After you’ve found a home and negotiated a sales price, there are two steps to pursue simultaneously. The first is to schedule your home inspection.
What Is A Home Inspection?
A home inspection is a complete review of a home’s structure and systems, including plumbing, HVAC, electrical, and ventilation. Home inspections are typically performed in conjunction with the sale of a home, and are performed by licensed home inspectors.
Don’t Buy A Home Without Having A Home Inspection
The home buying process varies by city. Each locale has its own real estate law and customs; and, as a home buyer, you will follow the steps which are common for your area.
For example, after a home is under contract, you may be asked to provide assurances and disclosures for the seller; to provide earnest money deposits via check or wire; or, to perform any number of tasks to keep the transaction moving forward. No matter where you live, however, as a home buyer, you will have the option to inspect your future home for potential faults and defects.
You don’t want to skip this step. Home inspections are an important part of the home buying process. It is what can keep you from purchasing a home with mold problems; or issues with radon, an odorless, poisonous gas.
Power of Home Inspection
Home inspections highly significant in a purchase transaction. The home inspection provides a top-to- bottom review of a home. They are performed by licensed professionals known as home inspectors, and they are an essential part of the home purchase process. The timing of a home inspection will vary by state but, generally, they are performed after the buyer and seller have reached an agreement on the sale of a home, and the property is under contract.
Home inspections are different from home appraisals, which are evaluations of a home’s value, or the fiscal condition. Appraisals are used as part of the mortgage approval process, and help determine a buyer’s loan-to- value. Inspections, by contract, are evaluations of a home’s physical condition.
Included in the contract is verbiage which gives the home buyer the right to inspect the home for damage and defects, and which compels the seller to allow said inspection within some number of days from signing — usually seven. This period is known as the Real Estate Inspection Contingency. Note, though, that home inspections are subjective and, generally, will only uncover problems that arise from visual cues, such as water marks found on a wall.
A home inspector will review all of the following areas of a home:
Home inspectors typically don’t check for issues such as termite damage, mold, engineering problems, and other specialized issues. If you are acquiring a FHA loan or VA loan, to purchase the property, the lender will require a termite inspection in addition to the home inspection. This is an additional cost to the buyer, paid directly to the inspector.
What If Your Home Inspection Reveals A Defect?
Most home inspections will turn up at least one area of concern — even new construction. Remember that this is normal, and look for your best way forward. Thankfully, your sales contract includes language for what to do next. During the Real Estate Inspection Contingency period, the buyer can submit a written list of defects to be corrected by the home seller prior to closing; or may request an adjustment to the sales price of a home.
The contract also give you the right to cancel the sales agreement, based on the results of a home inspection. So, if a home inspector finds that a home’s ventilation system is faulty, which may lead to mold growth in a bathroom, the home buyer reserves the right to ask the seller to remediate the issue, or to adjust the home’s sales price.
If the buyer is unsatisfied with the seller’s response to a request during the Real Estate Inspection Contingency, the buyer can walk away from the transaction without recourse. Once the contingency period ends, the buyer loses its right to have the home inspected; and to negotiate over defects found in a home.
Home inspections are a common “next step” between buyer and seller after a home goes under contract. They’re so common that purchase offers are typically written with a contingency clause stating that the offer is subject to a satisfactory inspection by a licensed home appraiser. Home inspections will cost between $200-600, depending on the size and age of the home; and should be performed by a licensed home inspector who will be impartial to the inspection’s outcome.
Licensed home inspectors are trained to look for defects in a home which you, or your real estate agent, may have missed including faulty electrical wiring, building code violations, roof issues, and other health or safety hazards. A thorough inspection will take anywhere from 2 to 8 hours to complete. Several days after the inspection, the licensed inspector will provide to you a report which details the home’s system and structure. Expect for the report will note deficiencies. It will then be your choice whether to ask the seller to remedy the deficiencies found. Your realtor will assist you in going over the inspection report, and getting back to the seller’s representative to negotiate anything in the inspection that needs to be addressed; and your mortgage loan officer needs to be furnished a copy in order to confirm the property conditions meets lending standards as well.
If the seller agrees to make repairs (e.g.; replace jiggly door handle; repair cracked window sill), you will have an opportunity to “walk-thru” the home prior to closing to ensure all repairs were made, as agreed. Inspections should be performed on all homes — even newly-built ones.