Family, Real Estate

Home Inspection Basics

A home inspection is one of the most important steps when purchasing a house. The cost for a home inspection can range from $300 to $800, and while this may sound like a lot this fee pays for itself in the long run. According to studies by American Society of Home Inspectors’, out of 50,000 inspection reports, the most common issue that arises during home inspections is repairing or adjusting doors. In 86% of cases, inspectors found an item that needed repairs, 20% of cases showed roof issues, and 18% of cases revealed electrical related issues. Other common problems include windows/window seals, roofs, heating units, water heaters, gutters, plumbing, fencing, and foundational issues. Analyses have shown that problems with heater and roofs help negotiations the most. Not everyone is familiar with the process of home inspections, especially first-time homebuyers. Hopefully after reading this blog some of your questions will be answered.

How Much Do Home Inspection Cost and Who Pays For It?

Buyers usually pay for the home inspection, though it can be negotiated depending on market and situation. Some sellers have an inspection conducted prior to listing the house. This provide sellers some advantage such as:

  • Give sellers an opportunity to fix issues before listing their property
  • Give potential buyers assurance

A home inspection ranges from $300 to $800 depend on size of the house. This price includes the inspector’s time going through the house and a written report after the visit. Some inspectors offer a significant discount if you only want them to tag along, listen to his “verbal report” and skip the written report. However, most people prefer to have a report to file in their records. In buyer-competitive-markets where buyers are willing to waive inspection contingency, this option becomes more practical because of its cost-effectiveness and time saving. I’ve witnessed my buyers who went though a pre-inspection and waived a house inspection in 8 transactions before they won one. Options are always nice to have!

Which Items Will Be Inspected?

According to the American Society of Home Inspectors’, the main items an inspector will focus on are:

  1. Structure
  2. Foundation
  3. Roof
  4. Attic
  5. Walls
  6. Ceilings
  7. Floors
  8. Heating System
  9. Central Air Conditioning System
  10. Interior Plumbing and Electrical Systems
  11. Windows and Doors
  12. Basement

Further Inspections

In some cases it is necessary to commission further reports from specialists concerning the possible presence of radon, termites, asbestos, mold, lead piping or paint. Federal law states that there must be inspections done for houses built before 1978 for lead-based paint. A check on sewage pipes is also performed occasionally by using special sewage camera service.

How Long Does A Home Inspection Take?

There isn’t set amount of time to complete a home inspection. The duration depends on the house size, thoroughness of inspector, number of defects, and the amount of time the homeowner allows for the inspection. The houses are not always vacant, so homeowners may still be living in the house. Occasionally multiple potential buyers may be interested in having the same house inspected on the same day. In such a scenario, buyers only have a specific window of time for the inspection.

Should Potential Buyers Be At The Inspection?

That decision is up to you. If you are busy, you certainly can wait for the written report and address questions with your inspector. However, reading the report with a long list of items could be overwhelming. You may not even know where to start and the right questions to ask. That is why it is strongly recommended that you be present at the inspection. You can learn so much about the property by spending hours at the house, going through items that are important to you, testing, and asking your inspector questions in the moment.

As A Seller, What Do You Do Before The Inspection?

The easier and smoother the inspection, the quicker the transaction will progress and the fewer headaches you have in the long run. This includes:

  • Fix anything in the house that can be quickly fixed.
  • Label keys and leave instructions for the inspector.
  • Provide help, access to everything the inspector will look at. (You can use the list above as reference).

My Report Is Completed. Now What?

More than likely you will have a long list of problem on that report. Don’t panic! There isn’t a perfect house. As mentioned above, out of 50,000 reports, 86% indicated some sort of repair was needed. You need to overlook the minor issues and focus on must-have-items for you and items that are costly to fix or replace. After identifying those items, you need to discuss with your agent about strategies moving forward. You will want seller to take care as many items as possible before you take over, but overdoing it may kill the deal. Analyses have shown that you will have a much better chance asking for repair credits for those items versus requesting they execute the repairs.

Please keep in mind that you want a good and thorough inspector by your side, not the least expensive one. The most important thing is making sure of working with one that is state licensed. Ask friends and family members for a referral for someone they already worked with previously. Come to the inspection prepared by bringing a checklist and questions you want to ask the inspector. Last but not least, enjoy learning about your new home!

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