Buying a home is an exciting journey, and the home inspection is a crucial step in the process. It may evoke mixed emotions, ranging from excitement to anxiety, but it’s essential not to overlook this vital aspect of homebuying. Let’s explore why a home inspection is your protector as a buyer and how you can make the most of it.
Your Home Inspector - The Guardian of Your Investment
Before committing to a home, it’s crucial to ensure that it doesn’t hide any surprises that could cost you in the long run. Think of a home inspector as your background checker before you make that final commitment. They are there to identify any visible problems in the house, such as a leaky roof or faulty plumbing.
To find a reputable home inspector, do your due diligence and seek recommendations from your real estate agent or use online resources like the American Society of Home Inspectors’ (ASHI) Find a Home Inspector tool. Once you have a list of potential inspectors, interview at least three of them to find the best fit for your needs.
What to Expect During the Inspection
A home inspection is all about lists. The inspector will review the seller’s property disclosure statement, which outlines any known flaws that could impact the home’s value. During the inspection, the inspector will:
- Identify problems with the house.
- Suggest possible fixes.
- Estimate the cost of repairs.
They will then provide you with a written report, complete with photos, detailing any issues with the property. This report is invaluable as it will help you request necessary repairs from the seller.
Limitations of a Home Inspection
It’s essential to understand that a home inspection has its limitations. Inspectors can only examine visible problems and won’t engage in destructive testing or predict future issues. Certain aspects, like swimming pools, wells, septic systems, and structural engineering work, might not be thoroughly assessed during a standard inspection.
For specialized assessments, such as chimney inspections, you may need to hire certified professionals at an additional cost.
Your Presence Matters
While your presence during the inspection is not mandatory, it is highly recommended. Being there allows you to ask questions and gain a better understanding of the home’s inner workings. The inspector will survey the property from top to bottom, checking everything from water pressure to electrical wiring, and more. Expect the inspection to take about two to three hours.
Once you receive the inspection report, review it with your agent. While sellers are generally required to address structural defects, building code violations, and safety issues, other repairs are often negotiable. Prioritize major issues and be cautious not to nitpick minor problems.
Your agent can submit a formal request for repairs, and if the seller agrees, they must provide invoices from licensed contractors for the completed repairs. If there’s a counteroffer, it’s up to you to agree, negotiate further, or consider voiding the transaction if the issues seem too significant.
Trust Your Team and Trust Yourself
Throughout the home inspection process, trust your home inspector’s expertise and your gut feeling. Rely on your real estate agent’s experience to guide your decision-making. Take your time, assess the situation realistically, and don’t hesitate to speak up if you feel uncomfortable.
Remember, a home inspection is your safety net in the homebuying process, ensuring you make an informed and confident decision. So, embrace it, and soon you’ll be on your way to securing your dream home!