Home Inspections

Today I want to talk real quick about HOME INSPECTIONS.

I get lots of questions about them and where they fit in the sale of a house from both sides, so  I hope this information will benefit both buyers and sellers.

So what happens with the inspection? I get this a lot.

But before I get to that,  just a little side note. With the market right now, some buyers are getting very aggressive with their offers and opting out of having the home they want to buy inspected in order to make their offer seem more attractive since it’s one less condition for the seller to worry about. While I can appreciate that it can be incredibly frustrating to not have your offer picked over others, maybe even few times, you should really give it some serious thought before using that strategy. As a REALTOR, talking to a buyer, except in the odd unique situation, I will always recommend an inspection.

So….with that out of the way….home inspections. What happens? Well….

From a Seller’s point of view, It can be a little nerve wracking, but there are things you can do to prepare for a smooth inspection.You can even go as far as booking a pre-listing inspection if you like. They’re not very common around here, but it is an option. There are pros and cons taking this route which for the sake of time I won’t go in to today, but I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have on the subject.

So, short of a pre-listing inspection, as a seller, what can you do? Well, ensuring basic things are in order can help to have a more positive inspection outcome.

Making sure maintenance on all mechanical equipment such as heating systems or your air exchanger is up to date. Checking to see if everything is functioning as it should. This can anything from your furnace right down to a light bulb. Ensuring any updates or renos you’ve done are up to code.  Checking your plumbing for any leaks and have them repaired. Ensuring all areas of access are clear for the inspector such as your electrical panel, the furnace or heat pump area, water entrance, sump pit, attic access and crawl space access.

From a buyer’s point of view, if this is your first experience with a home inspector, let me tell you that you will likely be very impressed. These folks are thorough and very knowledgeable.Your inspector will check all of the mechanical systems, plumbing, electrical, roof, structure, insulation, moisture, and anything else you can possibly think of! Depending on the size of the home, an inspection can take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours.  

In order for the inspector to do his or her job properly, as the buyer, you won’t be there for the entire inspection, but most inspectors will ask you to come towards the end and take the last half hour or so to give you a walk through, explaining their findings.As a buyer it can be a little overwhelming to try to absorb all the information you will get during the walk through, but don’t worry, as part of your inspection you’ll also get a very detailed report of the inspection. These are very well organized, generally with some kind of coding system to let you know which issues need immediate attention, which are ones to keep an eye on, some general observations, and maintenance tips. They usually also include a summary which is great, because you can use that as a sort of a quick reference.

Ok, so the inspection is done and the results are in. Now what?

Well, hopefully the inspection didn’t bring out any major issues and everyone is happy! Great.

This does happen, but wether you’re the buyer or the seller, you should be prepared for the fact that the inspector very likely found issues. It’s normal. If you think about it, a house is built by humans, and as we all know, we’re not perfect (even though some might think they are), a house settles with seasonal temperature changes with makes things move, it has mechanical systems with lots of moving parts, it’s constantly dealing with changes in moisture levels,  and depending on the age of the house, there will probably be some wear and tear as well.

When issues do pop up there are a few option to handle them. The buyer can accept the issues as they are, and continue as planned. 

The buyer and seller can agree on specific issues to address. Here, you’ll want to be clear on a timeframe for the work to be completed, who will be responsible for the expenses, and agree on who will do the work. Can a family member or friend do it DIY style, or should it be done by a  professional? And what are the consequences if the work is not completed as agreed? Is it a reduction in price? Or cash back? (which the banks don’t like by the way) Does it delay closing? 

The buyer and seller can agree on a price reduction to offset the cost of the work to be done. Or in extreme cases, the buyer can decide to walk away from the deal all together. This one is always disappointing for both sides. But from a buyer’s stand point especially, it’s exactly why you have the inspection form part of your offer in the first place. It’s protection. If an agreement can’t be reached with the seller, it can save you a whole lot of headaches and expenses down the road.