What Is A Home Inspection?
A home inspection is different from a home appraisal. An appraisal is an estimate of how much your property is worth. Mortgage lenders use appraisals to make sure the home is worth the amount they’re lending. An appraiser doesn’t go over the fine details of the home, but rather looks at local property values and the home’s overall condition.
The Home Inspection Process: What Buyers Should Know
There is more to the home inspection process than what happens on inspection day. As the buyer, there are certain steps you can take before and after the inspection to ensure you have the information you need about the home you’re buying.
The Home Inspection Contingency
A home inspection contingency is a clause added to a real estate contract stating that the purchase is contingent on the results of the home inspection. This allows home buyers to cancel the sale or negotiate repairs based on the inspection results. If you decide to add a home inspection contingency, you will have a specific time frame to schedule and conduct the inspection, as well as any potential follow-up evaluations.
For example, if there is a plumbing issue and the inspector recommends consulting a plumber for a more in-depth look, the buyer is responsible for finding a plumber and getting the information they need to either move forward or withdraw from the sale before the period ends. Typically, buyers have about 1 – 2 weeks to complete this process.
The Home Inspector
Choosing an inspector can seem like a daunting task, but most real estate agents have relationships with inspectors and can recommend one they trust. You’ll want to be sure the person is bonded and insured, and that the company only does inspections rather than repairs and renovations.
This will help to ensure that they do not try to coerce you into making costly repairs for their own benefit. When you call to make an appointment, you should ask them what the inspection includes and how long it takes and be sure to understand everything that they will inspect. This is also the right time to discuss what additional inspections you may need and ask if they can do all of them. You should also agree on a price.
Home Inspection Day
Your home inspector is the expert, but there are still things you can do as the buyer to ensure the process goes smoothly. When possible, we recommend home buyers attend their home inspection so they can see the damage firsthand and ask questions.
Having these discussions with the inspector in real time leads to more in-depth information about your home than what you will find on the inspection report. As you’re walking through the house, try not to get hung up on the number of defects, as often these repairs are very minor. Instead, dig into the severity of the issues to determine if there are any deal breakers that would prevent you from moving forward with the sale.
The Home Inspection Report
After the home inspection, you will receive a report that covers the property’s major features and notes any problematic issues that may need attention. A good inspector will take the time to walk you through the report and their findings. This may include any damage or wear that they found in the home, no matter how minor.
It’s their job to make note of every flaw, so your report will likely have a lot of issues listed on it. This does not mean that everything is something that should cause concern – they’ll be able to help you discern what may be hazardous or a red flag.