Getting an Inspection
This is the time when the home will be evaluated to make sure it meets minimum health and safety standards so that both buyer and seller have a clear understanding of the condition of the home at transfer.
Though no home is perfect, an inspection helps to eliminate surprises for all parties after the closing and ensures that the home meets city requirements. An experienced, outside professional is worth every penny. And you may want to add a home warranty to cover appliances and systems that could break down up to a year after you close.
Let’s look at three different kinds of inspections
A point-of-sale inspection is required
to be performed before listing a home by some local municipalities. This inspection provides prospective buyers with information about the condition of the house and garage, and also helps to eliminate any health and safety concerns.
A seller’s pre-inspection can expose hiddenflaws in a property before it goes on the market.
A pre-inspection will give the seller a chance to fix anyissues that may deter buyers. While this will not likely prevent a buyer from performing their own inspection, it may go a long way towards assuring the buyer of the property’s overall condition.
A buyer’s inspection is performed after an offer has been accepted on a property. The purchase of a home is often emotional and a buyer’s inspection will give insight into problems before the purchase has been completed.
A buyer’s inspection is optional to the purchase agreement but it does protect both buyers and sellers by recording the condition of the property at the time of transfer. The buyer can also require that the acceptance of a purchase agreement be contingent upon a completed inspection.
- Before buying a home, it’s important to get a home inspection that can help identify any potential damages or defects.
- Your home inspector should be thorough and neutral, so be sure to interview or check references before hiring a home inspector.
- A long inspection report doesn’t necessarily mean you should ditch the sale. By reading the inspection report carefully, you can determine if you should proceed with your home purchase.
If you buy a home without having it inspected by a professional, you may end up owning a property with a lot of necessary repairs. While small issues may not be a reason to nix the home sale, major defects can affect your decision to buy or can help you make a more reasonable offer.
To ensure you don’t overpay for a home or buy one that has insurmountable projects and repairs, follow these home inspection insights.
How to hire the right inspector
When hiring an inspector, make sure you find one who is reputable and experienced. Your REALTOR® can recommend someone they trust, but it’s also smart to interview potential inspectors.
Before hiring, be sure to ask specific questions about their work and experience and review sample home inspection reports they provide to ensure they are thorough. You may also want to ask for past client references.
18 specific questions to ask a home inspector before hiring them
What to expect and what to avoid during the inspection
A normal inspection typically lasts between two to three hours, and since you're paying for them to visit, be sure to ask any questions you may have regarding common maintenance or issues. If you can’t be there for the entire inspection, be sure to be home for the very end so you can get a high-level report of their initial findings.
The inspector will review a property's key exterior components, including the house's roof, garage and foundation. In doing so, they are looking for defects and failures — missing shingles or cracks in gutters could result in roof damage, while an unsettled or shifting foundation could mean an expensive repair is in your future.
Inside, the inspector will check important systems that are costly to repair and replace. If your soon-to-be home has leaks or problems with water pressure, it likely has something to do with the plumbing. Wiring can also be expensive to fix if installed incorrectly. The inspector will also look for issues regarding fire safety and ventilation and test appliances throughout the home.
Making sense of the inspection findings
After the inspection is complete, you’ll receive a detailed home inspection report that can be between 20-50 pages total.
A longer report doesn’t necessarily mean the house you’ve selected is a money pit; it could be an indicator of a thorough inspector who has identified many smaller issues that you can use as leverage for your negotiation.
Review the report in full with your Realtor and determine how to proceed. If the inspection has identified many issues, you may decide that the home has too many issues to fix or you can ask for a price reduction as compensation for future fixes is common.
Remember, you also have the option to walk away from the property if the seller is unwilling to drop their price or pay for repairs.
Your inspector is a neutral partner
In addition to their inspection report, some inspectors may offer to share an estimated cost of necessary repairs. This can be extraordinarily helpful as you make your home purchase decision — after all, you don’t know how much a few broken roof tiles will cost.
Keep in mind, however, that you want to avoid working with an inspector who offers to do the work themselves or who recommend contractors you should use.
Think of an inspector like an impartial mediator. They should have no stake in your home purchase or in the ensuing repairs you may take on as a result of their work.