You have found the perfect home and the offer has been accepted. Now is the time to schedule a home inspection! The home inspection process is different from an appraisal. The home inspection evaluates the condition of a home (for buyers) whereas the appraisal evaluates the value of a home (for lenders). It is typically paid for by the buyer at the time of the inspection. It is money well spent. The home inspection will give the buyer a detailed analysis of the home’s structure and major systems (HVAC) and provide valuable insight into any structural concerns, safety issues, and necessary repairs.
The real estate sales contract will likely include a home inspection contingency clause. This will give you a window of time, generally one to two weeks, to hire a home inspector, receive the inspection report, and request repairs or adjustments to the sales price based on the report.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has put together a comprehensive list of “10 important questions to ask your home inspector”. This list will help guide you in asking some important questions when selecting a home inspector. The cost of the inspection and a list of what the inspection includes, and doesn’t include, are great questions to ask a home inspector to get the conversation started.
Your attendance isn’t required, but it is in your best interest. The inspection will typically take 2-3 hours for a single family home. You will gain a lot of knowledge by looking at your prospective home through expert eyes. Ask the inspector if you can attend, even if you don’t plan on attending. If the answer is “no” you should look for another inspector. Ask plenty of questions during the inspection…but remember to let the inspector do his or her work.
The inspection list will vary from state to state and with different inspectors. There are some key areas that will be inspected:
A couple recently shared with me their first home story. They bought a 1,200 square foot brick home while in their mid 20’s. They were young and excited to make the purchase. They were absolute beginners in the home buying process (very green). They were fortunate to work with a respected and qualified real estate agent who recommended a home inspector. The home inspector was an engineer and the 150 page report they received was intelligent and comprehensive. The home was structurally sound. There weren’t any major issues they needed to be concerned about. The report also included a small list of minor items that might need to be resolved in the future. They remembered the report stating the chimney “might need” to be repointed in 15 years. There wasn’t really anything else to be addressed so the husband and wife asked their realtor if they should ask the seller to repoint the chimney. She was professional and polite…but smiled and said no. They wanted to be savvy in the negotiation and purchase process, but the request was pointless (no pun intended).
You won’t be asking a seller to make repairs to every defect in a home. Normal wear and tear on a home will fall on the buyer’s shoulders while major repairs or structural damage will fall on the seller. You can request these major repairs be made by the seller, or negotiate a reduction in the sales price and take care of them with contractors yourself. Working with a seasoned and qualified real estate agent from CENTURY 21 Prime South will help guide you through the process of home inspection and negotiation.
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