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What Buyers and Sellers Need to Know about Home Inspections

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When it comes to a real estate transaction, there can be many question marks for both the buyer and seller. That’s why pre-sale home inspections are so popular.

According to the U.S. General Accounting Office, “more than 85 percent of homebuyers who applied for a mortgage also requested an inspection.”

This type of examination takes a look at things like a home’s foundation, electrical work, plumbing, roofing and anything else that may impact property value.

Having a home inspection performed by a professional is beneficial to both parties and offers some distinct advantages.

Benefits for the Buyer

Although a walk through gives a buyer a basic idea of what a home offers, it’s almost impossible to know about all the details. Maybe there is roof damage or a termite infestation that isn’t immediately visible, but could cost the buyer thousands of dollars in repairs later on.

An inspection ensures that there aren’t any unwanted surprises, and the buyer can know exactly what they’re getting. It helps the buyer make a highly informed decision, and there is more transparency.

Purchasing a home is a huge financial investment and not something to take lightly. An inspection eliminates many “what ifs” to give the buyer more peace of mind if they do decide to make a transaction.

A buyer also has more leverage when making negotiations because they can often talk the seller down if there are known issues with the home that will cost extra money to repair. This puts them in a better position to obtain a property at a fair price, and they’re less likely to get hit with huge repairs afterward.

Benefits for the Seller

Having an inspection performed ahead of time is helpful to the seller because it should expedite the overall process and get the property sold with minimal setbacks. If an inspector finds a significant problem, the seller can either have it repaired or disclose the issue to the buyer. Otherwise, it can cause delays and may take longer until a deal is finalized.

When a seller is equipped with a full knowledge of the condition of their home, it adds to their negotiating leverage. Rather than simply making claims and having to go on their word, a seller can provide a buyer with tangible proof via an inspection report.

In turn, this should increase the seller’s confidence level and empowers them during the negotiation process.

Finally, a home inspection is important from a legal standpoint. After an examination, a full disclosure will be made, which will protect the seller from the threat of legal action in the future.

In the event that a buyer is dissatisfied with the condition of a property, they won’t be able to file a lawsuit because there was a full disclosure. This means that the seller can have peace of mind once the transaction has been completed.

By looking at all of these advantages, it’s easy to see why it’s smart to have a home inspection performed. It’s mutually beneficial and increases the likelihood that both the buyer and seller strike a fair deal. That way everyone wins, and both parties can feel good about the transaction.

Get the Most from Your Home Inspection

Purchasing a new home should be one of the most monumental and rewarding financial decisions you make in your lifetime.

Your ideal home is the place you will likely spend many years — perhaps it is even the place you’ll start a family.

Home inspections are an essential part of the home buying process, especially since lenders often require a copy of home inspection documents before loans can be approved. Despite their upfront cost, home inspections should be viewed and treated as an investment to help save you thousands of dollars down the road.

Home inspections are the primary guard preventing buyers from committing to a house that might have unseen structural flaws, and, if done properly, may even lead to a lower negotiated price from the seller.

Assuming you have already hired a reputable home inspector, here are a few additional helpful tips to ensure you get the most out of your home inspection and make a sound investment in your new home.

Be Prepared:

Arrange time in your schedule so you are able to attend the home inspection yourself. Home inspections on average take two to three hours to complete -so consider your afternoon or morning booked.

The inspections typically cover the following areas of the home: the structural features, plumbing systems, heating, cooling and ventilation systems, major appliances, the roof, attic and exterior, and electrical wiring.

Take a quick walk through your home prior to the home inspection and note any problems you can see with your own eyes, such as a bowing ceiling, cracked walls, or any signs of pests and rodents.

Remember that a home inspection, unfortunately, does not cover every aspect of the home; if you notice any presence of pests, asbestos, radon gas, lead paint, and toxic mold exist, you should immediately call the specialists in these areas to supplement your home inspection.

Ask Questions:

Take a notepad with you during the home inspection in order to write down questions that you’ll want answered later. Double check that the inspector is covering all areas of your home, and that they are made aware of any additional problems you noticed in your own previous run-through of the home.

You will get more out of the inspection if you are noting issues in the house as the inspector points them out. That way, the home inspector can explain the importance of each defect, answer any questions you may have about the future consequences of any damage, and also point out maintenance guidelines that will prepare you for future home improvement projects.

As the home inspector points out issues with the home, ask to be shown exactly where the problem area is, so you can both get a look for yourself as well as relay the issue to the seller.

Ask the inspector how essential systems in your home work, and wherever a major issue is discovered, inquire about whom you should call for repairs as well as the estimated cost of repairs.

Every question you ask will provide you further clarification regarding the true price of investing in the home and ultimately whether or not it’s worth the purchase.

Remember, there is no such thing as a silly question during a home inspection -simply reading a finished home inspection report cannot and will not answer every important question you have about cost and repairs.

Evaluate Fully:

You should receive a written report of your home inspection a few days after it takes place detailing any potential problems the inspector found with suggestions on how to fix them, sometimes with an estimate of the repair costs.

If the report shows significant issues, for example, severe structural issues or faulty plumbing, consult with other home repair professionals for a detailed quote.

If the cost of repairs is steep, you can either negotiate with the seller on the purchase price, ask that they do the repairs themselves, or establish a repair escrow to fix the damage in the future.

If the report shows that the home is in good condition, you can more confidently purchase your home while knowing that you’ve made a sound investment in a property that won’t fail you during the coming years.

Bottom Line

Home inspections are a crucial and invaluable piece of the home buying and selling process. You owe it to yourself to get the most from your home inspection — so be present, ask questions, and prepare for unseen defects.



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