Home Inspection Boston
Buying a home in Boston can be a difficult process and part of purchasing a home is learning about the home-buying process. For many, it starts innocently enough with finding a home that interested you. Before you know it, you are making offers and fully involved in the home-buying process. Buying a home in Boston can be different from other areas for several reasons. Just understanding the various suburbs of Boston can be difficult and understanding the differences in markets, values, and nuances of those areas can be very complicated. Choosing an experienced real estate agent is an extremely important part of the process because a qualified agent will be an expert in the market you are looking in and take all of these complications off of your plate.
Most people end up with an accepted offer to purchase a home, prior to really having much of a plan for their transaction, and are forced to scramble to find a home inspector in Boston on short notice. Others reach out to various home inspectors prior to starting their home search to ensure they have a fully qualified home inspector in the Boston area ready in case they should find their dream home. Regardless of your plan for finding a home inspector in Boston, this article is intended to help you understand more about how the home inspection process works.
The Boston area has a wide variety of homes. With different types of homes, come different types of home inspections. The reality is not all properties are inspected the same way and if you get a home inspection in Boston it will differ significantly based on who completes your inspection and what type of access they have. First, let’s talk about commonalities for all home inspections regardless of property type.
A home inspector is a generalist and like your primary care physician, they are screening for obvious issues. When problems arise, they refer you to a specialist who is an expert in that specific issue. A home inspector will not test or diagnose any part of the home exhaustively. They are trained to identify obvious issues. They are also going to look at only readily accessible areas of the home, and its system(s) and their inspection are visual in nature. So, what does this mean for a home inspection? It means if you have a heating system that is 30+ years old and in visibly bad condition, he is going to call it out. It also means if you have a newer heating system with a crack in the heat exchanger that is only identifiable by taking the system apart, he will not be able to identify that. This is important to understand because a home inspector does not find every problem and they are also limited by access to the property at the time. Locked areas or areas completely inaccessible due to clutter will not be inspected, even if they are areas typically within the scope of a home inspection in Boston.
Home inspections in general should be within the regulations for a home inspector in Massachusetts. While the standards of practice may not apply to all types of buildings in Massachusetts, you should consider reviewing them for a better understanding of what a home inspection should be. You can find them at https://www.mass.gov/lists/statutes-and-regulations-home-inspectors.
Home inspections in Boston can vary based on the property type. A condo inspection is a great example of this. A condo inspection in Boston could occur in a large building, where the roof, boiler room, and electrical room may all be restricted, which means the home inspector may not be allowed in these areas. Condos in large buildings are typically limited to the inside of the condo itself. Some home inspectors may try to inspect other areas of the building as a courtesy, but even those areas are typically only partially inspected and are not under the control of the potential buyer. A condo in a smaller home can be very different on the other hand. There are many homes with 2-4 families in the Boston area. They range in construction type for how the units are divided and where utilities are located if utility areas are present. This is an important distinction because many condos in Boston are in old homes, homes where they are traditionally configured with utility basements and attic areas. A home inspector who inspects the unit only in a building like this may be providing a significantly different service than a home inspector who includes the additional areas. While the basement, exterior, and attic in old buildings may not be a required part of the inspection, this is typically where all the problems are, and hiring a Boston home inspector who at least notes issues in these areas as a courtesy can give you significantly more information. I find condo-type property inspections vary in quality more than other types of inspections. Some home inspectors will also inspect common areas only for the condo association to help them understand and prioritize maintenance for the association in general.
Another home inspection in Boston that is typical is the inspection of a single-family home. A Boston home inspector will typically follow the standards of practice for an inspection of a single-family home. This makes this type of inspection a little more standardized, although one thing to consider is the age of the home. A home that is significantly aged presents several challenges during its inspection. There are typically a significant number of problems with old homes and many of them may not be unusual. When selecting a Boston home inspector, you should consider experience with old homes because part of their job is helping you understand not only what problems are present, but which ones are alarming or unusual. Buying an old home in Boston should start with talking to a home inspector in Boston first to understand what to expect.
Renovated or new homes are yet another type of inspection that present entirely different challenges. The first challenge is to fully understand the distinction between the two. I have inspected many homes being sold as new homes where some part of the original structure exists. This may impact things like the usefulness of the structure, as an old fieldstone foundation performs nothing like a new foundation. Understanding this helps to prevent unexpected issues with the home and a home inspector will help identify these for you. Another factor is understanding that more inspection options exist for new and newly renovated homes. Many Boston home inspectors offer different services on this type of home beyond a buyer’s inspection. Pre-drywall inspections are a great thing to consider because you can look at the structure, electrical, insulation, plumbing, and various other components before they are covered by drywall, which makes them inaccessible. Additionally, newly constructed homes often have 1-year warranties, and having a follow-up inspection at about the 11-month mark is a great idea in case an issue arises within the 1-year of owning the home. Not all issues are immediately visible so allowing some time for them to develop allows more issues to be identified. If you are buying a new home, talking to a Boston home inspector first is a very smart thing to do.
There are more nuances, such as commercial properties and other special circumstances, but for the purpose of this article, we will not exhaust every situation. The best practice when starting your home buying process is to talk to a Boston home inspector first prior to getting emotionally attached to a potential purchase. If you already started the process, the earlier the better. We offer pre-shopping consultations to help you understand more about what to consider and what to look for in a new home. There are many home inspectors in Boston, but we strive to provide the best experience possible and will also help suggest other Boston home inspectors if we are not available.