Welcome back friends!! I appreciate it so much to those of you who enjoy these and take the time out to read. I’ve enjoyed this so much and today’s post is for our buyers!! There’s sooo much to Real Estate and my job is to quite simply help you understand the ins and outs of the business, so today I’m going to speak about an important part of a buyer’s transaction. The holy grail… the home inspection!!!!
I like to think of a home inspection as a check up with the doctor. When you go for a check up, the Dr takes a look at your over-all being and different parts of your body. Blood pressure, medical history, current ailments/ prescriptions, weight, etc!! And with that information they come up with a report on how your body is doing! Well ladies and gents, a home inspection is quite similar! A home inspection is a visual summary/ assessment of a home’s physical structure and systems. A home inspector, person who does these lovely “check ups”, will look at many parts of a home’s structure and then provide you, the buyer, with a written report of what they were able to come up with. Since every property is different, the specifics of what is checked during your home’s inspection may very slightly. But, the American Society of Home Inspectors suggests that qualified inspectors will check the following areas:
•Foundation and basement
•Any additional structural components
•Interior plumbing systems
•Interior electrical systems
•Heating and cooling systems
•Condition of windows
•Condition of doors and door frames
•Condition of floors, walls, and ceilings
•The attic and any visible insulation
Most reputable inspectors will look over all things related including your major appliances, HVAC systems, and even poke around in your attic and basement! Thank God for inspectors!!! I like to be funny when speaking with my clients and explain that while we can get an inspection just because we don’t trust the seller ( hey, it can happen people..) when in reality, we get inspections because we are smart decision making adults and not everything about a home is always known about or understood and this saves everyone’s butts! The main goal with an inspection is to uncover issues with the home. Nothing less and nothing more. A home inspector is not going to tell you if this is a good home or a bad home, they will give you the necessary information for you to make that decision, but they will not tell you if its worth the asking price or if you should walk away. They will give you facts about what’s wrong and what they think should happen with that particular issue.
This inspection happens after seller has accepted your offer but before the purchase is complete. To provide enough time for additional inspections or for negotiations with the seller, you’ll want to schedule a home inspection as soon as possible once you’re under contract. The home inspection process is almost always the job of the buyer, as it is the buyer’s peace of mind. It is buyer’s job to research and hire a home inspector and even if the seller gives you a previously done home inspection, I always recommend my buyers to get their own. You want to vet the house yourself in any situation. I don’t care if it is a brand spanking new home, get an inspection my people!! It is very important to know that home inspectors are NOT federally regulated and some states don’t even require licenses, but if you are one of my Tennessee friends/ family then you are safe in that regard. We only hire licensed professionals around these parts! :) The most important part of this all is to choose a REPUTABLE home inspector. You don’t want a Joe Shmoe that’s not done this long and has no care in the world, just trying to make a buck, because then you are stuck with a report that might not have all of the information you need or they rushed through and they missed things. I always recommend my clients to RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH home inspectors and ask around to family/ friends/ co workers about who they used and love! Don’t ask someone that bought their home 2 months ago, they may not have been in the home long enough to find issues missed. Now, a lot of different outside aspects come into play when inspecting making some things harder to inspect. You can’t expect an inspector to 100% be able to locate a leak in the home if there hasn’t been rain in weeks. You also can’t expect them to turn on the air conditioning in the home if it’s been in the 60’s all week. Different things play a part and you always want an honest and up front inspector. A home inspection is quite simply put, an investment into your possible future home. That’s a way for me to tell you guys that this stuff isn’t cheap. But would you want it to be? They can cost roughly around $300-600 and sometimes more. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather pay a couple hundred more for an inspector that has 4 stars and has been in business for years than to cut corners and save some cash. You always want to be sure you are getting what you pay for and that could go both ways! You also need to be prepared to pay this portion before closing because unlike most closing costs, this is one that gets paid immediately. Think of it this way….. If the inspector has to wait until closing to get his cut, they’d have an incentive to make sure the closing goes smoothly regardless of the issues with the home. A not-so-great inspector might underreport problems that could get in the way of the sale. SO! There’s a method to this madness and I hope this helps you see why these things are done the way that they are! A home inspector’s job isn’t really for determining whether your home is compliant with local building codes nor will they comment on anything aesthetic, unless it has something to do with a bigger, more in depth picture. For example, they may point out a ceiling stain that indicates water damage or one single painted wall in the bathroom that could possibly mean there was a leak as well.
