What is a home inspection? Do you need one, and if so, how much will it cost? Today, we're going to look at the answers to all of these questions and more. Knowledge is power, as they say, and the more relevant info you have, the easier it will be to navigate through a home inspection.
Here at Inspectify, we want you to discover and care for the home you love. So, we're going to talk you through our home inspection 101, so you can have an efficient, stress-free experience when you find that dream home!
What is a home inspection?
First things first...what exactly is a home inspection? It's a visual examination of a property done by a qualified inspector on a home that you want to buy. It's also a good idea to get a home inspection done if you are selling your property, so you can discover any potential issues before your home goes on the market.
In most cases, the inspection is completed right after the home goes under contract. Buyers are given a specific amount of time to perform their inspection, which is typically referred to as the due diligence period.
The aim is to evaluate the property to check it meets structural and safety standards. It also ensures that you're buying a property free of hazards and is ultimately a good investment for your money.
The home inspection report will tell you everything you need to know and may give you some bargaining power to request repairs or reduce the price of the house before the sale continues.
If you're a seller, you should consider getting an inspection before you list your home on the market. A pre-listing inspection can strengthen your position by allowing you to get any repairs done before your home goes on the market and the buyers decide to get an inspection themselves. It also eliminates the need for buyers to get an inspection, resulting in a faster transaction and few negotiations.
Do you really need a home inspection?
They're not compulsory, but it's strongly recommended that you get one if you want to buy a new home. Why? Well, even if you are in love with your potential dream home, there may be hidden issues or repairs that can cause you heartache and extra costs down the road.
While an inspection may not always show 100 percent of the issues, it will give you an excellent idea of whether the property is worth buying. Did you know that 86% of home inspections find that there is something wrong with the property? That means that only 14% of homes inspected are free of potentially expensive issues for buyers.
86% of home inspections find something
wrong with the property.
Here at Inspectify, we go one step further. Our Inspection Protection covers the home buyer if damage to certain structural components was missed during the inspection. It gives you that extra layer of protection so that you can close faster, easier, and with peace of mind.
Before you commit to buying a property, you need to be sure that it's safe, and in good, liveable condition. The stakes are just too high to take a gamble on when you think of the financial (and emotional) investment involved in home buying.
If you're still not convinced, perhaps you should check out this Money.com article about the pitfalls of deciding not to have a home inspection: More Buyers Are Skipping Home Inspections. Tales of Bats, Termites, and Asbestos Should Make You Think Twice. It makes for sobering reading!
It seems more buyers are skipping the home inspection to get ahead in the competitive market, especially in sought-after areas. But, unfortunately, that strategy runs the risk of severe consequences, like health and safety issues or thousands of dollars for unexpected repairs.
How much does a home inspection cost?
Homebuyers already have plenty of other costs to worry about, so it's essential to know how much you can expect to spend on an inspection.
Home inspection costs vary from state to state and property to property, but the average home inspection in the U.S. costs between $300-$350. Depending on the property's features, such as wells, septic systems, and pools, you may need to add on additional inspections to have those systems evaluated, too.
That may seem expensive, but homebuyers save an average of $14k on the final price of the property based on the results of the inspection, so a bit of pain now could lead to a lot of gain later.
Homebuyers save an average of $14,000
based on the results of their home inspection.
That’s the general overview of home inspections covered. Now, let’s take a deeper dive into what to do (and what to expect) from a home inspection.
Include a Home Inspection Contingency in your contract
The first step in getting a home inspection is to make sure there’s a due diligence contingency (sometimes called a home inspection contingency) in your sales contract. Adding this contingency to your agreement is vital because it protects buyers by enabling them to back out of the sale if the inspection shows any major issues.
Typically, this period is between 30 to 60 days from the date you signed the sales contract. However, this depends on your specific agreement and your state’s laws. During the contingency period, you will need to:
- Find a qualified inspector
- Set up the appointment
- Review the inspection report
- Complete any additional inspections
- Share your report with your real estate agent
- Decide on how you want to proceed
Finding a qualified inspector
This is a super-important part of the process! The inspector you hire should be thorough, experienced, and have the current certifications (either InterNACHI and/or ASHI). In addition, some states may require home inspectors to be licensed, so you should check your state’s requirements.
It’s a good idea to ask for a sample report they have made to see what they will be assessing. A good home inspector should also be happy to provide you with references from previous clients.
They should also possess a full insurance policy (which is commonly known as E&O, or ‘errors and omissions’) so you can hold an inspector accountable if they miss something important during the inspection.
If you aren’t sure where to find a good home inspector, we can help you with the hard work. We ensure our inspectors are licensed, experienced, and have E&O insurance. We also make scheduling easy, which will save you time and effort—and when you’re buying a new home, anything that can lighten the load is welcome.
When you're ready for a fast, efficient, way to book a home inspection, book here!
The quicker you can get your home inspection done, the more time you have to go through the findings and make decisions.
What is covered during a home inspection?
While this can vary, the primary areas of the home to evaluate are:
- Heating system - in working order and not a fire risk
- Central air system - system age, adequate cooling, and thermostat
- Interior plumbing - piping is up to code, water to all faucets, and correct drainage
- Electrical - all outlets, lights, and switches in working order, and the wiring is up to code
- Roof - any leaks, wood rot, or other hazards
- Attic and insulation - structural soundness, correctly laid insulation
- Walls and ceiling - any cracks or signs of pest or water damage
- Floors - loose boards, tiles, or carpet, and checking if floorboards are in good shape
- Windows - checking if they can open and close, meet the current fire exit requirements, and if they need weatherstripping
- Doors - ensuring all entries can open and close, and the state of the hinges, doorknobs, locks, and frames
- Foundation - cracks or leaks, and ensuring it is stable
- Basement (if applicable) - any cracks, hazards in exposed pipes and wires, or flooding issues
- Structural - the exterior of the home and any load-bearing walls and studs
This isn’t an exhaustive list, as some inspectors also look for pest problems like termites and rodents during an inspection. The report will also vary according to the property's county, as it follows the state laws and building codes.
There are also regional issues that may need to be inspected. For example, a county near a coastline prone to flooding may also focus on that, while one inland may concentrate on the soil type around the property.
What happens once the inspection is done?
You should receive a detailed written report that is more than just a checklist. It should include:
- What defects the home has
- How urgently do any repairs need to be done
- Risks of current damage or anything potentially hidden
- If there are alternatives to repair or replace
- If you should seek further advice from a specialty licensed professional
After reading and evaluating the report, you can then take one of three possible actions. You can ask the seller to perform the repairs, ask them to credit you money to do the repairs yourself, or accept the house as-is and take on the repair responsibility and costs yourself. At Inspectify, we have easy-read reports that include free repair cost estimates for every defect the inspector discovers, so you know up-front what the potential costs could be.
Buying a new home is one of the most significant steps you’ll ever take in your life. Owning your dream home is a beautiful thing, so congratulations if you have found yours! We hope our guide on home inspections has helped you understand what they are and realize the need to safeguard your interests. Happy home buying!