What to expect during a Home Inspection

Whether you are selling For Sale by Owner, Flat Fee Broker or with a Traditional Real Estate Agent, an inspection is a must to protect both the buyers and sellers.

A home inspection generally takes two to four hours, but may take more time depending on the size of the house. A home inspector will look at a house’s HVAC system, plumbing/electrical systems, roof, attic, floors, windows, doors, foundation, basement and structural components, then provide a detailed written report with results and photos.

This a big day for both the sellers and buyers of the property, and stress can run high. Both parties should remember that no house is perfect. There will be compromises by both parties during this process. This is where most deals fall apart, so both parties should take a deep breath and try to look at the house objectively.

Buyers should always attend the inspection, and sellers should give the buyers the space to look at the house privately. There will be things that come up and the buyers will need to process them. Buyers can explore the new home in detail and ask questions as they go. This process can give you much more information than the report alone.

If you are the home seller, here is how to prepare.

– Leave all keys and label them (electric panel, garages, closets, ect)

– Make sure all pilot lights are on for fireplaces and furnaces, so the inspector can check heating and other appliances

– Tidy your basement/attic spaces. There needs to be an unobstructed path down the steps and through to your furnace/HVAC unit/water heater and anything else that needs inspecting.

– Clean up key areas in your yard, so the inspector won’t need a machete to get to your crawl space, drainage access points or septic tank.

– If the home is vacant and the utilities have been shut off, have them reconnected. The inspector will need to test all utilities. Turning them on is the seller’s responsibility.

Should I preform a pre-listing inspection?

Sometimes, sellers hire a home inspector before they first list the home. That can reassure potential purchasers, and it can provide the owner with a chance to fix issues ahead of the marketing of the property.

However, not all buyers are willing to accept a report paid for by the seller. In fact, experts recommend that buyers choose their own inspector, someone without ties to either the seller or the selling agent.

Who pays for a home inspection?

The buyer usually pays for the home inspection. However, everything is negotiable.

How much is a home inspection?

HomeAdvisor regularly publishes nationwide average costs for home inspections. They state, in 2018, inspections range from $277-$388, though you may pay below $200 or well over $400, depending on where you live and size of the home.

As with most things in life, the cheapest isn’t always the best. Especially if your state doesn’t license home inspectors, make sure yours is sufficiently qualified and experienced to do a good job — and doesn’t cut corners. Choosing an ASHI member may add some reassurance about your pick’s competence and ethical standards.

Are there follow-up costs?

Careful buyers, or ones alerted to potential problems by the inspector, may want to commission further reports from specialists concerning the possible presence of:

– Termites

– Asbestos

– Lead piping or paint

– Mold

– Radon Gas

– Electrical Issues

– Plumbing Problems

– Structural Issues

My report lists dozens of defects! What should I do?

Most reports list dozens of defects. Some run into three figures. That’s because there’s no such thing as a perfect home.

What should concern you is not the quantity but the seriousness of the home’s issues. Many will be so minor you won’t bother fixing them, even though you know they’re there. The last owner didn’t. But some can be deal-breakers. Talk to your home inspector, contractor and real estate agent about your best ways forward.

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