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Importance of Home inspection in a home buying and selling process

Updated: Apr 24, 2022

What is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is a process where a qualified home inspector examines the safety and condition of the real estate property and provides a report. It is a very important step to consider during both the buying and selling process of a home. They usually examine the interior structure, exterior structure, plumbing system, electrical system, sewage etc from the foundation to the roof and look for the signs of damage caused by water, fire, insects etc to assess the real condition of the property before buying and selling. After the property's condition is assessed, the home inspector provides a Home Inspection Report. A home inspector may only be able to assess the problematic areas, for example, defects in the structure of a home may only be corrected by hiring a proper structure engineer.

What is a Home Inspection Contingency?

Home Inspection contingency is a clause added to the purchase contract before buying the home. It typically means that the offer to buy the home depends on the results obtained from the home inspection report. The buyer may decide to cancel the contract or negotiate the repairs to be taken care of with the sellers. Usually the contract offers the buyers a time period of 7-10 days to respond to the sellers of any objections or negotiations regarding the inspection report from the date the purchase contract is signed. The contract is not legally binding until the period ends. The rules of the Home inspection and the number of days vary from state to state and in some states, they are added as a clause in the purchase agreement. Usually the negotiation between the buyers and sellers are done within the time period in writing.

Usual items the home inspectors look for during inspection

Usually the home inspectors look through the home from foundation to the roof to assess the property's condition but is done only on the areas that are visible to the inspector. These are some of the things that are checked during an inspection.

  • HVAC system - HVAC is the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. Inspector usually checks whether the furnace, heater, air conditioning system, thermostat etc function properly. They also look for any gas odor, cleanliness of the air filters, visible rust formation on the air conditioning system.

  • Water Damage and plumbing - They look for any visible water damages or any evidence of leaks, any visible rust in the water heater system and also check whether the water pressure is within the range.

  • Electrical safety issues - They usually check whether the wiring systems are proper and the cables are properly secured and protected.

  • Foundational Issues - They usually check whether the foundation is free from major cracks and the structural integrity of the home. They look whether any areas of the home are sunken, there are any trouble closing the door or windows etc.

  • Bathrooms and Kitchen - They usually check the faucets, flow of water, cold and hot water, draining of water flow in the sink or tub.

  • Appliances - They usually check whether the appliances such as Dishwasher, Stoves, Refrigerators, Oven, Washer and dryer etc work properly. They also check for the functioning of the Garbage disposal, proper installation of Carbon monoxide detectors.

  • Attic - Any signs of infestation of rats, water stains, proper insulation, proper ventilation is checked because if the ventilation is not proper, it may lead to mold growth because of the moisture content in the air.

  • Basement - Basement is usually checked to see whether there are any signs of water damage, mold growth, damaged walls etc.

  • Interior structure - Walls, ceilings and floors are checked for water stains, mold damage, damaged walls or ceilings, uneven flooring, working of light switches, water damage, peeling paint are usually checked.

  • Roof - If the inspector checks the roof, they usually look for the gutters, flashing or any missing shingles.

  • Yard - They check for the drainage system and proper installation of sprinklers.

Importance of Home inspection in a home buying and selling process
Importance of Home inspection in a home buying and selling process

How long does it take?

The home inspection usually take around 2-4 hours to be completed depending on the size of the home, age of the home, condition of the home. Usually a home inspection costs a couple hundred dollars and the charges are usually taken care of by the buyer. Sometimes the seller hires a home inspector before selling the home to make sure the home doesn't have any major issues and fix it beforehand before putting the home on the market. Usually it takes around 1-2 days to receive the home inspection report.

Why is an inspection important in home buying process?

A home inspection is a very important step to consider while buying a home as it gives a peace of mind to the buyer to know the property's condition. It gives a clear idea for the buyer about what they are going to acquire and a chance to walk away from the contract if the home had some major issues which might cost a fortune in the future. For example, the home may be in a working condition now, but it might become a major issue in a few years because of the foundational issue or a structural defect. This might become evident during an inspection.

Home inspector may also be able to find the age of heaters, plumbing systems, air conditioning system, water heaters etc approximately as everything in a home has a shelf life. This helps the buyer to plan future costs or plan the homeowners insurance accordingly. Doing a home inspection is comparatively inexpensive as it may help in avoiding any major costs after buying the home. It also helps make the buyer aware of any illegal remodel of the building against the building codes.

Why is an inspection important in home selling process?

Doing a home inspection beforehand before listing the property for sale may help the sellers to sell their home for a higher price as the buyers usually negotiate and ask the sellers to reduce the price of the home which might not go in seller's favor. Fixing all the repairs after the buyer's inspection may prolong the process of selling your home and delay closing. You may not be able to receive all the money spent on repairs back, but it might make the home look more attractive to the buyers and makes the selling process faster.

Steps to take after receiving the home inspection report

After receiving an inspection report, it is advisable to prioritize dealing with the major issues of the home first. The buyer may ask the seller to take care of the following repairs before closing or the buyer may contact a contractor to make an estimate of how much does it cost to take care of the repairs. As some damages like water damage, foundational damage, mold etc might cause some serious expenditure. It is a negotiation done between the buyer and seller as to how they want to proceed in fixing the issue. If an agreement is made between the buyer and seller to pay for the repairs, the amount decided may be added as a credit to buyer during closing. If the buyer is not satisfied with the negotiation or the seller does not agree to fix certain major repairs, then the buyer has the option to walk away from the home buying process.

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