Spring is here, and our local market is getting busy! Sellers are starting to list their homes so they'll close in time for the summer. Buyers are coming out because the weather is nice (and there's homes to buy!)
If you’re buying or selling a home, it’s important to understand what a home inspection entails and how it affects the sale or purchase of a house.
A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the structure and systems of a home by a neutral third party. Basically, it shows you what’s wrong with the property and if it is serious enough to prevent a sale. (Note: An inspection does not concern code violations and therefore does not guarantee that the home is free of them.)
The three main points of the inspection are to evaluate the physical condition of the home, identify items in need of repair or replacement, and estimate the remaining useful life of the major systems, equipment, structure and finishes.
An inspector cannot report on defects that are not visible, such as defects hidden behind finished walls or beneath carpeting, and inaccessible areas. Seasonally inoperable systems (swamp coolers, air conditioning, furnaces) will not be turned on during the inspection.
Once you've decided on a home (or a buyer has decided to buy your home), getting the home inspection is the next step. For my buyers, I'll recommend a licensed inspector to inspect the home. If you're the seller, the buyers agent will schedule that for you.
If you're the buyer, it’s a good idea to be present during the inspection for a few reasons: you can ask the inspector questions during the inspection, the inspector will have the opportunity to point out areas of potential trouble, and many inspectors also will offer maintenance tips as the inspection progresses. It's your chance too to ask them important things like where's the whole house water shut off down to items like how to change your air filters.
If you're the seller, should you be there? No, not really. They'll be in your home a couple of hours, so be sure to make arrangements for your pets.
Once the inspection is complete, the inspector will send the buyer the inspection report. Once you get the report, I usually go over the report with them. This is the opportunity for you to ask the seller to make some necessary repairs. If you were present at the inspection, your inspector should have told you things that were minor and you could do yourself at your leisure, and things that definitely need to be repaired right now. I recently had an inspection where the inspector pointed out an easy repair to a door (which could be solved by some weatherstripping) and the buyer asked for a brand new door! $20 worth of supplies from a home supply store does not warrant replacing with a new product! If that buyer was at their inspection, they would have realized that.
Remember, as the seller, you are 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 ( or not made) the buyer adjust their offer, or in worst case scenarios, walk away from the purchase all together.
The inspector’s most important priority is accuracy, and accuracy takes time. The chances of mistakes are more likely if the inspector rushes through. Your inspection may take between two and five hours. Older homes take longer than newer ones.
Expect your inspection to cost from $200-$500 depending on size. It may be one of the most important investments you make when buying a home.
What if the home is listed "as is". You can surely still ask for it to be inspected for informational purposes. This way, you will be given an idea of what the repairs are, you could start to get estimates and start to schedule repairmen for after closing.
If you have any questions about this step of the buying (or selling) process, please give me a call! I'll be glad to help you!