If you’re buying or selling a home, it’s important to understand what a home inspection entails and how it affects the sale or purchase of a house.
What Is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the structure and systems of a home by a neutral third party. Basically, it shows you what’s wrong with the property and if it is serious enough to prevent a sale.
(Note: An inspection does not concern code violations and therefore does not guarantee that the home is free of them.)
The three main points of the inspection are to;
1. Evaluate the physical condition of the home
2. Identify items in need of repair or replacement
3. Estimate the remaining useful life of the major systems, equipment, structure and finishes.
An inspector cannot report on defects that are not visible, such as defects hidden behind finished walls or beneath carpeting, and inaccessible areas. Seasonally inoperable systems (swamp coolers, air conditioning, furnaces) will not be turned on during the inspection.
Hiring an Inspector
To hire an inspector, get recommendations from your Realtor, or from friends and family. You can also find home inspectors in the phone book under “Home Inspection Services.” When interviewing inspectors, be sure to ask for references and memberships in professional associations. Find out about the inspector’s professional training and experience.
It’s a good idea to be present during the inspection for a few reasons: you can ask the inspector questions during the inspection, the inspector will have the opportunity to point out areas of potential trouble, and many inspectors also will offer maintenance tips as the inspection progresses.
Making Suggested Repairs
The seller is not required to make any repairs or replacements. The sellers are on their way out. If the property is moving toward closing, they’re likely packing and dreaming of their life post-sale. The last thing they want to do is repair work on their old home. They may not approach the work with the same conscientiousness that you, as the new owner, would. They may not even treat the work as a high priority.
If you take a cash-back credit at close of escrow, you can use that money to complete the project yourself. Chances are you may do a better job than the seller, too.
Finally, if you get the credit, there will be less back-and-forth to confirm that the seller correctly made the repairs.