The reality is that a home inspection in New Jersey can save any homebuyer in the state thousands of dollars in repair costs.
Whether you’re considering buying your newly built New Jersey home or a home to be repaired, it’s important to always know what condition the home is in before you buy. The NJ real estate attorney at Curbelo Law has more than 10 years of experience in these types of real estate matters. Call today to schedule a private consultation.
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Everything You Need To Know About Home Inspections In New Jersey
While these inspections are optional, they are an important part of the home buying process.
- It is important to keep in mind that all inspectors are not equal in terms of skills and knowledge;
- The simple fact of carrying a state license does not guarantee that the inspection or the price will be the same;
- When it comes to buying an expensive home, a good, well-informed inspector is a must in the process.
Buying a house is a one-time deal, so you can’t “return it to the store” and get your money back. If you buy a house that needs a lot of repairs, you will have to keep it.
Home inspections should not be confused with a NJ home appraisal. On our website you have a detailed article dedicated to the subject.
What Is A Home Inspection?
A home inspection, as the name implies, is a visual inspection of the physical structure and major systems of a property. These are done by professional inspectors who thoroughly examine the interior and exterior of a home.
- Home inspectors typically examine the electrical, plumbing, HVAC systems, doors, windows, roofs, and other elements of the home.
- In addition, there are other types of inspections that are focused on looking for pests, asbestos, mold, and other potential health hazards.
Once the inspector has completed their evaluation, they will prepare a detailed report on recommended repairs and list any possible problems that may arise.
How Long Does It Take To Get The Home Inspection Report?
In most scenarios, the report is obtained the day after the inspection. This report is usually delivered by email, but a hard copy can also be sent to real estate attorneys.
How Much Does It Cost To Inspect A Home In New Jersey?
The costs of a home inspection in New Jersey can range from $300 to $500. However, this price depends on a few factors, such as the size of the home, its location, and the inspection provider.
According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of an inspection in the city of Trenton is approximately $430. Typically, for smaller homes (condos or townhomes) the cost of the inspection is usually between $200 and $400.
Basically, the bigger a house is, the more the home inspector has to check, so the cost will be higher.
Who Pays For A Home Inspection?
Generally, the home buyer will pay for the inspection, although this may be negotiable with the seller. When an offer is made on the home, the buyer can ask the seller to pay the inspection fees.
On certain occasions, sellers conduct their own home inspections to determine any type of problem before listing the property for sale. This process also helps sellers determine the selling price of a home.
Interested in selling property in the Garden State? Check our article on selling a house in New Jersey.
How Is The Inspection Paid?
The inspection agreement will document the cost of the evaluation. Full payment is expected upon completion of inspection. The inspector generally accepts cash, check, or money order for payment.
What Is Included In A New Jersey Home Inspection?
Not all home inspections are the same, some will require a specialist for the type of inspection to be performed. However, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), a certified home inspector’s report includes the following:
- Electric system.
- Heating system.
- Central air conditioning system.
- Internal plumbing.
- Attic and visible insulation.
- Structural components.
Although this is what inspectors usually cover, there may be certain exceptions. If there are specific areas in the home that the inspector believes are unsafe (such as a steep roof or inaccessible places), the inspectors will note in their report that they were unable to assess that area.
Based on the inspection performed, a home inspector may suggest additional inspections for the property owner to follow up on.
What Other Elements Do New Jersey Home Inspectors Look For?
Radon testing and oil tank sweeping may not be included in a standard home inspection. These are potential environmental hazards that should be investigated before purchasing a home.
- Radon: Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. According to a statement from the New Jersey Department of Health, one in six homes in the Garden State has elevated radon levels. If a home inspection doesn’t include a radon test, it’s worth paying for one.
- Oil Tank Sweep: Underground heating oil tanks can leak. If they do, they can contaminate soil and groundwater. Oil tank sweeps are checks to see if a heating oil tank is buried on the property.
Home inspectors are trained to spot problems with homes, but there are things they can’t see. This is where additional inspections come in to discover others related to:
- Structural problems.
- Chimney problems.
- Lead-based paint.
- Sewer or septic.
- Radon and asbestos.
Who Attends A Home Inspection In New Jersey?
