Wondering what every buyer needs to know about home inspections? We’ve got you covered! First, I’ll review the top things every buy should know about home inspections. Then I’ll share home inspections tips. I’m wrap up by including a free Home Inspection Checklist for Buyers that you can download for free today.
Top things every buyer should know about home inspections
- What is a home inspection – a home inspection is an objective assessment of the overall condition of a home. What do you look for in a home inspection? Well, the inspection will typically cover the home’s heating and cooling system. Interior plumbing and electrical. And the roof, attic, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, basement and structural components.
- Check for certification – The American Society of Home Inspections is considered the standard for home inspections. ASHI inspectors follow a strict code of ethics and have passed a technical standards exam. These inspectors are also required to perform more than 250 professional inspections before they can become certified. Other industry groups include the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) and The National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI)
- Inspections are optional – even though home inspections are optional, you’ll find that they’re strongly encouraged my most real estate professionals. And here’s why: your home is the most expensive purchase you’ll probably ever make. And to cut down on unexpected surprises and walking into the unknown, you’ll have a much better idea of what you’re dealing with before you actually buy it. This way, you can identify problems before they happen or that you weren’t aware of.
- Set expectations – there are things wrong with every home. There are also limits to inspections. The inspector wont punch holes in the wall. And since this is non-invasive, know that inspections don’t cover everything. The inspector probably won’t be moving any heavy furniture to check things out either.
- Even new homes need an inspection too – there are plenty of things to look for in a new construction home inspection. Believe it or not, there can be structural defects or drainage and grading issues. System component problems like HVAC, electrical or plumbing issues happen too. So, having an independent party come and assess the workmanship can help you have an easier and more enjoyable time adjusting to your new home.
- How long do home inspections take? The amount of time it takes for an inspection varies based on a few items. Home size, for one. And it also depends on the number of issues found and how thorough the inspector is. If you want a good gauge, ask the inspector when you make the appointment. However, I would plan for at least 2-3 hours.
- Should a buyer be present for a home inspection? I think so! This is your chance to see the location of the main components of the house, and how they should work. Like the main water shut off or gas line. This is also your time to ask questions of the inspector. So, what should a buyer do during a home inspection? For one thing, use this checklist! Buyers can also use this time to get more familiar with the house. You can also ask the inspector to take a more detailed looks at a particular area. After taking a more thorough look, buyers can decide if this is the right home for them.
- Do sellers have to fix everything found during home inspections? No, sellers don’t have to fix everything. You can certainly make reasonable requests after the home inspection. But also know that there are also things that a home buyer shouldn’t expect the seller to fix. Rely upon your real estate agent to give you the low down on what’s important and to be the negotiator you need during this period.
- What do home inspections cost? Since it’s the buyer that pays for a home inspection. I’m sure you want to know the cost. It’s a lot less that buying a house that’s falling apart, that’s for sure! Bankrate has a handy tool that you can use to get an estimate on the cost of your home inspection. There may be extra costs to check for radon, termites, asbestos, lead pipes or paint and mold.
- Real estate agent is key – your agent will be able to walk you through this inspection and negotiation process. But red flags include foundation, roofing, high cost HVAC systems, electrical and plumbing issues. These aren’t necessarily deal killers, but certainly things to discuss with your agent. It’s important to know that the real estate agent is not the inspector and is not expected to act like one.
Home inspection tips for buyers
- Read the report – don’t just look at the items with pictures but read every condition. Of course, you want to look out for the red flags, but also for the little things so that you’re completely aware of what you’re getting yourself into.
- Include a home inspection contingency in your contract – understand what this means and the dates you have to work with. This way you can plan for your inspection in enough time to review the terms and negotiation within your contingency window.
- Hire a reputable inspector – check references or get a referral from your real estate agent. Confirm what the inspector will and won’t examine. Ask questions like, “what happens if the inspector misses an item and we have issue later?” Or “how does the liability insurance work?” It’s also good to ask to see a sample inspection report ahead of time.
- Make your decision & negotiate – determine what’s important. Take your time to think through what’s a deal breaker and what you can live with. Let your agent know and start the next round of negotiations. And remember that you have options. Repairs, money in lieu of repairs) and walking away. Many in real estate will recommend. That if you’re able to, (it’s not a lender requirement) negotiate for a credit instead of actual repairs. This option will help in the long run, for several reasons. One, most sellers are no longer invested in putting any more money into the property, so they’ll go with the least expensive option. And two, you’ll be able to choose your own contractors, and you do have a vested interest. Three, if for some reason, the repairs aren’t made on time or they aren’t up to your standards, then this could delay closing.
- Confirm repairs have been made – if you indeed negotiated for repairs, you’ll want to confirm that they’ actually happened. Schedule a final walk through certainly before closing. If you schedule it a few days before, then you have some room to address any concerns you might have without delaying your closing date.
Home Inspection: What Every Buyer Needs to Know
We just covered what every buyer needs to know about home inspections. First, I shared the top things every buy should know about home inspections. Then we went over home inspection tips. Now, the next step is to download this handy and free Home Inspection Checklist for Buyers that you can download today.
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