A home inspection is a visual examination of the home’s condition and takes place after Contract Ratification and before Closing as part of the Escrow Process. The buyer of a home will arrange and schedule the home inspection. Home inspectors are trained and certified to inspect the condition of the home including all systems, foundation and roof structure, appliances and all of the various parts of the property. The inspection usually lasts 2-3 hours and costs $200-$500 and ranges depending on the size of the home.
Buying a home is a major investment. A home inspection is vitally important because it makes the seller and buyer aware of the home’s condition and mitigates the risk of the buyer’s investment. A home inspection is part of the buyer’s due diligence.
Not every seller is aware of the problems that exist in a home. Full disclosure of the purchase will allow the buyer to make an informed decision with confidence and avoid unforeseen complications associated with the purchase of the home. No home is perfect and there will always be issues in home inspections even in new construction homes.
A home inspection is the time for the buyer to voice concerns and ask questions. The buyer should accompany the home inspector during the home inspection. Accompanying the home inspector will allow the buyer to get a feel for what problems are major and which are relatively minor.
A home inspector will inspect the following:
Framing and construction of the roof, basement, and foundation.
Heating system, water heater, air conditioning system, the condition of plumbing and pipe materials and fixtures such as toilets, sinks, showers, faucets.
Electrical system and all the circuit breakers and main panel, along with wiring, exhaust fans, ceiling fans, and light fixtures.
Exterior of the home, the driveways, fences, doors, and windows. Landscaping, elevation, draining will also be inspected along with all the attached structures of the building.
Once the inspector completes the examination, he/she will present a written report of their findings to the buyer. If the inspector finds problems, it doesn’t mean you should or shouldn’t buy the home. The report is given to the buyer so the buyer knows in advance what to expect. The seller is not required to make every repair found by the home inspector but it is in the interest of both the buyer and seller to negotiate who is responsible for the repairs prior to closing.
In most residential real estate transactions a home inspection is a condition or “contingency” of the contract, but some contracts can waive the inspection or state that the buyer is buying the property “as-is”, which means no repairs will be made. It is suggested by Realtors not waive the home inspection contingency when negotiating the purchase contract as it is a vital part of the buyer’s due diligence and fact finding. But, it is possible to include the home inspection clause and insert language that says “Inspection is for informational purposes only.” However, buyer’s should consult the advice of their Realtor before offering that. The home inspection contingency varies by state so be clear of the contract before you sign it.
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