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Homebuyers’ Guide To Home Inspections


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Buying a home is an exhilarating experience. You may experience the whole gamut of emotions. This can range from extreme joy when you find the home of your dreams to extreme lows if you discover something costly is wrong with it. You can even become discouraged about the homebuying process if you have already managed to sell your house and desperately need a place to stay but can’t find one. On a brighter note, it is possible to find a home seller who has done all they can to ensure that the selling process is smooth for you and them. They may have even gone the extra mile to do a home inspection for you. However, it will be in your best interest to hire your own home inspector to complete the inspection. So what should you expect from a home inspection when you are buying a home? Read on to learn about home inspections from the point of view of the buyer.


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Hiring A Home Inspector

When you need to hire a home inspector, it is a good idea to do a substantial amount of research on who you are hiring. There are quite a few states that don’t require licensing for home inspectors. Therefore, if you rush this part of the process, you may end up hiring someone who isn’t qualified to perform quality inspections in homes.



It is ideal to start with your real estate agent to find a reliable, top-notch home inspector. They have plenty of experience working with such professionals and may be able to point you to some of the best options. But don’t stop there. Ask around. Check with friends, family, and colleagues who have also recently moved to see who they had to inspect their house.

Also, look online for reviews on Yelp, Facebook, Google, and the Better Business Bureau to see what customers are saying about the inspector. If you want to take it one step further, consider perusing the American Society of Home Inspectors website. You can search for qualified inspectors in your local area using their find an inspector tool. Once you narrow your selection down to about three choices, interview the home inspectors and choose the one that offers what you need.

 

How Much Is a Home Inspection?

According to Home Advisor, if you need a home inspection, you will likely spend between $280 and $401, with most people paying on average $341. This cost range can go up or down depending on where you live in the U.S., the size of your home, and whether you need more specialized inspections completed, such as a chimney inspection, lead-based paint inspection, termite inspection, or the like. While the buyer is responsible for paying for the home inspection, this may be something that the buyer and the seller can negotiate payment for at closing.

 

What Does a Home Inspector Check For?

A home inspection can get pretty pricey. But why is it expensive, and what types of things do home inspectors check for during the inspection? A quality home inspector will check for various defects in the home, which could take several hours to complete. They will take notes and photos of damages they see along the way. In some instances, you may be able to tag along, observing the defects that the inspector finds on the tour. Here are some defects they look for but are not limited to the following:

  • Water damage and mold
  • Plumbing issues
  • Electrical problems
  • Roof issues
  • Problems with the HVAC
  • Foundation problems
  • Presence of pests, especially ones that cause damage (ie. termites and carpenter ants)
  • Issues with the fireplace
  • Garage door problems
  • Safety with railing
  • Unusual odors such as gas leaks or mildew

Upon checking for these issues, an inspector may determine that another expert may need to come in and do a follow-up. This can happen if the inspector finds items such as mold or lead paint. Remediation for such findings can be very costly. For instance, mold could cost a couple of thousand dollars, while lead paint removal could cost upwards of $20,000.

 

The Home Inspection Report

When inspectors find any issues, small or large, they will record them in an inspection report. Keep in mind that this report can be quite lengthy because it is an inspector’s job to note every detail, no matter how serious or minor it is. Even though you may have a comprehensive list of all the things that could be wrong with a home, there will probably be a few major ones that could be a dealbreaker. The most common repairs sellers may need to address include pest infestations, mold or water damage, structural hazards, and electrical issues. These are the ones that you will likely want to focus on when negotiating with the seller.

 

What To Expect After the Home Inspection

After reviewing the inspection report, if you aren’t happy with the problems, this would be an excellent time to start negotiations with the seller. No inspection report is flawless, even if a seller has gone through and tried to fix all the problems they anticipate an inspector will find. After you receive the inspection report, discussing the issues with your real estate agent is a good idea. The agent will advise you to prepare a repair addendum that spells out the repairs they need to address before closing. This list should be comprehensive, pointing out the must-haves and cosmetic fixes. A seller could agree to all the fixes or just the major ones. If the seller is unable or unwilling to help with the repairs, you can either try to get a price reduction, negotiate a home warranty or something else of value or walk away from the deal. In many cases, the seller may cover all the major issues. Or they may try to split costs with you to reduce their burden of fixing all the problems. At this late stage of the selling process, most sellers don’t want the deal to fall apart. So they may be willing to do whatever it takes to keep the ball rolling unless the buyer is being unreasonable.



Buying a home is a joyous occasion. But it is riddled with its challenges. One of the biggest challenges is the home inspection process. If you can get past this process and the following appraisal process, you are well on your way to becoming a homeowner. Good luck!

 

 



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