You’ve found the one, your offer has been accepted and you are ready to move in. But wait, there is something you need to do first. Get a home inspection! This will ensure that your dream house isn’t really a nightmare. So what should you expect from the inspection process? We’re here to break that down.
HIRE AN INSPECTOR
First you’ll need to pick an inspector. Your realtor can recommend one to you or you are welcome to find one on your own. Either way, you’ll want to set up an appointment as soon as possible, because typically you only have 7-10 days to get your inspection done and negotiate repairs for any problems.
Once you make your appointment, make plans to be there for it. You can follow the inspector on his tour and take notes. On top of needed repairs, they may also make some great home improvement suggestions for the future or point out important things like where the water shut-off valve is located. Your goal from being there is to learn as much about the home as possible. Your inspector’s goal is to run down a checklist of potential problems, including any with the foundation, the roof, windows, doors, electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, water heaters, inadequate insulation and many many other things. In all, they are looking over hundreds of items during the inspection to see what is and what isn’t in working order. A big side note, while you want to show up to the inspection, it’s highly advised not to bring along family members and friends who are handymen, electricians, plumbers, etc. While it may seem logical to bring them, they aren’t licensed property inspectors, and sometimes the most well-intentioned people can interfere or end up causing big problems.
The inspection can cost $300 or more depending on the age, size of the property and if you need extras like a pool or termite inspection. Just remember it's worth spending a few hundred dollars to learn about the potential pitfalls of your future home.
Your inspector will write up a complete report of their findings and send you a detailed report. It should be extensive, containing summaries, photographs, and notes. A good inspector will remain impartial and not be an alarmist while pointing out concerns that need to be addressed. Their report should be easy to understand, but if you have any follow-up questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
After the inspection, you’ll want to huddle with your real estate agent to discuss repair negotiations. No house is perfect and an inspection is bound to uncover faults. However, when negotiating repairs you want to keep focused on big ticket issues, like the roof or HVAC, as well as safety items like plumbing and electrical. The inspection is about making sure you are getting a safe home and a good investment. We suggest clients focus on deal breakers and avoid getting getting caught up in cosmetic work. Now, the seller’s may ask to just give you concessions, or money towards closing costs, instead of making the repairs. Another option can be that the seller lowers the costs of the home. Of course if the problems are more than you want to handle, like faulty foundation or roof on the verge of caving in, you can walk away from the deal and because of the option period we write into your contract, you can still keep your earnest money. At the end of the day, you want to have peace of mind moving forward with your purchase and a good home inspection can give you just that.