Home inspections are extremely important and can unearth things you and your agent may not be aware of.
So what does a home inspector do exactly?
Home inspectors perform a detailed walkthrough of a home looking at the physical structures and mechanical and electrical systems. This includes the exterior and interior of the home, the roof, plumbing, heating and air conditioning, as well as insulation and ventilation. They will also test all major appliances. So, during an inspection, expect all lights to be turned on and off, toilets to be flushed, faucets to be run, and washers and dryers to be run. While performing all of their checks, the inspector will take pictures and make notes to be used to create a report later.
When selecting an inspector, it’s important that they should always remain impartial and should provide just the facts about the home to allow you to make an educated decision when it comes to your purchase. You should also make sure that the inspector you choose is licensed with the state.
The report that is provided after the walkthrough should included detailed findings, pictures and notes. You can always ask an inspector for a previous report so that you have an understanding of what will be provided to you. Home inspections typically cost between $300 and $500, so it’s important to understand what you will be getting. Please note, if the home requires secondary inspections, either after repairs are made or by specialized contractors, you can quickly spend more than the initial $300 to $500.
Here’s what home inspectors don’t do.
Home inspectors are not specialized or licensed contractors. This means that they can’t detect or report on what they can’t see, and some buyer concerns may require specialized evaluations performed by additional experts. While they can make notes of broken tiles on a roof or visible water damage, problems like these should be evaluated by licensed roofing and plumbing contractors. In addition, home inspectors should not be asked to provide an opinion on whether the home is priced correctly or if it’s a good deal. Inspectors are there to provide unbiased reports to provide the most information possible to home buyers.
What are my responsibilities as a buyer?
It is the buyer’s responsibility to book an inspection after a contract has been established. Depending on the agent you are working with, the agent may or may not take care of this on your behalf. However, whether or not the agent books your home inspection, it is extremely important that the buyers attend the inspection. This allows them to address any concerns they may have discovered in the seller’s property disclosure with the inspector and ask questions about the walkthrough findings. There are some things that are easier explained in person than read in a report, and this will also allow the inspector to provide insight on what are big picture concerns versus small ticket items.
After the inspection has been completed and the report has been received, the buyer and buyer’s agent can review and discuss any items they would like to have taken care of by the seller. The buyer’s agent should have a lot of experience negotiating repairs and can provide additional insight on which items from the report need to be handled and which are not necessary. If there are any significant findings the buyer can choose to not move forward with the transaction at this time. Please note, the buyer’s agent must have included a home inspection contingency clause for this to be possible.
Now I know I’ve spent a lot of time on what to expect as a buyer, so for all of my sellers out there, here’s want you can expect.
What are my responsibilities as a seller?
If a seller’s home is about to undergo an inspection, it’s important to prepare the house as much as possible. This includes moving all items that may be blocking crawl spaces or attics, as well as unlocking or providing keys to locked storage areas or closets. Also, remember to leave all utilities on, even if the home is vacant. This is extremely important since the inspector is working to test all electric systems and appliances in the home. It is not necessary for the seller or the seller’s agent to be at the inspection.
Another tip for the seller? Do not attempt any DIY repairs. It’s always best to hire a licensed contractor or handyman to make any necessary repairs. If you do not and a second inspection is requested, the repairs may not pass and this can delay the sale of the home.
Some sellers may opt to perform a pre-sale inspection of their own home. While this is not very common, it is something a real estate agent may recommend for a home that’s seen better days or a seller who desires a quick and smooth transaction. By performing a pre-sale inspection, the home buyer can either be aware of requests potential buyers may make, or choose to make any necessary repairs prior to listing their home.
NAR (National Association of Realtors) states that 99% of all agents recommend a home inspection prior to purchasing and that ultimately, 84% of all transactions will get an inspection. We always recommend getting a home inspection since this will help you to make your purchase with confidence.
If you have any other questions about home inspections either as a buyer or a seller, we'd be more than happy to answer all of them. Zach books inspections for all of his buyers and always makes sure to walk them through which repairs are necessary or not. Let us know if you have any questions we did not cover by leaving them in the comments below.