One of the most important steps in the home buying process is the home inspection, but if you haven’t gone through the process you may not know what happens in a home inspection. It’s designed to inform you about the overall condition of the home and to ensure there are no pre-existing conditions which would prevent you from comfortably moving forward.
Over the course of the last year, we’ve been involved in many transactions where the buyers requested a laundry list of repairs. There’s a difference between defects in the home and small maintenance issues that need to eventually be fixed. Your home inspection will give you a good idea of the condition of the home you are buying, help you identify what you should ask the sellers to fix prior to closing, and prepare you for when you’ll need to take care of maintenance items as you own the home.
How do you choose a home inspector?
One of the inspectors we like to work with is Larry Hays of Phase Systems, because of his common sense approach to the process. He understands a 15 year old home is not expected to be in the same condition as something which was just built. It’s his responsibility to point out issues like doors sticking, screws missing from heating vents, and cracked tiles in the kitchen. However, he can provide perspective on what is a big deal –meaning it needs fixing before you close on the home– and what you can (and should) tackle after you move in. When you choose your home inspector, you want to make sure they are licensed and insured, and have deep experience with home inspections your area. Some home inspectors are also structural engineers, which helps if you think there may be a structural issue with the home you are purchasing. For our buyers, we provide a list of several different licensed inspectors that we have worked with in the past, so that you can speak to them and pick the one that you are most comfortable with.
What happens during the home inspection?
We did a short video with Larry so that he could explain the scope of the home inspection. You can expect for your inspector to look at the plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems of the home as well as the structural integrity. Windows and doors are checked to ensure they function properly, and appliances are tested. Depending on the size of the home, the inspection can last from 90 minutes to 2.5 hours. We are there with you for the inspection so that we can discuss any issues that come up. Once the inspection is complete, you’ll receive a written report from the inspector that documents the status of the house and the systems. You’re responsible for paying for the cost of the inspection up front- one of the few things that is paid for outside of the home’s closing. That cost is also dependent on the size of the home, and typically runs between $350 and $650.
How can I ask for repairs?
After the inspection, we discuss the report with you to determine what items you want to have repaired and/or replaced. We are looking for defective items, code violations, or safety items for the sellers to fix before you move in. You’ll sign an addendum to the contract with the list, and we’ll submit it to the sellers’ agent. The sellers then have a period of time (typically around 3 days) to respond to your request. We normally see larger items repaired or replaced, and credits issued to fix smaller items. Once the terms are agreeable to everyone, the home inspection contingency is removed and the contract moves forward. Any required repairs are then completed by a licensed contractor, and receipts will be provided to you before closing.
Remember, the intent of the home inspection is to make sure you still want to buy the home after you’ve thoroughly examined it. No home is perfect, but we can definitely make sure that you are happy with the condition of the home that you are buying. Hopefully, what happens at your home inspection is that you are still happy with the home after you have all of the details! If you have questions about home inspections or the home buying process, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call or text 571-233-5495.
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