Buying a house is quite an undertaking, marked by steps from start to finish. From the time you go under contract to closing day, there are several milestones to meet and cross off your to-do list.
One such step is the home inspection. This is a service done in the earlier days of the sale that will teach you more about the property you’re trying to purchase.
Here’s some information about the essential step of the homebuying process known as the home inspection.
What is A HOME INSPECTION?
A home inspection is an examination of the condition of a house by a professional and certified home inspector. It’s limited, non-invasive, and is usually completed within a few hours, and the inspector will provide a report of the home’s condition.
This inspection is ordered soon after going under contract and is the buyer’s responsibility to pay for it. It typically costs between $300 – 500. Though the buyer can choose anyone to complete the inspection, their real estate agent will have company recommendations with professionals they trust and have worked with in the past.
A home inspection is sometimes not required, but it is heavily suggested.
What IS INSPECTED?
The home inspection will cover both the exterior and interior of the property, including crawl spaces, the roof, and the attic. They do not specifically check out termite damage, asbestos, water contamination, or mold.
- Exterior walls – such as cracks, damage, and soil issues
- The foundation – visible cracks, settling
- Grading – slopes and drainage
- Garage or carport – proper opening and closing, framing, and ventilation
- Roof – looking for damage, installation issues, shingles, and the gutters
- Plumbing – faucets, showers, and visible leaks
- Electrical – wiring, outlets, ground fault circuit interrupters, electrical panel
- HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) and the water heater
- Kitchen appliances
- Laundry room
- Fire safety
What’S THE POINT OF A HOME INSPECTION?
The main purpose of the home inspection is to see how the house is doing beyond the untrained eye. Though homes can look wonderful, sometimes there are issues beneath the surface that deem the property too good to be true. If that’s the case, an inspection will reveal those issues, both major and minor, before it’s too late.
An inspection serves as a point where the buyer can decide to go further with the sale, ask for things to be updated by the seller, or get out of the sale if they deem the issues too large or costly.
HOME INSPECTION CONTINGENCY
One of the ways a home inspection protects you is with a contingency. You can have a home inspection contingency as part of your contract with the seller, providing that if the home inspection reveals some significant issues, you can back out of the sale without any penalty. The contingency will state a deadline.
This is a significant benefit for you as a buyer, to ensure that you’re not trapped into fixing expensive damages. This is also relevant to clauses in new-build construction, so that foundations, pre-drywall, and completed homes are all inspected.
AFTER THE INSPECTION
After the inspection, you have a few different options.
For any issues that come up, you can work with your realtor to come up with a negotiation. You can ask the seller to fix the issues, reduce the purchase price, give cash at closing for you to fix the problems yourself, or come up with another solution.
If the repairs are minor or the house is sold by a bank or as-is, you can make a plan and prioritize which issues to address right away or gradually over time.
For significant issues that can’t be resolved by the seller, as previously mentioned you can also walk away from the sale as long as your contract includes an inspection contingency.
WHY YOU NEED A HOME INSPECTION
The key reasons you need a home inspection boil down to protection.
You want to protect your safety to find out what underlying issues the property might have—think of gas leaks that can impact your health. You can protect your finances by knowing whether or not the house is a good investment versus a money pit, and then again when you negotiate other money-saving solutions with the seller.
Many buyers find that they make back the few hundred dollars they spend on a home inspection, sometimes several times over.