What to Expect During a Home Inspection
Home inspection identifies any reasonably discoverable problems with the house.This is your chance to get a house thoroughly checked out. An inspector helps you make sure a house isn’t hiding anything before you finally commit to the sale.A Home Inspector Is Your Protector. For a home buyer, hiring an inspector is you doing your due diligence. For the seller, the inspection report is what to expect to negotiate before the sale is final.
What does the typical home inspection entail?
Before an inspection,
the home inspector will review the seller’s property disclosure statement. The statement lists any flaws the seller is aware of that could negatively affect the home’s value. Especially the serious ones: Mold, Pest infestation, Roof or other leaks or water damage, Foundation damage, and any Other problems,
During an inspection,
an inspector has three tasks: To: (1) Identify problems (2) Suggest fixes (3) Estimate how much repairs might cost.
He or she produces a written report, usually including photos, that details any issues with the property. This report is critical to the buyer and the seller. The defects and who will correct them is one of the final negotiation points prior to closing.
The Inspector Won’t Check Everything
Generally, inspectors only examine houses for problems that can be seen with the naked eye. They won’t be tearing down walls or using magical X-ray vision, to find hidden faults.
They can’t predict the future, either. While an inspector can give you a rough idea of how many more years that roof will hold up, he or she can’t tell you exactly when it will need to be replaced.
Home inspectors are often generalists. A basic inspection doesn’t routinely include an evaluation of:
Structural engineering work
The ground beneath a home
Fireplaces and chimneys
Now it is up to you to decide whether you want to hire someone who’s a pro at doing inspections of any or all these things listed above.
You may select an inspector from a list provided by your agent or any other source
Ask questions such as:
Are you licensed or certified?
How long have you been in the business?
How much do you charge?
What do you check, exactly?
What don’t you check, specifically?
How soon after the inspection will I receive my report?
May I see a sample report?
Home inspection contingencies in your contract of sale require you to complete the inspection within a certain period of time after the offer is accepted, so you’re on a set timetable. A good home inspector will provide you with the report within 24 hours after the inspection.
Show Up for the Inspection (Both Buyer and Seller)
Your presence for the inspection is not required, but it is highly recommended. Even though you’ll receive a report summarizing the findings, being there gives you a chance to ask questions, and to learn the inner workings of the home.
Block out two to three hours for the inspection. The inspector will survey the property from top to bottom. This includes checking water pressure; leaks in the attic, plumbing, etc.; if door and window frames are straight (if not, it could be a sign of a structural issue); if electrical wiring is up to code; if smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working; if appliances work properly. Outside, he or she will look at things like siding, fencing, and drainage.
The inspector might also be able to check for termites, asbestos, lead paint, or radon. Because these tests involve more legwork and can require special certification, they can come at an additional charge.
Get Ready to Negotiate
Once you receive the inspector’s report, review it with your agent.
Legally, sellers are required to make certain repairs.
Building code violations
Most home repairs, however, are negotiable. Be prepared to pick your battles: Minor issues, like a cracked switch plate or loose kitchen faucet, are easy and cheap to fix on your own. You don’t want to start nickel-and-diming the seller.
If there are major issues with the house, your agent can submit a formal request for repairs. Repair requests should be as specific as possible. For instance: Instead of saying “repair broken windows,” a request should say “replace broken window glass in master bathroom.”
If the seller agrees to make all of your repair requests, he or she must provide you with invoices from a licensed contractor stating that the repairs were made.
If the seller responds to your repair requests with a counteroffer, He or she will state which repairs (or credits at closing) he or she is willing to make. The ball is in your court to either agree, counter the seller’s counteroffer, or void the transaction.
The most important thing both the buyer and seller need to remember during the home inspection is to trust your inspector, trust your gut, and lean on your agent — they likely have a lot of experience to support your decision-making.