Massachusetts home inspections

Purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make in your life. Before signing on the dotted line and committing to a property, it’s essential to have a professional home inspection performed. This will help identify any issues or defects with the home that could affect your decision or need to be addressed before moving in.

If you’re buying a home in Massachusetts, there are some important things to keep in mind regarding Massachusetts home inspections in the state. Here is an essential checklist to ensure you get the most out of your Massachusetts home inspection:

Choose a Licensed Home Inspector

In Massachusetts, home inspectors must be licensed by the state. There are two license types:

  • Home Inspector License – Can inspect all aspects of the property. This is the most comprehensive license.
  • Associate Home Inspector License – Can inspect structural and mechanical systems. Must work under a licensed home inspector.

When selecting a home inspector, make sure they have an active license in Massachusetts. You can verify this by checking the license lookup on the Division of Professional Licensure website.

Choosing a locally licensed inspector is important because they will be familiar with Massachusetts building codes and common issues in local homes. Their report will be tailored to these factors.

Look for an inspector with CMI (Certified Master Inspector) certification. This involves extensive training and testing to ensure advanced expertise.

Understand the Inspection Standards

Massachusetts requires home inspectors to follow the Standards of Practice laid out by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or other industry standards approved by the state.

The ASHI Standards define the scope of a home inspection in detail, including what aspects are examined (e.g. roof, plumbing, electric) and limitations of the inspection.

Make sure to read through these standards so you understand exactly what will be covered in your inspection report. The inspector should also walk you through the standards at the inspection.

Key aspects they must inspect include structural components, electrical, HVAC, insulation, plumbing, and the home’s exterior. The scope is quite comprehensive.

Interview Potential Inspectors Thoroughly

Don’t just choose the first home inspector you come across. Take the time to thoroughly interview at least three inspectors before deciding.

Important questions to ask:

  • How long have you been a licensed home inspector in Massachusetts? Look for 5+ years experience.
  • How many inspections have you completed in Massachusetts? Look for 200+ (full time inspectors typically complete 150-300 per year).
  • What does your inspection process involve? Do you use a checklist? What tools do you use? Look for a systematic, thorough process.
  • How long will the inspection take? Typically 2-3 hours or more for a single family home.
  • How soon after the inspection will I receive the report? 1-2 days is standard.
  • What is included in your inspection report? Look for 100+ page reports with photos and detailed descriptions.
  • Do you offer to do repairs or improvements based on the inspection? If yes, move on. Inspectors should only inspect.
  • Do you have references from past clients? Reputable inspectors should.

Don’t hesitate to contact their past clients to ask if they were satisfied with the inspection. Peer reviews are very telling.

Agree on an Inspection Timeframe

In Massachusetts home inspections are usually done after your offer is accepted but before closing. This allows time to address any major issues found.

Coordinate with the real estate agents to determine optimal timing. For example, too early in the process you may not have access, but too late you lose negotiation leverage.

Most buyers aim for 2-3 weeks before closing to leave enough time for repairs or credits based on inspection findings. But determine what works best for your specific transaction timeline.

Also keep in mind the home inspector’s schedule. Give them at least 5-7 days advance notice to get your inspection booked. Avoid delays by scheduling early.

Be Present for the Inspection

As the buyer, you should absolutely be present for the entire home inspection if possible. This allows you to:

  • Ask the inspector questions in real-time as they are assessing the property.
  • Point out any areas of concern you’ve noticed to ensure they look at them.
  • Learn more about the home and how its systems function.
  • Get a feel for the inspector’s thoroughness and attention to detail.

If attending in person, follow the inspector closely but give them space to work. Don’t interrupt constantly. Save questions for after each area is assessed.

If unable to attend, ask if the inspection can be live-streamed or recorded so you can watch remotely. Some inspectors offer this service.

Don’t Make Demands for What to Inspect

Let the home inspector lead the process and inspect based on the ASHI standards and their expertise. As the client, avoid demanding they inspect arbitrary things you fixate on. This detracts the inspector from their systematic process.

However, do point out existing areas of concern, such as a dark moisture spot or cracked foundation. Just don’t dictate what they should look at room by room. Trust their standards and methodology.

The inspector may miss some very minor issues just due to the limited time and scope of a normal inspection. But they should catch all major red flags.

Review the Inspection Report Thoroughly

The inspection report is even more important than the verbal feedback. Set aside adequate time to review the entire report (100+ pages) line by line.

Look for patterns of related issues as these may indicate larger underlying problems. Study the photos of concerning defects carefully.

If any sections are unclear or ambiguous, contact the inspector for clarification right away. It’s much easier to interpret issues while the inspection is still fresh in their mind.

Create a list of any aspects you want further clarification or details on. Also make a list of any recommended repairs or replacements noted. You’ll use these lists during purchase negotiations.