Although not required, it is recommended that prospective home buyers and their real estate consultant be present during the home inspection. The seller and their real estate agent can also participate in the inspection.
Does New Jersey Require Home Inspectors To Be Licensed?
The New Jersey Home Inspection Professional Licensing Law requires all home inspectors to be licensed. To get a license, inspectors must:
- Complete high school or its equivalent.
- Serve as an authorized associate inspector for a minimum of 1 year.
- Carry out at least 250 inspections.
- Have $500,000 in insurance.
- Pass the National Home Inspector Examination (NHIE).
Home inspectors do not need to be ASHI members to take their exam. Additionally, the law states that if inspectors fail to disclose property problems or accept payment from another party to the transaction, they can lose their license.
What Modifications Are Required After A Home Inspection In NJ?
Legally, there is no mandatory solution after a home inspection. However, inspections can reveal any type of problems in the house, this could require some necessary repairs to make the house habitable and safe.
Buyers should generally request fixes that address the following hazards on the property:
- Trip hazards
- Pest or wildlife infestation.
- Substantial structural hazards.
- Building code violations.
- Mold or water damage.
- Toxic or chemical risks.
- Risk of fire or electrocution.
Cosmetic repairs and wear are not required and are not the responsibility of the seller. It should be noted that there is a difference between the repairs requested by a buyer and those required by a lender or insurance company to underwrite a mortgage.
In some cases, you may be denied financing or insurance if the bank is not satisfied with the results of an inspection. If this is the case, certain solutions may be mandatory for the buyer to obtain some type of mortgage loan in NJ.
You can learn more about this in our blog post on mortgage loans denied at closing.
What Are The 5 Key Elements That Are Inspected In A Home Inspection?
There are 5 key elements that top the list of importance to a property inspector. These are the following:
The base of a house must be able to support the entire structure. However, base problems can be really costly for buyers. In this regard, inspectors typically walk the perimeter of the home looking for cracks, sags, or settlement issues.
The following should be considered in this process:
- If there is a crawl space, you will get a check for moisture, warping, and mold that could affect the wood supports.
- If the base was previously repaired, the inspector will verify the workmanship performed.
Water seepage is probably one of the biggest concerns as it can lead to foundation settling which, if found in a tight space, can lead to decay, gray mold, termites or rot.
Average foundation repair costs vary widely, depending on the severity of the problem. Typically, the average cost is around $4,500, but there may be cases where it is as high as $15,000.
The quality and performance of the roof is extremely important as it can make or break a business. Most inspectors will go up on the roof to do a visual inspection, but others may assess the roof from a ladder or high ground.
Depending on weather conditions, inspectors may be required to use binoculars and inspect the roof from the ground.
Inspectors look for damaged or missing shingles, moss growth, gutters, and other factors.
The average cost of this roof inspection is usually between $150 and $1,500, while a replacement could cost between $6,000 and $12,000.
3. Electrical System
Electrical problems can pose a serious risk to the safety of individuals. Actually, electrical systems are known to be the third leading cause of home fires. Therefore, overlooked electrical problems can be dangerous and deadly to those in the home.
During the inspection, the electrical panels will be evaluated to ensure that everything meets safety standards. Switches and receptacles must work properly, plus outlets must be grounded.
This inspection cost can range from $150 to $500. If the problem is serious, like replacing an electrical panel or rewiring the entire house, the price can be $1,200, $2,000 or more.
If plumbing leaks are not treated, water problems will have a ripple effect and can lead to other problems in the home. If this problem is not addressed, it will generate an even higher cost in its entirety.
Home inspections include:
Inspectors will look for leaks, corrosion, or cracks in the pipes. Additionally, they will also examine walls, floors, and ceilings for moisture, cross-connections, or contamination issues.
The costs of plumbing repair and water damage add up quickly. If there are plumbing problems, the costs to repair them are likely to be restoration, drying, mold removal, labor, and material replacement fees.
These costs can be between $1,000 and $5,000 but sometimes the cost can be much higher.
5. Air Conditioning System
Keep in mind that a home inspection doesn’t cover all the details, so if an older HVAC unit is suspected and a more detailed examination is required, a more in-depth evaluation may be done by an HVAC provider.
