Over the years, home inspections have become an integral part of purchasing a home. We are fortunate with the fact that today there are many good, licensed professional inspectors who are well qualified to look over the home you are purchasing and give you a complete report on the homes strengths and weaknesses.
My advice would be to never purchase a home before having it inspected by a professional. The other part of my advice would be for the buyer to not neceessarily use this report to negotiate further on the price of the home or to use it to try to get a better purchase deal. The purpose of the inspection is to determine if there are any major problems with the home, get advice on maintaining the home and also determine areas that could potentially be problems down the road. The Buyer has the right to ask for repairs to be made; but the Seller also has the right to say no to those requests. The worst thing a home buyer can do is to ask the home seller to repair every issue found on the report. In many cases this can become a deal killer or take away the buyers ability to get any major issues resolved.
For many first-time buyers, buying a home can be a scary experience. They know they'll be maintaining or improving a home with little to no maintenance experience, so the solution is to buy a home in perfect condition. So they hire a home inspector to point out all the flaws.
The problem is -- no perfect home exists. Air conditioners break, plumbing pipes leak, and roof tiles blow off in the wind...
If you're buying a home, start with a reasonable expectation of what home inspectors can do. Their job is to inform you about the integrity and condition of what you're buying, good and bad.
A home inspection should take several hours, long enough to cover all built-in appliances, all mechanical, electrical, gas and plumbing systems, the roof, foundation, gutters, exterior skins, windows and doors.
An inspector doesn't test for pests or sample the septic tank. For those, you need industry-specific inspectors.
Here's what else you need to do.
1. Make sure the inspector you hire is licensed. The responsibilities of home inspectors vary according to state law and their areas of expertise.
2. Ask what the inspection covers. Some inspection companies have extensive divisions that can provide environmental for radon and lead paint. Be prepared to hire and schedule several inspectors according to your lender's requirements and to pay several hundred dollars for each type of inspection.
3. Some inspection reports only cover the main house, not other buildings on the property. For specialty inspections such as termites, make sure the inspection covers all buildings on the property including guest houses, detached garages, storage buildings, etc.
4. Attend the inspection and follow along with the inspectors. Seeing problems for yourself will help you understand what's serious, what needs replacement now or later, and what's not important.
5. Don't expect the seller to repair or replace every negative found on the report. If you're getting a VA or FHA-guaranteed loan, some items aren't negotiable and the seller must address them. Otherwise, pick your battles with the seller carefully.
Once the inspector completes an evaluation, you will receive a report with the inspector’s findings. Don’t be alarmed if you see a lot of deficiencies noted. Home inspections are detailed, so reports often include between 50 and 100 issues, most of which are relatively small.
The report should include information about how severe each listed problem is. Ask the inspector for clarifications on this if necessary.
A home inspection points out problems, they also point out what's working well. If the inspection finds more problems than you’re comfortable dealing with, you can choose to back out of the sale or try to negotiate to have the seller make some repairs or lower the price. If you’re satisfied with the condition of the home or the shape it will be in after the seller meets the arrangements of your negotiations, you can move into your new home with more peace of mind.
If you know anyone who is thinking of selling, or purchasing a home, please contact me. I guarantee a service that will far exceed expectations.
Have an awesome week!
Real Estate Broker, Realtor ®
Certified Real Estate Specialist
Broadmoor Realty, Inc.
5500 E Atherton Street Suite 310
Long Beach, CA 90815
DRE # 00552325
Phone: (562) 857-4936
Fax: (562) 741-4624