Ins and Outs of Home Inspections

What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is completed to provide a home buyer an opportunity to identify any major unseen or hidden problems with the home before proceeding to closing. The purchase contract might be written with a home inspection contingency that allows a buyer to ask for remedies if there are “major deficiencies” found on the property. In the case that a home purchase is contingent with a satisfactory inspection, a buyer can ask the seller to remedy any major deficiencies that are found during the inspection.

What happens during the home inspection?

During an inspection, the inspector will thoroughly examine and investigate the home to find anything that might need repaired or replaced. The inspection is intended to find anything that is a safety issue or major defect. Typically the inspection lasts two to three house (the buyer should be present for at least the end of the inspection). Once the inspection is done, a report is produced for the buyer that explains what needs to be repaired or replaced. Most inspectors will also tell you what you should be aware of for the future and what items need routine maintenance, which can be extremely helpful for first time homebuyers. The buyer can then decide with their realtor what steps to take next.

What a home inspection does not cover

A typical home inspection only checks for visual problems. Inspectors generally do not look inside walls, inside pipes or sewer lines, or any other areas that are not readily accessible. If you want these things looked at, you will have to call someone who specializes in those fields. However, if the inspector notices evidence that there may be other hidden concerns they will give you a heads up. Further investigation is not typically included in the scope of their inspection, though, and will typically cost more to have someone else look into it.

What is checked during the inspection?

Exterior items that are commonly checked during the inspection are exterior walls, foundation, grading, garage, and roof. Interior items that are checked are plumbing, electrical, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), water heater, kitchen appliances, laundry room, fire safety, and bathrooms.

What happens after the inspection?

After the inspection is done and the seller is aware of the findings, they can request repairs or renegotiate their offer. Typically the seller will not agree to all of the requested repairs from the buyer. The buyer needs to focus on the big ticket items that will affect the home in any major way. The buyer can also renegotiate their initial offer if they want to do the repairs themselves. Ultimately it is important to talk with your realtor when deciding what next steps to take.

Is a home inspection worth the investment?

A home inspection is worth the investment because the buyer is able to be informed and provided the big picture for the future home they are purchasing. The more the buyer knows about the home the better. Knowing the problems that the home may have before purchasing allows the buyer to also budget for future costs on repairs. A home inspection gives the buyer a peace of mind and that alone is worth the investment!

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