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What to Expect from a Home Inspection

Thursday, April 21, 2022   /   by Margie Wright

What to Expect from a Home Inspection

Home inspections are critical to both buyers and sellers. It's the last opportunity for a buyer to to discover problems with the home before purchasing. For sellers, it's a chance to address those problems and negotiate pricing with the buyer. If there are major problems found by the inspector, then it can be a big issue for both parties. If there's a home inspection contingency, the buyer can back out or negotiate a different price based on any major issues that arise. As a seller, you may have to pay for these issues to be fixed - that can get very costly very quickly.

As a buyer and a seller, this blog will help you to understand what the home inspection will be like, what will be looked at, and how to handle any issues that arise.

Here's what to expect:
  • A home inspector will look at the interior and exterior of the home. This will include things like the foundation, structural components, roof, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems. They will then provide a written home inspection report with the results.
  • A home inspection generally takes two to four hours, but it could take more time depending on how large the house is. It may then take a couple of days to receive the written report.
  • Don't be surprised with the number of issues on the report. Many of these will be incredibly minor issues that you don't have to worry too much about.
  • Pay attention to the severity of the issues on the report. Certain problems can be deal breakers for buyers.

What do home inspectors look for?
Heating system, central air conditioning system, interior plumbing and electrical systems, roof and rain gutters, attic and visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, basement, and structural components are all things that a certified home inspector will review and place into the report.

The more parts of the home an inspector can access, the more complete the final report will be. 

Who pays and how much does a home inspection cost?
Normally, the buyer pays for a professional home inspection, however it's not uncommon for it to be an item that's negotiated. Some buyers insist the seller pays when they make an offer. However, some sellers get their own home inspection before having their home listed on the market. This can provide an extra layer of reassurance as well as allowing the seller to be able to fix the issues.

Depending on where you live and the size of the house, the average house inspection costs anywhere from $280 to $401. This does fluctuate based on various factors, so do keep those in mind. While it may be tempting to go for the cheapest option, you could end up missing several important issues down the line. That can be more costly than paying more for a reputable inspector.

Will there be additional, follow-up costs?
Additional costs depend on the buyers and what shows up on the report. You may want to find specialists to look for radon, termite infestations, asbestos, lead piping or paint, mold, water damage, or any other safety issues that you may think are a concern. Lead and asbestos are normally the primary concerns if the home is older. 

What should sellers expect?
Being helpful may not mean that the report comes out better, but professionals will appreciate the thoughtfulness. Leave the keys to things in an accessible area. Tidy your basement and attic so that the inspector has an unobstructed path to furnace, HVAC unit, water heater, and anything else that that needs inspecting. Make sure your yard is clear so that crawl spaces, drainage access points, and septic tanks can be easily gotten to.

If you know that the inspector is going to be looking for, you can knock out some small, easy to fix problems quickly. Normally, these issues will also be relatively inexpensive - plus it makes the list of defects in the report shorter. You may not be able to achieve perfection, but you can certainly make it easier and hopefully improve your chances of your sale closing without additional issues.

What about after the inspection?
If the report showed only minor and expected problems, the home buying process should continue as planned. As a buyer, you may choose to give the seller or seller's Realtor a list of minor issues to fix. That shortens your own to-do list after moving in. 

If the report uncovers safety or structural issues, then you have more things to think about moving forward if you still want to buy the home. You'll need additional inspections, negotiation around the price of the home or the seller cover the costs to fix the problems before closing, and additional follow ups by experts to make sure the quality of the repairs is good.

Don't be surprised if the report shows many defects. The amount is not as important as the severity of the issues. Loose doorknobs, for example, are a minor issue that you likely won't fix right away. But problems with the physical structure of the home, or improper installation of a furnace or water heater, could be a deal breaker. 

The best thing to do when you get the report back? Talk to your home inspector and real estate agent about the best path moving forward. As experts, they'll be able to tell you what to do, what's important, and what they feel is an issue or non-issue.

  homes, homeowners, tips, homebuyers, buyers, home sellers, sellers, home inspection, inspections

Hurst Real Estate and Auction - Margie Wright Property Marketing Group
Margie Wright
221 East Main Street, Suite 103
Morristown, TN 37814

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