Buying a home is likely one of the biggest financial investments you’ll make in your life. While the process can be exciting, it can also be stressful trying to find the perfect home for you and your family. An important step that is often overlooked by homebuyers is getting a home inspection before finalizing the purchase. Hiring one of the best home inspectors in Los Angeles to thoroughly inspect the property beforehand can save you thousands of dollars down the road.
What Does a Home Inspector Do?
A home inspector is a licensed professional who will visually examine both the interior and exterior of the home you want to buy. They check that the home’s systems and structures are in good working order and identify any issues or defects. Some things they typically inspect include:
- Roof, chimney, gutters
- Walls, floors, ceilings, foundations
- Electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems
- Kitchen and bathroom fixtures
- Basement, crawlspace, attic
- Doors, windows, insulation
- Garage, porch, deck
A good home inspector will test everything major and take detailed notes. Once the 2-3 hour inspection is complete, you will receive a comprehensive written report outlining any urgent or smaller repairs needed, along with photos and recommendations.
Why You Need a Home Inspection
Many people waive the home inspection contingency when buying a home in the hot Los Angeles real estate market. This is a risky move, as you could be stuck with expensive repairs or safety issues down the line. A home inspection acts as a crucial safety net. Here are some key reasons you should get one.
Uncover hidden defects. A visual inspection by a professional will uncover issues that are not obvious to the naked eye or hidden by furniture and decor. Things like leaks, cracked foundations, faulty wiring, and black mold can go undetected without an inspection.
Learn about repairs needed. The report will outline both minor and major repairs the home needs. While you likely won’t cancel a purchase over a few minor things, you can use the list to negotiate credits or repairs from the seller.
Identify safety hazards. Serious safety issues with the roof, stairs, fire hazards, carbon monoxide risks, and other dangers can be identified and fixed before you move in. This prevents injuries and fatalities.
Avoid expensive surprises. Finding issues like roof damage, foundation cracks, or inadequate electrical capacity after you buy the home can cost big money to repair. Inspection reports provide all the details upfront so there are no nasty surprises down the road.
Learn about the home’s systems. You’ll get valuable information about the condition of the home’s plumbing, electric, HVAC, and other systems. The report provides transparency on what may need to be replaced or upgraded soon.
Understand maintenance needs. Home inspectors note the maintenance that should be performed regularly to keep the home in good shape. This helps you budget and plan.
Red Flags to Watch Out For
While most home inspectors have your best interest in mind, there are some red flags to watch out for as you evaluate inspectors:
- No licensing or credentials
- Limited experience as an inspector
- Offers other services like repairs—a conflict of interest
- Vague inspection reports or no supporting photos
- Rush inspections under an hour
- Won’t do follow-up inspections of problem areas
- Difficult to reach afterward or unresponsive
- Relies heavily on disclaimers or limits liability
Avoid inspectors that demonstrate these tendencies, which can indicate inexperience or a lack of thoroughness. Your goal is a comprehensive inspection by a knowledgeable professional.
Estimated Cost of Home Inspections in LA
Home inspection costs vary depending on the size of the home, additional testing, and supplemental services. The average cost of a standard home inspection in Los Angeles ranges from $300-$500+ for most single family homes. High-end luxury homes can run slightly higher. Additional fees could include:
- Mold inspection – $150-$300
- Radon gas test – $150-$250
- Pools and spas – $50-$150
- Septic tank inspection – $150-$300
Be wary of inspectors offering inspections well below the average price for your market. Inspections that are too quick or cheap may not be thorough. Instead of trying to get the cheapest option, focus on an experienced inspector who will provide maximum value and detail. Use online reviews to find the best home inspectors in Los Angeles willing to take the time needed to thoroughly inspect your future home.
How to Prepare for the Home Inspection
You don’t have to do too much to prepare for a home inspection, but here are some tips:
- Have the utilities turned on, especially electricity and water. Systems can’t be tested without power.
- Cut back bushes or clear debris from the exterior. Inspectors need full access to the outside.
- Unpack boxes to allow the inspector access to electrical outlets, windows, and doors.
- Remove personal belongings from key areas like the attic, basement, crawlspaces, and garages so the inspector can access these spaces.
- Have any testing reports handy, like termite or septic tank inspection reports.
- Inform the sellers an inspection is scheduled so they don’t restrict the inspector’s access.
- Plan to be onsite during the inspection to learn about your new home.
You don’t have to do heavy cleaning or maintenance prior to the inspection. The inspector’s job is to assess the current condition—not the superficial tidiness. Leave cabinet doors open and let the inspector access all areas.
Attending the Home Inspection
As the buyer, you should absolutely attend the home inspection if at all possible. This allows you to:
- Get real-time explanations for issues noted
- Ask the inspector questions as they come up
- Point out areas of concern to the inspector
- Hear about maintenance needs and next steps
If attending in person is difficult, ask if you can join via video call. Some key pointers for the inspection:
- Let the inspector lead and don’t get in the way. Their job requires concentration.
- Take notes on the condition of areas, the location of issues, and inspector recommendations.
- Ask about the purpose of systems, how to operate appliances, location of shut-offs, and general home maintenance.
- Point out anything concerning like stains or cracks and get the inspector’s assessment.
- Discuss bid repair costs and next steps for anything needing immediate repair.
Inspectors appreciate engaged buyers at inspections. Take advantage of having an expert advising you about one of the biggest purchases of your life.
What’s Next After the Inspection Report
Once the inspector completes the on-site visual inspection, they will compile their detailed notes, supporting photos, and documentation into an official report. You should receive this via email within 24-48 hours of the inspection. The report will call out items needing repair, further evaluation, monitoring, or replacement.
As the buyer, carefully review the inspection report and any issues raised:
- Create a list of repairs and get bids from contractors. Understand the costs to negotiate credits or repairs from sellers.
- Ask sellers to fix serious safety issues or negotiate a credit. No home will be perfect but pushing for fixes shows good faith.
- Resolve any uncertainties about issues through a re-inspection or expert assessment.
- Determine which projects are DIY fixes you can handle and budget for contractors.
- Prioritize critical repairs needed right away vs. longer term maintenance.
- Use the maintenance tips provided to proactively care for your home’s systems. A stitch in time saves nine!
While home inspections might create more upfront work, they prevent much larger headaches after purchasing the home. You’ll gain invaluable insights into your home’s condition to make an informed purchase.
Why You Need a Qualified LA Home Inspector
As you navigate the home buying process, don’t let the inspection be an afterthought. Finding one of the best home inspectors in Los Angeles for your property gives you added assurance and protection. A thorough inspection by an experienced professional inspector protects your investment and provides peace of mind.
Rather than waste money on repairs and hazards down the road, invest in a quality inspection upfront. Look for an experienced LA home inspector willing to take the time needed to thoroughly assess the property. They have the expertise to identify issues that untrained eyes would miss.
A comprehensive inspection report arms you with knowledge to make the best decision about your most important investment. Why take a gamble on the safety and condition of your new home? Protect your family and your financial future by partnering with one of the leading home inspection services in Los Angeles. They have the depth of expertise, technology, and reporting to provide maximum value.
The best home inspectors in Los Angeles thoroughly cover all the critical systems, structures, and components that matter most to homebuyers. Take advantage of their years of experience serving the Los Angeles real estate market. They will ensure you avoid purchasing a “money pit” filled with hidden defects.
Don’t let surprises lurk behind the walls or under the floors of your home. The most prudent LA homebuyers consult qualified home inspection professionals first. They know the cost is insignificant compared to the value gained from an inspection.