Now let’s be real here, like I mentioned, one single inspection might not always uncover if there is an underlying issue, and there are limits to what they are able to check for you. Let’s go back to my Dr example… sometimes there needs to be more tests or they refer you to a specialist. The same goes for inspections, sometimes they tell you to get an inspection from a licensed inspector in whatever field the issue lies or some things just aren’t the job of the basic home inspector. Here are some areas that don’t always make the cut for home inspectors and may require another professional that has expertise in the subject matter:
•Inside the walls
•Wells, sheds, or additional structures separate from the home
If there’s something about the property that just doesn’t set well with you, don’t be afraid to do your own research and reach out to a professional! Again friends, knowledge is power!! Your Realtor should have contacts for you if you feel you need extra inspections and we do our best to get these done for you as quickly possible so you have peace of mind!
Once the home inspection is complete and you receive the report, sometimes (a lot of times) it can look very intimidating. It’s usually a couple pages long and it can be stressful looking over it, but remember- a good home inspector will go in and inspect the property like they were the ones buying it, and just because it is listed…. Doesn’t always mean it needs immediate attention, you just know exactly what you are signing up for and may want to potentially fix down the road! You will read this report before you negotiate repairs of course. Always ask the inspector if there are questions or things you aren’t understanding about the report. I always have my clients make a list of the most important repairs to them, that way we can easily refer back to these items. Now, unlike the inspection itself, it’s always up for discussion/ negotiation who is going to pay for these said repairs. Normally it goes three ways- the seller has the repairs completed before settlement, the seller can credit you money for the repairs, or they can become your responsibility. This is where my advice comes in that you want to know which of these repairs are more important. If you send a seller a list of every single repair (yes, even the small minuscule ones included) there is always the chance they feel attacked and may become defensive and less willing to help. However, if you focus on the main, bigger picture issues that show up on your report then they are more likely to help and take some of the burden of the repairs. One exception to all of this though is when a home is marketed “As Is”. In real estate terms, “as is” means that, for whatever reason, the seller is unwilling or unable to make repairs. With this, the home is usually accompanied with a lower sales price to make up for the lack of room for negotiation. But the inspection is still important so you know what costs you could potentially see sooner/ later.
So, say we get to the end of the inspection and you are handed a lengthy list of things that are wrong with the property and you are completely overwhelmed. That’s okay! This does happen, and it’s why we do inspections to begin with! Remember, you want to know what you are signing up for, ignorance is NOT bliss! At this point you are probably going back and forth with the seller negotiating these repairs. Maybe you are having trouble reaching an agreement and maybe this is too stressful or you just know yourself well enough to know that the repairs won’t get finished unless the seller agrees. No worries, the buyer in this case does have an upper hand in the situation. As long as you are in the time frame allotted in your contract and your reason to walk away is a legitimate reason, (seller isn’t willing to help at all, repairs are too expensive/ list is too lengthy) whatever the reason may be, if it is reasonable then you are able to walk away from the contract. If you’ve put a down payment down at this point then lot of cases the seller is able to keep your deposit since you walked away but that’s a small price to pay whenever you could have potentially been responsible for a property with a list of repairs that you weren’t prepared for! Now this doesn’t stand if you sign off on the inspection negotiations saying that everything is fine and then a week later you are having doubts! There’s different consequences once this happens so it’s very important to take the time to go over the inspection and the figure out what you want to do and the best outcome for your family!
This has been a lot of information and I appreciate you taking the time to read! It’s knowledge every one should have access to and I’m so happy to share my thoughts and advice with you all!! Have a good day, Syd is signing off!