-3 hours on average for a typical single family home. The inspector will start outside and work their way through the entire home methodically, room by room. Expect them to be taking lots of notes and photos along the way.
- Systems testing: As they go, the inspector will turn on faucets, flush toilets, run the furnace, check receptacles, and test appliances like the dishwasher. This confirms that systems and fixtures are in proper working order. Don’t be alarmed by some strange noises or machine starts up.
- Questions welcome: The inspector is there to answer your questions too! Feel free to ask about anything you see them examining more closely. This is a great learning opportunity.
- Written report: Within 24-48 hours after the inspection, you’ll receive a detailed written report summarizing the inspector’s findings, along with supporting photos. The report will outline both minor and major defects.
While inspectors have an eye for detail, don’t expect them to find every minor flaw. Their job is to identify major defects or safety issues that require repair.
Overall, the inspector is your partner, not the home police! Their goal is to empower you with the information needed to make an informed decision.
Common Problems Found in Maine Home Inspections
Home defects uncovered during inspections range from minor cosmetic issues to major problems. Some of the most common flaws found in Maine homes include:
- Moisture intrusion: Wet basements, leaky roofs, and poor drainage often plague Maine properties. Be on the lookout for signs of water damage, mold, or rotting.
- Rodents: Mice, squirrels, and other unwelcome critters have been known to invade Maine homes. Inspectors will check for evidence like droppings or chew marks.
- Old/faulty wiring: Outdated electrical systems from the 60s/70s may need upgrading to meet modern safety codes and power demands.
- HVAC issues: Heating and cooling equipment tends to wear out over time in Maine’s extreme winters and summers. Units may need service or replacement.
- Asbestos/lead: These hazardous materials were commonly used in older construction. Inspectors test for their presence. Special remediation is required if found.
- Septic problems: With many Maine homes on septic systems, issues like broken pipes or drain field failures are prevalent.
- Chimney defects: Creosote buildup, damage, and improper installation are frequently uncovered with fireplace chimneys.
While most homes have at least a few defects, a good inspector will keep you fully informed so you can address problems proactively.
What if Major Issues Are Found?
Let’s say your inspector discovers some more significant issues, like structural cracks or an antiquated electrical system. What should you do?
First, try not to panic! There are still options. Here are a few:
- Renegotiate with the seller: You can request that the seller make the necessary repairs after inspection. Most purchase contracts have an inspection contingency allowing you to renegotiate in good faith.
- Price adjustment: If the seller won’t make repairs, negotiate a price reduction to offset the cost of future repairs.
- Walk away: If extremely costly repairs are uncovered, you can walk away from the deal altogether before closing. Your earnest money is returned.
- Get contractor estimates: For complex or expensive issues found, consult with contractors to get accurate repair estimates. This puts you in a better negotiating position.
While major issues can be concerning, a thorough inspection prevents you from buying a lemon. You’re better off knowing about problems upfront when you still have options.
Don’t Skip the Home Inspection!
As an excited homebuyer, it’s tempting to rush through all the pre-purchase steps. But cutting corners by skipping the home inspection could cost you big time in untreated defects, safety hazards, and expensive repairs.
Protect your valuable investment by hiring a professional, licensed home inspector to fully assess the property before purchase. Look for an experienced inspector who will provide a detailed, honest report.
While the inspection may reveal some flaws, this simply allows you to negotiate repairs or pricing. Think of it as your inside look under the hood before buying a used car!
Let me know if you have any other home inspection questions! I’m happy to offer more Maine home buying tips.