Once you’ve found a home you want to buy and signed a real estate contract, you’ll typically want to order a professional home inspection. While getting an inspection is generally not required, and the cost is usually your responsibility, it is a highly recommended step to help protect you from potentially costly surprises with the home’s condition. If you’ve never experienced a home inspection before or just need a refresher, here’s what to expect.
What’s a home inspection?
When you hire someone to conduct a home inspection, they will inspect the entire home to give you an assessment of its condition. This includes evaluating elements of the physical structure, such as the roof, walls, ceilings, windows and doors, as well as systems, such as major appliances, heating and cooling, plumbing and electrical. The goal of a home inspection is to uncover any undisclosed issues with the home so you can negotiate a repair or another concession from the home’s seller. As the homebuyer, you’ll typically pay the cost of the home inspection, which averages from $300 to $600.
How can you prepare?
Make sure you note any issues that the seller disclosed to you, review the property’s documentation and make a list of any questions or concerns you have about the home. If you’ve conducted a simple inspection by yourself earlier in the homebuying process, you may have specific things you want to bring to the inspector’s attention.
Who’s involved in the process?
Aside from the home inspector, you and your real estate agent should attend the inspection. During the process, you can ask any questions and express any concerns, and your agent should be able to weigh in with their own advice. The seller’s agent may or may not attend the inspection depending on your situation, but if they do, they’ll be able to provide their knowledge of the home and may address any issues that appear.
What happens during a home inspection?
A home inspector will take a few hours to conduct a thorough walkthrough of the home and give you an objective opinion about the condition of the property. They’ll take pictures and notes and talk to you about anything worth mentioning that they see. Typically, home inspectors won’t comment on aesthetic issues, unless it may lead to a bigger issue such as water stains that are indicative of damaging leaks.
What happens after a home inspection?
Once the inspection is complete, you and your agent will discuss any immediate results and next steps, and you’ll receive a home inspection report. If any issues were found, your contract will typically allow you to either negotiate a satisfactory solution with the seller, such as a repair or price cut, or back out of the deal if you’re not satisfied.
With the benefit of a professional inspection by a knowledgeable expert, you can make savvy homebuying decisions. Whether you’re buying a new construction property or a fixer-upper that needs some TLC, a home inspection will help ensure you’re purchasing a home in the condition you expect. If you’re looking for your next home and need financing, get in touch today!