All About Home Inspections
An inspection, simply put, is an evaluation of a home’s condition. It’s a valuable part of the homebuying process because it allows you, the homebuyer, to make sure there are no hidden costs and repairs you’ll have to make when you move in. Watch the video below, and we'll answer the five W’s about home inspections.
Home inspections typically take place 7-14 days after the purchase offer has been accepted. The contract usually includes a condition called a home inspection contingency that means the contract will only move forward when the inspection is complete and both parties agree on necessary repairs.
Inspections typically take one to three hours, depending on the size of the home. When scheduling an inspection, let the property owner know that you’ll be there, and make sure the utilities will be turned on at that time, especially for foreclosed homes. That may include electric, water, and gas services so you can test light switches, plumbing, appliances, and heating/cooling systems. Make sure that hard-to-access places like basements, attics, and service panels are accessible too. And most importantly, schedule the inspection during a time that YOU can be there. It's important to get to know the home and to ask the inspector any questions you may have.
Don’t wait until signing a contract to find a trusted inspector. You may not have time to find one. Not all states require inspectors to be licensed, so ask your real estate agent for recommendations since he or she has experience working with trusted inspectors. Some mortgage lenders require pest or mold inspections too, so ask the inspection company what services they can provide, or ask your agent for recommendations for these special types of inspections. The homebuyer is expected to pay the cost of the inspection up front, which typically costs $300-$500, though that can increase based on the size and location of the home.
So, where does an inspector… inspect? First of all, he or she conducts a visual evaluation of the seller’s home, from the basement to the attic, on the inside and the outside. An inspection is non-invasive, meaning the inspector will not enter any walls or pull up flooring. The inspector looks for problems that need immediate repair (like shoddy electrical wiring) or things that may need repairs in the future, so it’s important that you be there to ask questions. The most common problems are found in the electrical work, plumbing, the foundation, the roof, flooring, windows, the structure, and heating and cooling systems. The inspector will not report cosmetic defects, so check for these yourself, like scuffed floors or hideous wallpaper.
The inspector will give you, the homebuyer, a detailed report on any potential defects. Go over the report with your real estate agent and identify the repairs you think are most important. Do some research to find out how much these repairs may cost so you can address them with the seller. Negotiations can result in a few outcomes: the seller may offer to repair the issues, or you may have to fix them yourself, and sometimes the seller can offer a credit toward the price of the home for those repairs. Once all of the repairs have been mutually agreed upon, the homebuying process moves forward toward closing.
Home inspections seem daunting at first, since it’s the inspector’s job to find flaws in your potential dream home! But rest assured that the inspector is working for YOU, the homebuyer, to ensure three qualities about your new home: safety, future livability, and resale value. If you have any questions, ask your inspector and be there for the home inspection so you can feel confident that your new home is safe and sturdy for years to come.
Want more homebuying advice? Nestiny is a great place for homebuyer education and to help you gauge how ready you are to buy a home. Journey Homeward allows you to enter all of your wants and needs while the True Affordability Tool will break down your budget, showing what you can comfortably afford. You will also receive a free Ready Report that is personalized based upon the information that you entered. This report will give you a vital head start in the home buying journey, saving you valuable time and money.