Home inspections are ordered and paid for by buyers during the process of purchasing a new home. Though it is not always required, many lenders won’t offer financing on a home without a thorough inspection. Thus, it is generally an important step not to be skipped. Since buyers are footing the bill, they may hire the professional home inspector of their choosing. The inspector is tasked with examining the home and searching for major and minor issues related to the structure and surrounding land. Home inspections can uncover a whole slew of problems, such as finding destructive termites, identifying dangerous mold, uncovering foundation and roof issues, or discovering faulty wiring that could lead to a fire. Sometimes home inspections go well and find no substantial issues. Other times serious issues are exposed. Either way, inspections are a important business that must be done by qualified professionals in the field. Following a home inspection, a final report is issued by the home inspector and is provided to the buyers. Should the report be unsatisfactory, generally there is a seven-day grace period for buyers to walk away from the deal. Not only does this contingency give purchasers an “out” if needed, but it provides opportunities for negotiations with the sellers to resolve problems that are found.
Sellers who know of material defects related to a property must legally disclose them via a property disclosure statement. Despite this, there may be some issues of which the sellers are unaware. Even though most sellers are honest, realtors encourage most buyers to order a home inspection for protection against defects and problems. Generally, the seller is not present at the time of a home inspection unless they are the ones who ordered it as part of a pre-listing inspection. A buyer will schedule an inspection within a certain allotted time after an offer is accepted. Realtors will typically advise their clients as to when the inspection is required. The home inspector will check that major appliances such as heating and air-conditioning systems are in good working order. On top of searching for structural and foundation issues, a home inspector will also look at features such as plumbing and electrical systems. Generally, the roof, ceiling, doors, windows, and floors are thoroughly examined. On occasion, specialty inspections can also be added on, such as examining a pool or detached garage.
Often, home buyers will make the closing date contingent upon the results of the home inspection. Sellers have no reason to fear home inspections as they are mutually beneficial. During real estate transactions, it’s advantageous for all parties to be transparent and to work together to make deals happen. In other words, everyone wants the process to go smoothly. To help with the sale, they may opt to fix or upgrade issues identified before a house hits the market. Sellers may opt to do their own pre-sale home inspection to gain peace of mind that appliances and other features typically inspected are in decent working condition. Day of an inspection, sellers must ensure that the home inspector has entry to all spaces to be looked at, including access to electrical boxes and secure rooms. Most often when problems are discovered, sellers, buyers, and realtors will negotiate details, such as who fixes what. In some cases, buyers may accept a home with a known defect or ask the sellers to take some actions, such as kicking back some money at settlement to fix the problem. On some occasions, buyers may legally back out. Note that most don’t expect a perfect report. Rather, they generally anticipate a few minor issues.
All in all, inspections provide a decent snapshot of a home’s condition. In most places, home inspectors must be licensed, yet it goes state by state. While careful home reviews are helpful tools for buyers, home inspections are not 100% fool proof. On rare occasion, they may miss something and fail to fully identify everything not typically visible that might be wrong with a property. However, it’s safe to say that home inspections generally allow buyers to make well-informed decisions when it comes to purchasing real estate and provides them with peace of mind.
Disclosure: This article is a general resource for informational purposes only and is not intended as specific advice.