What to Expect From a Home Inspection
So you finally found the perfect home. It checks all your boxes, including some you didn’t know you had. It is located in a great area, close to the best schools and restaurants in town, and, of course, it looks great.
But when it comes to a financial decision as life-changing as buying a home, “looking great” is not enough to ensure you’re making the right choice. To ensure you aren’t buying a money pit, you’ll want to get the house professionally inspected before committing. A proper home inspection will uncover any potential issues the house may have, so you know exactly what you’re getting before finalizing a deal.
What is a home inspection?
Getting a home inspected doesn’t mean asking your parent's to come with you to the open house where they will open and close a few cabinets, kick a couple baseboards, and then scoff when the realtor gives you the asking price.
Home inspections are conducted by professional (and in most states, licensed) inspectors who are trained to do visual assessments of a home’s physical structure, including its mechanical systems, walls, floors, entrances, faucets, and even the roof.
The goal of a home inspection is to uncover any issues with the house that might cause problems for you as the buyer. A home inspection is not the same as an appraisal, and inspectors will never tell you if you’re getting a good deal on a house or if you’re overpaying.
When does a home inspection happen?
The home inspection typically takes place after your offer has been accepted by the seller but before the deal has been finalized. Typically, you will try and have the inspection scheduled as soon as possible after your offer is accepted, to give you as much time as you can get to renegotiate the deal based on the inspection findings. A growing trend is the idea of a pre-listing inspection, done my the seller before the house goes on the market. The benefit of this structure is it removes the high stakes and often emotional negotiation process that occurs during inspection contingencies.
How do you hire a home inspector?
It is the your responsibility to find and hire a home inspector, not your agents. One of quickest, easiest way to find the perfect home inspector is by using Inspectify. Click here to see how Inspectify allows you to get multiple quotes, read reviews, and book an inspection in minutes, online.
Be weary if your real estate agent is recommending a single inspector. There is an inherent conflict of interest between your agent and the inspector and there are federal laws (RESPA) that make it illegal for agents to do so. Good news is there is a positive trend in real estate industry of real estate brokerages pushing for more transparency for consumers within the transaction with Inspectify Partner, REX Homes, being at the forefront of driving this much needed change in the industry. REX not only offers a pro-consumer experience, but can also save you thousands in lower commissions when buying and/or selling your home.
What happens during a home inspection?
A proper home inspection will take several hours to complete. The inspector will walk-through the entire home, taking pictures and notes of virtually every aspect of the house. They’ll point out issues that you might not have noticed until you moved in, like leaky faucets or faulty appliances. They can also find things you might have never noticed until you were forced to make expensive, time-consuming repairs, like issues with the roof or foundation. While an inspector will pay close attention to the details, there are things they won’t be able to detect, like plumbing / electrical issues hidden behind walls. This being said, there is a new wave of tools like infrared and moisture monitors that literally allow inspectors to see through walls; be sure to ask if your inspector includes these in their scope.
What’s included in the report?
Home inspection reports are lengthy, with the average page amount on Inspectify being 66 pages. They contain summaries, pictures, notes, and checklists about every element the inspector looked at in the house. It will also include a list of any suggested repairs that should be made.
It’s important to note that home inspections are not pass/fail. A home will not “fail” inspection just because the inspector finds some things wrong with it. Instead, it is a list of issues that were uncovered that should then be negotiated between the buyer and the seller before the closing date.
What happens after a home inspection?
Once you receive the inspection report, it’s a good idea to go over it with your real estate agent. They know the business, so they’ll help you gain a better understanding of how to re-negotiate your contract with the seller now that you have a more complete picture of what you’re getting. A standard home inspection report does not include repair estimates so you will need to work with local contractors to understand the cost of issues found, or you can use Inspectify's free repair estimate tool and get estimates to help with negotiations.
Whether your inspection report comes back with a laundry list of issues or with just one or two minor finds, learning more about the home you’re considering will give you greater confidence in the decision to buy or make you feel more comfortable walking away.