What Homebuyers Should Know About Home Inspections

What Homebuyers Should Know About Home Inspections

Congratulations! You’ve found your dream home that checks all your boxes. But before going full steam ahead with the purchase, it’s wise to know if the house is structurally sound and safe, and that major systems are in good working condition. A home inspection is your single best opportunity to evaluate a home’s condition. It reveals issues with the house, giving you a full picture of exactly what you’ll be taking on as a homeowner. 

Key Takeaways

  • A home inspection offers you much-needed reassurance by identifying potential problems before closing on a house!
  • Many lenders won’t offer home financing without getting a home inspection done.
  • Over 86% of home inspections reveal an issue that requires fixing before closing- these issues can include life-threatening ones like faulty wiring or mold.
  • Typically, you’ll have a seven-day window after the inspection to negotiate repairs with the seller or back out of the deal. 
  • Your home inspectors will assess the exterior and interior parts of the house, including but not limited to plumbing, electrical, roofing, foundations, and HVAC.

What Is a Home Inspection and How’s it Different From Home Appraisal and Seller Disclosure?

A home inspection is a non-invasive, visual evaluation of the physical structure and systems of a property. It’s generally done by an independent, neutral third-party, certified home inspector. The inspector will cite issues they find in their assessment, including foundation and safety issues that you need to be aware of. 

A home appraisal is a professional estimate of how much your home’s worth. Typically, mortgage lenders will use appraisals to ensure the house is worth the amount they lend to you. An appraiser doesn’t go over the fine details of the house but instead looks at local home values and the home’s overall condition to estimate its worth. 

A seller’s disclosure statement is a document stating all undisclosed details or issues of the house that the seller may be aware of that could be otherwise apparent to you. The requirement of the seller’s disclosure statement varies depending on your local, state, and federal laws. 

Who Pays for the Home Inspection?

It’s crucial to note that you, as the homebuyer, are typically responsible for paying for the home inspection since it protects you from buying a house with significant issues. The average cost of an inspection ranges between $300 and $450 but can vary depending on various aspects, including age, size, and location of the home. When you contact potential home inspectors to schedule the inspection, you should get an estimate of how much yours will cost. 

The Home Inspection Process

There’s more to a home inspection than what happens on inspection day. As the buyer, there are steps you should take before and after the process to make sure you have all the information you need before closing day. 

The Home Inspection Contingency

A home inspection contingency is a clause you add to your homebuying contract stating that the purchase is conditional on the results of the inspection. That allows you to negotiate repairs or cancel the contract based on the inspection result. Typically, your real estate agent will encourage you to add the home inspection contingency to your contract. That way, you’ll have a specific timeframe to schedule and conduct the inspection and do any potential follow-up evaluations. And if there are any deal-breaking problems cited on the inspection report, the contingency allows you to pull out of the sale without legal liability (i.e. you’ll get your earnest money back). 

The Home Inspector

It’s wise to pick your home inspection carefully. Your real estate agent can recommend certified home inspectors within your area. And to avoid conflict of interest and get the most objective information on the property’s condition, you’ll want an independent home inspector. You should get a person who’s bonded, and insured and a company that does only inspections instead of repairs and renovations. 

Home Inspection Day

Every inspector will do things differently, but there’s a basic, standardized home inspection checklist they’re required to follow. Generally, they’ll inspect everything from the ceiling to the cabinets under the sink. The inspector will also check the plumbing, HVAC, and electrical systems, kitchen appliances, bathrooms, and fire safety. Moreover, a full exterior inspection, including assessing the exterior walls, roof, foundation, grading, and carport will be done.

Although the inspector is the expert, there are things you can do to ensure the process goes smoothly:

  • Attend the Inspection: It’s recommended that you attend your home inspection so you can see the damage firsthand and ask questions. Having these discussions with your inspector in real-time results in more in-depth information about the house than what you’ll find on the inspection report. 
  • Look for Major Issues: While walking through the house, don’t get hung up on the number of defects since most of these repairs are very minor. Instead, dig into the severity of the problems to determine if there are any deal-breakers that’d prevent you from closing on the house. 

Next Steps After a Home Inspection

After the inspection, you’ll receive a written report covering the home’s major features and notes on any issues that may need attention. If the report reveals minor and expected issues, you can ask the seller to fix them and the homebuying process can continue as planned. However, if the inspection reveals structural or safety issues, you may request additional inspections, such as a foundation inspection, or negotiate with the seller to lower the price to cover the costs if you buy the house in its current condition. Alternatively, you can choose to back out of the deal if the inspection reveals serious problems with the house. 

Want to Learn More? Call the Experts!

It’s easy to be swept away in the excitement of buying a new home. But when buying a home, you don’t want surprises since surprise repairs result in surprise costs that can quickly dampen the excitement of buying a new home. By conducting a home inspection, you can limit the risk of future repairs and get the information you need to make an informed buying decision. To learn more about home inspections and the overall homebuying process, consult our real estate pros today!

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