This blog post highlights the importance of home inspections during the home buying or selling process. A home inspection is a non-invasive examination of the condition of a home to determine its safety as a dwelling. The process is conducted by a licensed professional inspector who prepares and delivers a written report of the findings. The post explains when a home inspection should be conducted, how to choose and hire a home inspector, and what to expect from a home inspection. The costs of a home inspection typically range from $200 - $500, and the report helps buyers to decide if they should proceed with the purchase, negotiate with the seller for repairs, or back out of the deal. As sellers, preparing for a home inspection requires cleaning and decluttering the house, ensuring that all utilities are on and working, fixing minor issues, and providing access to all inspection areas.
Home inspections are an important part of the home buying or selling process. They can help you identify any major defects or safety issues in the house, and give you a better understanding of its condition and value. But what exactly is a home inspection, and how can you prepare for it?
Here are some answers to common questions about home inspections:
What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is a limited, non-invasive examination of the condition of a home, often in connection with the sale of that home. Home inspections are usually conducted by a licensed, professional inspector who has the training and certifications to perform such inspections. The inspector prepares and delivers to the client a written report of findings.
The home inspector will take a close look at all functional aspects of the house to determine its safety as a dwelling. The home inspector will test the operational status of all major systems – plumbing, electrical, heating, and cooling – and check the roof, the foundation, and the home’s exterior. The inspector’s job is not to fix or warn you about potential issues, but to take note of the house’s current condition at that point in time as well as any safety or repair concerns.
When Does the Home Inspection Happen During the Buying Process?
When the seller accepts your offer to purchase the home, the agreement becomes a pending sale. During the next couple of weeks, your lender will want to verify the value and condition of the house. This is when the lender orders an appraisal, and in some cases, an inspection – or you may choose to hire a home inspector yourself if the bank does not require an inspection.
If you’re buying a home in a competitive housing market and are up against multiple offers, you may be tempted to waive the home inspection to make your offer stronger. However, this is almost never a good idea. While the house may look in fine condition to you, it’s what’s beyond the surface, or factors that you don’t know are problematic, that can cause the biggest issues.
How Do You Choose and Hire a Home Inspector?
You want to choose a reputable inspector who will look out for your best interests but also understands your wants and needs for the home. Ask your real estate agent to recommend a few inspectors they have worked with in the past – people they trust to give you a fair and honest report. You can also ask friends and family for recommendations, or check out ratings and reviews of home inspectors online.
You should also ask the inspector for a sample report to make sure what they will produce is thorough. You will want to be clear on exactly what is and isn’t included in the inspection price, which usually ranges from $200 – $500 depending on the size of the home. Will they test for lead paint? How about asbestos in the ceiling tiles? Is that part of the basic inspection or will it cost more?
How Much Does it Cost for a Home Inspection?
A typical home inspection can cost anywhere from $200 – $500, with the national average sitting right around $363. This may seem like an unnecessary expense, but a thorough home inspection can save you from an unwise purchase and possibly costly repairs in the future. Put another way, the home inspection fee is an investment in peace of mind. Buying a new home is stressful enough, so you can take comfort in the knowledge that the roof or furnace is not likely to present you with any costly surprises in the short term.
What to Expect From a Home Inspection?
A home inspection usually takes two to four hours, depending on the size and condition of the house. You should be present during the inspection, or at least show up at the end. The inspector will walk you through the findings and explain any potential problems. You can also ask questions and take notes. The inspector will give you a written report within a few days, which will include detailed information, photos, and recommendations.
The home inspection report will help you decide if you want to proceed with the purchase, negotiate with the seller for repairs or concessions, or back out of the deal altogether (depending on your contract contingencies). The report will also serve as a guide for future maintenance and repairs. You should keep a copy of the report for your records.
How Can Sellers Prepare for a Home Inspection?
As a seller, you can also benefit from a home inspection. A pre-listing home inspection will help you see all the repairs you’ll need to make before you put it on the market, which helps with a smoother closing and faster sale. You can also use the inspection report as a marketing tool to show potential buyers that your home is in good condition.
To prepare for a home inspection, you should do the following:
- Clean and declutter the house
- Make sure all utilities are on and all appliances are working
- Replace any burned-out light bulbs
- Check for leaks, cracks, or damage in the roof, walls, floors, windows, and doors
- Fix any minor issues, such as loose doorknobs, dripping faucets, or peeling paint
- Provide access to the attic, basement, crawl space, garage, and electrical panel
- Remove any pets or personal items that may interfere with the inspection
- Be ready to leave the house for a few hours during the inspection