You’ve found the perfect property and you’re ready to move forward, so what’s the next step? The next few steps will include your offer and any contingencies like a home inspection.
A home inspection is an important part of the purchase process, it allows buyers to hire an inspector who will walk through the property and inspect things like the physical structure, appliances, electrical & plumbing systems, roof condition and much more. The inspector’s report will be a detailed run down of any issues they spot within the property and should take into account any disclosures provided by the seller.
It’s important to keep in mind that a home inspection is only on elements of the home that the inspector can see. While they should be checking the roof and any crawl spaces, they won’t be opening up walls or speculating about potential future issues if evidence cannot already be seen in the home. Specially qualified inspectors are important if you’re worried about potential issues with things like pests, mold, or properties with pools. Scheduling a separate inspection for these kinds of issues is also important and should be considered before moving forward with your purchase.
Finding an Inspector
Just like finding a Realtor®, word of mouth can be a great help in finding a home inspector that you trust. Your Realtor® should be able to offer advice on inspectors they’ve worked with, but you might also want to ask for recommendations from owners in your new potential neighborhood. If you can, ask owners who purchased within the last 6 months to a year so that you can get their feedback on whether any issues arose that the inspection didn’t catch or anything specific to the property’s neighborhood that might be helpful to know. Interview a few inspectors, ask for samples of their reports and choose the one you’re most comfortable with. The buyer pays for the inspection, so feel free to be thorough and choose the inspector that you feel will do the best work.
When you schedule the inspection you might want to make sure that you can be there to walk through with the inspector, your agent will be present, but many buyers find it helpful to see in real time what the inspector is noting and ask questions. It is also a time when the home inspector will show you some important features of the home, like the main water shut off, electrical box, HVAC maintenance and other items you should be aware of in your new home. This will also help give you context later when you receive & review their final report. An inspection can take up to 2-3 hours but will be well worth it if they can alleviate any uncertainty or uncover any potential issues before the sale is final.
After the Inspection
Depending on the conditions of your offer and the regulations of the state where you’re trying to purchase, you’ll have several options. The results of the inspection can be used with your agent as a tool for negotiating repairs or concessions on price before closing, or they can even allow you to pull out of the transaction all together. If your inspection turns up only minor issues you can simply move forward with the buying process. Don’t be alarmed if your report has many noted issues, inspection reports should be highly detailed and should include even relatively small findings that might not impact your purchasing decision.
If you’ve got questions about home inspection or any other part of the real estate transaction, feel free to give us a call! We’d love to help you navigate the world of real estate.