Typically, one of the first actions an inspector takes during the assessment is to turn on the heat and air conditioning to ensure that both are working as well as possible. Additionally, they will also analyze the thermostat.
Costs vary by system. Furnace repairs can range from $130 to $1,200, while replacement can be $6,000 or more. Air conditioner repairs typically run between $200 and $500, but replacement can cost anywhere from $3,300 to $12,500.
What The Inspection Does Not Cover
The home inspection in New Jersey evaluates more than the previous 5 points listed. However, it does not cover other elements such as:
- Home value.
- Any area that is blocked or inaccessible.
- Wells or septic systems.
- Areas behind wall cavities.
- Paint, wallpaper and furniture.
- Local code compliance.
How To Get A Home Inspection In New Jersey?
Finding a qualified inspector in New Jersey is extremely important. You have a few options to find one, whether it’s ASHI, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), or the New Jersey Association of Licensed Professional Home Inspectors (NJ-ALPHI).
In New Jersey, certified inspectors can also be found at the following companies:
- NJ Best Home Inspections. Serves all counties in the Garden State, including Union, Monmouth, Middlesex, Somerset and Ocean counties.
- Arch Inspections, LL. Serving Hudson, Monmouth, Morris, Sussex, Passaic, Essex, and Bergen counties.
- Dobbins Home Inspection. Serves all of South Jersey, including Deptford, Williamstown, and Washington Townships.
Tips For Choosing A Good Home Inspector
Here are some tips for finding a good property inspector:
- Find it through word of mouth. Sometimes friends may have a home inspection report that they can share with you to learn the details and quality of the report.
- Look it up through an association of home inspectors. Inspectors belonging to one or more of these organizations are usually well-trained inspectors familiar with the latest methods and equipment to conduct a successful inspection.
- Search for it on websites. All home inspectors are listed on the website of different associations. After you have selected one or two inspectors, you can check if the inspector has a website.
- Home inspector license and insurance. All inspectors in New Jersey must be licensed and carry insurance of at least half a million dollars.
- Interview the inspector by phone. Calling the inspector on the phone is a good indication that the inspection company is a full-time business. If your call is answered by the answering machine, it is recommended to wait for a response within 1 hour.
- Do not choose inspectors based on their price. This is usually a common mistake that most home buyers make. An inspector who charges less may not perform a detailed or complete inspection of the property.
- Find a home inspector instead of a professional engineer. For an inspection, a specialist trained in recognizing the deficit that the home has is necessary. In other words, an inspector is a specialist in finding problems, repairs and security risks present in the home.
- Consult with the real estate agent. A good tip for finding an inspector is to check with your real estate agent. In the vast majority of scenarios, the inspector recommended by a real estate agent will be a “good inspector.”
New Jersey Home Inspection FAQs
Professional home inspections typically take 2-3 hours. However, it all depends on the size of the home, how thorough the inspector is, and how many defects are found on the property.
The costs of a property inspection can vary for many reasons, such as the square footage of the home, the location, the inspector, and more. It is recommended to check with several certified home inspectors in the area to compare their quotes for the best possible price.
Yes, home buyers can back out if they have a home inspection contingency clause in a real estate contract. Through this, the offer of the property can be made dependent on the results of the inspection. If serious problems are discovered, buyers may have the option to back out or negotiate repairs with the seller.
If the roof is covered in snow on the day of the inspection, depending on the inspectors, they may inspect the roof covering when returning to the property to test for radon. If it is still snowy when they return, the inspector can come back another day at the owner’s request.
Yes, in most cases a septic, pool, lead paint and other additional inspections can be requested.
Law Firm In New Jersey To Ensure Your Rights And Your Future Home Are Protected
A home inspection can turn out to be your best resource or turn out to be your biggest regret. This process is a critical step that should provide you with the necessary peace of mind to proceed to the closing process without further concern.
Inspections can expose any illegal additions or installations in the home. If so, you could face property tax problems and insurance problems. Buying a home is a big investment, and an inspector can help you understand if it’s a stable investment.
Before you get into a home inspection in New Jersey, contact our real estate attorneys to make sure your rights and future in your home are protected. Our New Jersey law firm has over 10 years of experience in all types of real estate matters.