Get Price Estimates on Repairs

For any significant repairs recommended by your home inspector, get written price quotes from licensed contractors. This could include replacing the roof, updating electric, fixing structural damage, mold remediation, etc.

Provide the repair description and photos from your inspection report to ensure the contractor provides an accurate quote. Get quotes from at least 2-3 contractors per repair and take the average price.

Having repair estimates in writing gives you evidence to negotiate credits or ask the seller to make repairs. It also helps you budget for upcoming maintenance.

Negotiate Repairs or Price Adjustments

Now comes the potentially challenging task of using the inspection findings to negotiate. Some key tips:

  • Present inspection findings professionally, not accusing the seller of concealing issues. Keep emotions out of it.
  • Focus negotiations on major defects only. Smaller cosmetic issues are not worth battling over or asking credits for.
  • Know the difference between repairs you can legally demand and those you must simply negotiate kindly. Consult your agent.
  • If major issues are found, suggest getting a second opinion from another inspector at the seller’s expense before requesting repairs.
  • If the seller won’t repair certain issues, decide whether to walk away or get a credit to cover future repairs yourself.
  • Be prepared to compromise. Perfect homes rarely exist. Make sure defects warrant the effort to negotiate repairs.
  • Keep the goal of reaching an agreement and avoiding cancelling the deal. Work to compromise with the seller if possible.

With the right evidence and communication approach, many sellers will agree to reasonable repair requests or credits.

Hire Specialists for Further Inspection If Needed

For some issues found, a general home inspector may recommend consulting specialists for further evaluation. Examples include:

  • Structural engineer – For suspected foundation or structural problems.
  • Roofing contractor – For complex roofing issues.
  • Plumber – For in-depth investigation of piping or septic problems.
  • Electrician – If there are indications of outdated wiring or electrical issues.
  • Mold specialist – If they detect obvious signs of excessive moisture or mold problems.
  • Chimney sweep – For fireplace/chimney issues.

Don’t rely solely on the home inspector for areas requiring specialized expertise. Hire appropriate specialists to provide a more thorough analysis when needed.

Review Condo/HOA Documents Carefully

For condos, have your lawyer thoroughly review the condo association bylaws, finances, meeting minutes, etc. As a unit owner, you’ll be subject to condo rules and fees, so ensure you understand what you’re buying into.

For properties with homeowners associations (HOAs), verify HOA fees, bylaws, and current financial standing. Make sure the property meets HOA requirements.

Failing to review condo/HOA documents has left many buyers with costly surprises after purchasing. Avoid this by consulting a lawyer experienced in condo/HOA issues.

Consider Purchasing a Home Warranty

Many home inspection companies can arrange for you to purchase a home warranty policy for the property if the inspection reveals issues.

Having a home warranty can give you peace of mind by covering repairs for issues with systems like plumbing, electrical, HVAC, appliances, etc. Choose policy terms (1-5 years) wisely.

Just be aware home warranties have limitations on what’s covered. Most don’t cover cosmetic defects, normal maintenance, consequential damages, and pre-existing conditions, for example. Read policies closely.

Don’t Waive Your Inspection Contingency

In competitive markets, some buyers are tempted to make an offer waiving the standard inspection contingency to give their bid an advantage. This is extremely risky.

There is too much at stake – a home is most people’s largest investment. An inspection contingency offers important protection in case major undiscovered issues are found.

Reputable agents advise against waiving this important contingency that exists for good reason. Proceed with caution if considering this approach.

Hire an Inspector as a Consultant Later On

Your relationship with the home inspector doesn’t have to end when the inspection is over. Consider hiring them as a consultant during repairs, renovations, or when issues arise later on.

Since they already understand the property well, they can provide invaluable expertise as you maintain and improve the home over the years.

Many inspectors offer consulting services at an hourly rate or discounted day rate. Take advantage of their knowledge even after you purchase your home.

Finding the Right Home is a Process

If the inspection reveals major deal-breaking issues with a home, don’t get discouraged. Simply move on to the next property, armed with the knowledge you gained.

Quality issues are common with homes, and an inspection protects you from buying a lemon. Patience during the home search will pay off long-term.

With the right home inspector and process, you’ll feel confident purchasing a property knowing critical due diligence has been performed. Buying a home should be exciting, not nerve-wracking.

Carefully following this comprehensive inspection checklist will help ensure your dream home in Massachusetts doesn’t become a nightmare down the road. Partner with a talented local inspector and invest in this crucial process.

By Mohsin Ali

My name is Mohsin Ali. I Am admin of https://techkstory.com/ with 4 year experienece in this field. I am working also as a reseller and I have large number of high quality guest post websites available Email: techkstory.com@gmail.com

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