One question we get a lot from buyers is, “do I really need a home inspection?” Especially in a seller’s market, this question becomes more and more common. When desperate buyers compete against multiple offers, they’re tempted to waive the home inspection to put themselves ahead of the competition.
According to the National Association of Realtors, home sales have shot up to the highest level they’ve been at in a while. About 80% of those homebuyers hired a home inspector, and for a good reason! A home inspection is the most substantial contingency that a buyer possesses once under contract.
The home inspection process allows the buyer to ensure that their home is healthy and will stand the test of time. Here we walk through what steps happen during the inspection and how to fix the problems that arise from the home inspection report. We’ll also discuss how home inspections can save you money in the long run.
All The Ins and Outs of A Real Estate Home Inspection
Don’t let the idea of a home inspection scare you! They aren’t high-strung people judging your home and getting caught up on the minor details.
Home inspectors are actually detail-oriented and unbiased people who will give you a professional assessment of your home’s weak points. This helpful, neutral third party can help you identify problem areas that untrained eyes might not notice. As a buyer, you should know what kind of home you’re walking into.
What Is A Home Inspection?
A home inspection is just a visual assessment of a property that helps determine the current state of its structure and mechanics. You might think of it as an annual check-up at the doctor’s office — a way to ensure that things are working correctly and help you identify any weak points that could become an issue down the line.
A certified home inspector has the experience and the training to look for specific issues and report their professional opinion on your home’s status. As the home buyer, you’ll be able to view this report and get a clearer picture of potential costs down the line, which could help you decide whether or not you want that commitment. A home inspection is highly influential, and a home inspection contingency is a staple of most home offer and purchase agreements. It gives the buyer the contractual power to renegotiate prices or back out of a sale (without losing their deposit or earnest money).
Remember that even the best home inspection doesn’t guarantee that a property won’t ever run into issues! Its purpose is to inform the buyer about the property and help them prepare for the financial commitment before making any final decisions.
What Happens During A Home Inspection?
You and a certified home inspector will walk through the property during a home inspection. The inspector will examine the house throughout and take notes and photos for their report. A qualified home inspector will answer your questions or concerns and provide you with an unbiased and expert perspective on any issues they might see with your home. In addition, they’ll help you determine which problems will or will not impact your home purchase.
Once the inspector completes their evaluation, they’ll send you their detailed report, including any recommendations for repairs. They will also highlight the lifetime of specific appliances, including the furnace or AC unit.
Here are some things that home inspectors do look for during an inspection:
- They start with examining physical structures, including looking for weak spots in the floor of your garage, roofing and attic spaces, and of course, foundation issues.
- Then they’ll look through the interior of a home and try to spot signs of water damage or moisture, and they’ll take note of flooring, walls, doors, and windows.
- An inspector will also look at all major home systems, including the functionality like water flow, cold and hot water outputs, and the age and condition of appliances that will be tested during a home inspection and the plumbing.
- Utilities are also part of the significant systems check. Your home inspector will assess them and give you a detailed report on electrical lines and the gas service quality. The inspector might also complete a well inspection if your home has it.
A great home inspector will catch things you might not notice and warn about potential problems that might come up. However, keep in mind that home inspectors don’t look for mold, radon gas, asbestos, lead paint, and termite damage.
If you are concerned that a home you’re buying or selling might have any of these problems, it’s best to contact a specialist right away! Your real estate agent will have resources on hand.
Is There Ever A Time You Should Skip A Home Inspection?
Regardless of whether you’re buying or selling, there is never a situation where you skip the home inspection. However, it is a crucial step in the home buying process, and if you skip it, you could end up with some serious and expensive consequences in the future.
Since purchasing a home is one of the most significant investments most buyers will make in their lifetime, giving up valuable information about the overall health of your home seems silly. So instead, make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Think of a home inspection as an unbiased review of your future home. Even if it looks like it’s in perfect shape from the outside, you never know what serious problems are hiding under the surface.
Even sellers can save precious time and money with a home inspection. Getting an inspection early can help you uncover severe problems to get them fixed before you list your home (which enables you to avoid drawn-out negotiations or lowball offers). In addition, selling a house that has had its issues addressed can expedite the sales process down the road.
A home inspection will cost you some time and a little bit of money, but we’ve never met a single person who regretted that decision. A home inspection can reveal problems that the current owners might fix before moving in. Plus, they can identify a potential money pit. Especially for new home construction, a home inspection is a crucial part of the home buying process.
First-time home buyers find that inspections can give you a crash course in home maintenance and even provide a checklist to know how to keep your home safe and sound. Regardless of your situation, you must address these issues early, and a home inspection can save you tens of thousands of dollars down the road.
If you need help with the buying or selling process, including scheduling a home inspection, we’ve got your back! The experts at 41 Realty Group will help you with every phase of the process and make sure you dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s!