A home inspection is both exciting and somewhat nerve-wracking for buyers. You’re past the initial offer phase but not quite to the closing table, and the inspection’s goal is to turn up any major issues that might hinder the ability to live in the home or impact its value. According to HomeLight, approximately 1 in 20 home sale contracts are canceled, with the leading cause being the inspection. Below, we’ll go through what you should know as a buyer to make sure you get the best deal.
What’s a home inspection entail?
About 80 percent of buyers opt to get a home inspection before closing. A typical home inspection takes about two to three hours and can cost anywhere from $300-$1,000, and the cost depends on the location, size, the extent of the inspection and the inspector’s experience. Finding the cheapest inspector or using a realtor driven inspector could cost you thousands more than you saved due to overlooked items that were not reported on. Finding a good deal is not always a bad idea but when it comes to your inspection, you want the best inspector that you can find.
During the inspection process, the home inspector will go through the interior and exterior of a home and record anything that’s broken, any defects and any hazardous problems. Usually, you’ll get the report back within the week, and after the inspection, you might have the option to renegotiate your offer, depending on what comes up in the report. Typically, you’ll be advised by your agent not to request repairs for cosmetic changes. However, if there are issues with important systems, there might be room for negotiating for repairs. We recommend getting a credit for the repairs so you can find the contractor of your choice. After all, you don’t want someone’s drunk uncle doing the repairs. Think about these high ticket items: (water heater, electrical, air conditioner, roof, plumbing, foundation). Do not nitpick common maintenance items.
Because you both find out about home defects and may or may not be able to request repairs based on what the home inspection report turns up, it’s critical that you have a trusted home inspector on your side. And in fact, buyers are usually the ones who foot the bill, so you do have sway in which home inspector you hire though you may have one recommended to you. We recommend that you do your research and find the best inspector that will work for you not the sale of the property or one that is working for the realtor.
How can buyers ensure they get the best service?
You don’t truly know what you’re getting until you’ve had the inspection. To make sure you get the most thorough inspection, it’s critical not to go with a home inspector who’s being pushed at you by an agent. It’s crucial to do your own research and hire a home inspector independently. There are some tricks used to pass a home inspection that sellers have been known to resort to. Sometimes it’s unknowingly, sometimes it’s biased, and sometimes it’s a simple tweak of the truth (in their mind) to avoid shouldering the cost of fixing any issues that arise. As such, you should read up on these possible deceptive practices, so that you can be prepared for them should they appear on the inspection report.
Who should be there?
Who attends a home inspection? Clearly, the home inspector will be present and accounted for, that’s why you’re paying him or her. But it’s also a good idea for buyers to go to the inspection. It’s a chance to ask the inspector face-to-face about how the home’s systems work and how they can be maintained. Your trusted agent can go with you or can attend in your stead if you’re unable to go. We highly recommend that you be there during the inspection process so you can see what we see and it makes it much easier when going through the report.
It’s debatable whether listing agents (the sellers’ representation) should attend, and though sellers have every right to be there because it’s still their house, it’s generally discouraged. As the buyer, you’re paying for the home inspection, so the information belongs to you.
We highly recommend not giving out the entire report to anyone. Let’s say you don’t buy the property, realtors often time will resale the report that you paid for to the next potential buyer at a discounted price and pocket the money. Take screenshots of the items within the report that concern you the most or the most important high ticket items and give those pictures to your realtor for negotiations. You own the report!