Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or you’ve purchased and sold homes countless times, a home inspection is a vital part of the home-buying process. Inspections protect the buyer from unforeseen expenses – possibly saving you tens of thousands of dollars down the road – and help to ensure the property’s safety for you and your family.
Hence, while a home inspection is not cheap, it should never be neglected.
A buyer can expect a typical home inspection to last two to three hours. They should be present to discuss the inspector’s findings and, if necessary, ask questions for clarification. A good inspector will note whether the issues they have found are a safety concern, major defect, or minor defect. Furthermore, the inspector should document which items need to be replaced, repaired, or serviced.
While it’s impossible to list every single item a home inspector will review, here’s a general list of items that buyers should expect to see reviewed within a home inspection report:
Most inspectors will not look inside walls (no cutting of drywall or insulation), pipes or sewer lines, chimneys, or behind electrical panels.
Now that we understand what items a home inspection includes, let’s review three reasons why a buyer should never skip a home inspection.
A home inspector will check for several items specific to your health and safety including radon, carbon monoxide, and mold. It’s a good idea to know whether or not your purchase contract states that upon such hazards being detected, you have the option to back out of purchasing the property. After all, the safety and well-being of your family are of the utmost importance.
Home inspections are even more critical if the buyer is purchasing a bank-owned property that is being sold in “as-is” condition. Commonly known as a foreclosed property or short sale, these types of transactions must include a home inspection, as properties that have been boarded up for considerable lengths of time often develop hazardous mold problems which can be costly to repair and lead to health complications if not resolved properly. In this case, a home inspection will enable the buyer to gather estimates and budget for any necessary repairs.
A home inspection can also reveal whether rooms, altered garage spaces, or basement renovations were completed without a permit or not completed to code. These types of illegal home renovations will impact the new owners in a number of ways that include, but are not limited to, insurance, taxes, usability, and overall home value. If undetected, these issues will become the obligation of the new homeowner to resolve, costing both time and money.
Most home inspections reveal at least a few items that need to be repaired or replaced prior to the new owner taking possession of the property. It’s at this point in the home-buying process that the buyer must decide how to proceed with the home inspection results.
If the issues are too significant or too expensive to resolve, the buyer may choose to walk away from the purchase completely (provided the purchase contract includes an inspection contingency). However, many buyers will simply ask the seller to either fix the problems prior to closing (and provide proof) or reduce the purchase price/provide a cash credit at closing to accommodate the cost of repairs that need to be made.
At GoPrime, our local lenders are ready to help you through every step of the home buying process! Connect with us today to get started on your path to homeownership.