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What You Need To Know About The Home Inspection Process

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You found the house you want to call home, but before you sign on the dotted line to make it official, your first order of action should include a home inspection.

You now have only a few days from when you signed the purchase and sales agreement to have an inspection per your contract.

Chances are your real estate agent made the offer contingent upon a satisfactory inspection as well as obtaining mortgage financing. This article is going to outline what a home inspection is, why it is important, and other pertinent information you need to know about the home inspection process.

What Is A Home Inspection?

A home inspection is a limited, non-invasive examination of the condition of a home, often occurring during the process of a home sale. This is usually conducted by a home inspector who has the training and certifications to perform such inspections.

The inspector prepares a written report, often using software, and delivers it to a client, typically the home buyer. The buyer uses the knowledge gained from the home inspection to make informed decisions about their pending real estate purchase. The home inspector describes the condition of the home at the time of inspection but does not guarantee future condition, efficiency, or life expectancy of systems or components”. It is not the job of the home inspector to estimate the market value or to let you know you got a good deal on the price of the home. This is done typically through an appraiser.

Why Have an Inspection?

Buying a home is the single most expensive investment many of us will ever make. A home inspection is designed to provide the home buyer with the information they need to make a more informed decision about the property. The report should clearly identify any potential significant defects and give the home buyer a realistic estimate of the costs of repairs so that they can be negotiated in an updated purchase contract.  An inspection should also highlight any areas or features that need to be addressed in the near future which may be reaching the end of their useful life span.

What’s the Cost?

The home buyer generally has to pay for the inspection up front, but there may be an agreement in the purchase contract for the seller to reimburse those fees at the time of closing. Home inspection fees vary from state to state. An estimated cost of a home inspection is around $250-$400, depending on what services have been selected, as well as where the house is located. In addition to the general home inspection, there are many common services that home buyers also choose to have performed when having a home inspection. These additional services are not typically included in the general home inspection fee.

Optional Services:

  • Wood Destroying Pests (WDO) – Mandatory for most VA Loans
  • Radon gas
  • Lead base paint (homes built before 1978)
  • Asbestos
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Pools, spas, barns, or other external structures
  • Docks and sea walls
  • Underground sprinkler systems
  • Septic

Once the inspection is completed, the buyer generally has seven days to put in writing the “request for repairs” required by the seller to make prior to taking possession of the home. The sellers may not be obligated to make every repair, so make sure you read the purchase and sales contract carefully to make sure the agreement does not state that the home may be sold in “as is” condition.

The Home Inspection Process:

A home inspection should include an examination of all major systems, including the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, electrical, and appliance systems. The home inspector will also look at the structural components, such as the roof, foundation, basement, exterior and interior walls, chimney, doors, and windows. It is recommended that the home buyer and/or representing buyer’s agent be present at the time of the home inspection.

A typical home inspection can take between 1 ½ hours to 3 hours, depending on the size and condition of the home. Remember you are paying for the home inspection. Follow the home inspector around and ask questions about the condition of your home and how to maintain it.

The attached link will help give you a better idea of what happens during a home inspection provided by the American Society of Home Inspectors’ visual home inspection demonstration video. CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO

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