You’ve found your dream home, and your offer was accepted; it’s time to celebrate! However, you have the dreaded home inspection looming over your head, but don’t let that get your spirits down. Here are the things every home buyer should know about inspections because the more you know about the property the better you can protect your financial investment.
Inspections Aren’t Mandatory
There are plenty of circumstances that don’t warrant a home inspection, but that doesn’t mean you should skip it. Typically if a mortgage company or lender is involved, they’ll require one, but if you are buying a property cash or purchasing a condo or apartment where the majority of the home maintenance is covered by the building or HOA, then a home inspection isn’t always required. We always err on the side of caution and having one done just to keep your home happy and healthy while protecting your financial investment as well.
The Buyer(s) Are Responsible For the Inspection
Often times buyers don’t calculate this cost into their home buying expenses, but it is their responsibility. Think of it this way, an inspection only helps the buyer and in no way benefits the seller. Uncovering problems or potential issues can dramatically drop the value of the home, so it is really up to the buyer to find an inspector, shoulder the cost and have the process done in a timely fashion as to not delay closing. Also, be aware that an inspector must be licensed, and a general contractor does not have the same qualification. For help finding a certified inspector, the best place to start would most likely be your real estate agent.
SIDE NOTE: There are several small fees and costs along the home buying journey, so be sure to budget for more than a down payment or percentage of total home price.
What Does A Typical Home Inspection Cover?
Every property is different, so an inspection can vary slightly; however, the American Society of Home Inspectors says the following areas will be checked in a qualified home inspection:
- Foundation & Basement
- Structural Components
- Interior Plumbing & Electrical Systems
- Heating & Cooling Systems
- Windows & Doors
- Floors, Walls & Ceilings
- Attic Space
If you have a concern about a particular area or item, ask your realtor or inspector to see if that will be examined, and if not, you can have specialty inspections done as well.
YOU SHOULD RECEIVE A INSPECTION REPORT FOLLOWING, BUT IF NOT, ALWAYS REQUEST ONE, AND KEEP IT DOCUMENTED IN CASE AN ISSUE ARISES LATER.
You Can Attend An Inspection
Buyers are more than welcome to attend the home inspection; if you have any questions on the results, the inspector can give you an in-depth answer and most likely better explain it in person than in his or her report. Be aware though, the inspector is only responsible for finding repairs not making them right, and also be conscious of their time when it comes to asking questions.
Repairs Are Negotiable
Once an inspection is complete, the repairs are completely negotiable between the buyer and seller, and this process can be creative. The seller can perform the repairs before closing, they can give you an allowance or credit for the estimated cost, or they could end up your responsibility. If the seller performs the repairs, please make sure to ask and receive proper documentation that they were completed and done by a professional.
IF YOU CAN’T COME TO TERMS WITH THE SELLER OR THERE IS A LEGITIMATE CONCERN WITH THE FINDINGS OF AN INSPECTION, YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO WALK AWAY.