Whether buying or selling a home, the home inspection is an important part of the sale. If you’re the buyer, a home inspection helps you make a more informed decision about the home you’re considering and protects you against buying a home with major defects. If you’re the seller, a home inspection before listing your home can make you aware of needed repairs you need to make, which can make the closing process run more smoothly.
What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is completed by a certified home inspector, who checks the entire home for its current condition. Their job is to focus on the health and safety of the home and whether systems are functioning appropriately. The inspector does NOT mandate what needs to be fixed; his or her report tells the current state of the home and may include recommendations about what should be fixed.
When Do I Get a Home Inspection?
Some home sellers will complete a pre-listing home inspection. This gives them a heads-up about any repairs they may need to make before listing their home for sale. Many sellers may think their home is in perfect condition and are surprised to find that problems exist or are worse than they thought.
However, most of the time the home buyer will order the home inspection. This occurs after the seller accepts your offer to purchase the home, but before the close of the sale. After the inspection, the buyer may be able to renegotiate their offer or request credit for repairs, depending on what the home inspection reveals.
Since buyers are ordering the home inspection, they are responsible for paying for it. The national average cost for a home inspection is $336, but can range anywhere from $200 – $500. Buyers should consider this an investment for peace of mind. An inspection could save them thousands in unexpected repairs in the future.
What Does a Home Inspector Actually Do?
A home inspector is professionally trained and certified to examine many different systems within a home. They are considered an objective third party since they would not financially benefit from needed repairs.
A home inspector looks for deficiencies in the home that would have an effect on the integrity of the structure or safety of the house. A list of some of the areas an inspector assess include:
- Basement and Attic
- Home Exterior Materials
- Windows and Doors
- Porches and Balconies
- Walkways and Driveways
- Steps, Stairs, and Railings
- Floors, walls, and ceilings
- Plumbing Fixtures, Faucets, and Water Heater
- HVAC System (including thermostats, water heater/furnace, air conditioner and ventilation)
- Electrical System (including panel, outlets, and switches)
Remember, a home inspector is focused on structural and safety issues. They are not inspecting cosmetic elements. For example, if a crack in a wall is not related to foundation concerns, it may not be listed as an item suggested for repair.
The following lists items NOT usually included in a home inspection, but may be offered in your area or by your inspector:
- Chimney and Fireplace
- Floor Coverings (tile, vinyl, carpeting, etc)
- Landscaping or Trees
- In-Ground Sprinklers
- Swimming pool
- Evidence of Rodents, Mice, Rats, or Insect Pests
- Sewer, Well, or Septic Systems
How Long Does a Home Inspection Take?
The average-sized house usually takes about two to three hours, depending on the home’s size and features.
It is a good idea for the buyer to be on-site during the inspection, if possible. This gives you a chance to ask questions, learn how to maintain the home to avoid future repairs, and help you better understand the inspector’s recommendations.
What Happens Next?
After the home inspection is finished, the inspector will send a finalized inspection report to your real estate agent and your mortgage lender. Your real estate agent can guide you in using the report to negotiate about recommended repairs.
Home sellers may choose to make repairs or pay an allowance for the buyer to fix the issues after the sale.
An important note: There are no mandatory home fixes after an inspection. However, a mortgage lender may require issues involving health and safety of a home to be resolved before they provide financing.
Team Rockensock can assist in the home inspection process to make a smooth and enjoyable home-buying or selling experience. Check out our preferred partners page for some helpful info!