Whether you’re buying or selling a home, it’s important to understand what a home inspection is and how it affects the sale of your home or the purchase of a home that you’re considering.
What Exactly is a Home Inspection?
Technically speaking, a home inspection is an objective, visual examination of the structure and systems of a home by a neutral third party. A home inspection reveals what’s wrong with the property and if it is serious enough to prevent a sale. (FYI: A home inspection usually does not concern code violations and therefore does not guarantee that the home is free of them.)
There are three main points of a home inspection: 1) evaluate the physical condition of the home, 2) identify items in need of repair or replacement, and 3) estimate the remaining useful life of the major systems, equipment, structure and finishes.
A home inspector does not report on defects that aren’t visible to the eye, such as defects hidden behind finished walls or beneath carpeting, and inaccessible areas. Seasonally systems (air conditioning, furnaces) may or may not be turned on during the inspection.
Whey You Hire a Home Inspector
To hire an good, qualified home inspector, you should get a recommendation from your Realtor, or from friends and family who have first hand knowledge of the inspector. You can also find home inspectors online or on Angie’s List. When interviewing inspectors, always ask for references and professional associations. Find out about the inspector’s training and experience.
It’s a good idea to be present during the inspection for a few reasons: 1) you can ask them questions during the inspection, 2) the home inspector will have the opportunity to point out areas of potential trouble, and 3) many inspectors also offer maintenance tips during the inspection.
Making Suggested Repairs
The seller is not required to make any repairs or replacements. However, the buyer can use the inspection report as a negotiating tool. For instance, if certain repairs or replacements are made, the buyer might offer to pay more, or if they’re not, the buyer can bid lower.
Costs and Time Involved
Your home inspector’s most important priority is accuracy, and that takes time. The chances of a mistake are more likely if the inspector rushes through. Your inspection may take between two and five hours depending on the size of the home. Older homes will take longer than newer ones.
For advise on home inspections, and other real estate processes, please contact me!