The idea of a home inspection can be stressful for both buyers and sellers. For home sellers, the thought of having a stranger walk into their home and look inside every nook and cranny of their personal space can be quite invasive. For hours they’ll open the closets, crawl through belongings, turn on and off appliances, play with faucets, walk all over the roof, and in short inspect every inch, top to bottom, of the home. On the other end, there’s the buyer. They have found their perfect home and now this same stranger is going to point out every issue of the house as if they’re going to rain on their parade. However, if you prepare yourself for a home inspection, whether you’re the buyer or seller, you’ll see that it’s not that bad.
The Home Inspection – How It Works
Almost all purchase contracts include a home inspection contingency clause. This clause allows the buyer to hire a professional inspector of their choice to evaluate the property. It takes place pretty quickly after signing the contract.
The buyer should seek out a licensed home inspector and preferably one who is a member of the American Society of Home Inspection (ASHI), the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI), or a similar state organization. As members, they’ll have to adhere to strict standards of practice and participate in ongoing education. They should also be experienced, be able to provide sample reports from previous inspections showcasing that their reports are not only detailed and comprehensive, but clear and easily interpreted. The price of a typical home inspection for a median size home is $300 to $400, but this number could also vary greatly based on home size, inspector experience, etc…
Next, once the buyer hires an inspector, an appointment will be set with the seller. Then the day of the inspection, the buyer and inspector will arrive to check the home’s structural and mechanical conditions as well as test the property for radon gas, wood destroying insects, and perform other services requested by the buyer.
The inspector will evaluate the foundation, framing, roofing, site, drainage, attic, plumbing, heating, electrical system, fireplaces, chimneys, pavement, fences, stairs, deck, patios, doors, windows, walls, ceilings, floors, built-in appliances, and other fixtures and components. The inspection lasts about two to three hours.
Why is it recommended?
Every home, regardless of size and age will have some defects. Some are obvious and others are not. Since the average homebuyer spends about 15 minutes to an hour walking through a home prior to making an offer and only looking at the overall physical condition, an inspector will have the knowledge and experience to look at the bones of the home: the foundation, structural framing, attic construction, insulation, ventilation, roof conditions, and building safety. They’ll further point out red flag issues connected to electrical wiring, fixtures, fireplaces, gas fixtures, water heaters, appliances, stairways, garage doors, faulty ground drainage, defective plumbing, substandard construction, leakage, deterioration, and so much more.
Inspectors can and will forewarn the buyer of any current and future problems that currently exists or may arise. For that, agents harp on the importance of hiring an inspector. They’re trying to protect the buyer’s financial interest…thus saving them money and years of regret.
When selling your home, make sure you put in the time and resources to fix up and place your home’s best foot forward (interior and exterior). This will save you lots of time and negative findings during the inspection process. In addition to a fresh coat of paint and landscaping, look and repair steps, disconnected gutters, rotted trim, anything neglected and needing repair (i.e. missing roof shingles), loose metal flashing around chimneys and plumbing vents, leaky toilets and faucets, faulty outlets, cracks in the walls and ceilings, soggy areas, loose boards, dangling wires, asbestos, dampness, unusual noises in the plumbing, condition of appliances, heating and cooling systems, odors, etc. With a critical eye, look inside and outside of your home and fix them now so you’ll have to worry less during the inspection. It’ll also look like you’ve been taking great care of your home.
What happens after the inspection?
After the inspection, the inspector will draw up a report of their findings and deliver it to the buyer. This report IS NOT a repair list for the seller. The fact is, sellers are not required to produce a perfect home. Therefore, rather than placing all of this on the seller…the buyer and seller will have to negotiate as to what will be repaired and on whose dime prior to the close of escrow. In the perfect world, the expenses will be shared.
One of the greatest tips and pieces of advice I give buyers is to work with an agent who knows how to negotiate. Being a strong agent is more than pulling up homes and driving buyers around to showings. Work with an agent, as myself, who is not afraid to negotiate…one who is experienced in the art of negotiation.
Does an out of state buyer need to be at the home inspection
No they don’t, however, we’re able to virtually bring in out of state buyers to the inspection. With the beauty of technology and our team, out of state buyers can view the entire inspection in the comfort of their home or office.