Let's Talk About Home Inspections!

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There are so many questions surrounding home inspections, it’s almost hard to begin! But let’s start at the very beginning…

Q: What does a home inspection cover?

A: Well, the home inspection clause in the average contract (“average” being the operative word) can change time frames, but typically states that the buyer has __ days to have their inspections performed. Generally speaking, that can include a whole house inspection (primarily what we’re talking about here), but also an electrical inspection, plumbing inspection, roofing inspection, radon inspection, lead paint inspection, structural inspection… the list goes on.

At the end of the time period designated in the contract, the buyer typically prepares a list of “must fix” items, and presents that to the seller. Usually, there is some negotiation- what will be fixed, what credited by seller, etc."

A. But what does a whole house inspection cover, anyway??

Q. In short, the whole house inspector should be doing “everything” you would do living in the house, but condensed into a couple of hours. That means…

Running the faucets, turning on appliances, running the air conditioning and/ or heat to ensure that’s functioning well, flushing toilets, checking out the outlets, switches, inspecting the panel box for any glaring issues, looking at the roof, gutter system, etc.

Q. What will they/ can they NOT do?

A. They can’t see through walls (although lots of inspectors now have infrared cameras that can, to a degree- detecting insulation issues/ heat and cooling loss, water intrusion, etc. They can’t predict how YOU will use the house. Running the faucet and checking the drain in the shower does not (and cannot) equate to having 5 kids taking a shower one right after another.

There are other issues that the home inspector for which may suggest a specialist (think of them as your general practitioner- sometimes a specialist is called for). These areas often include the roof, chimney, radon and other environmental issues, and in more rare circumstances, the electrical and plumbing systems, to name just a few.

Q. Who pays for the inspection?

A. If you’re the buyer, you typically can have all the inspections you desire, but you have to pay for them.

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Q. What if they don’t catch something?

A. Weeeelllll, unfortunately, we’re all human, and obviously, sometimes this happens. There are things they simply can’t see or check, and things that work on Wednesday, but decide to conk out on Friday.

No price range, no purchase, is immune to what I call the inevitable “Oh sh*t” moment. (Also known as part of the joys of home ownership!)

Q. What if I don’t like the results of the inspection?

A. Read the contract! (And have a knowledgeable real estate professional counsel you.) In most cases, you can’t just “get out” of a contract if you don’t love what the home inspection says. However, all parties do have to agree on any repairs, or either party typically can walk away with no penalty. (Key word being “typically!”)

I could actually go on, and on, and on, about home inspections (maybe this post needs to be more of a series?) But ultimately, having a skilled inspector, and skilled real estate professional, on your team will help decode so much of this, and put you in the best position to get a home you are comfortable with owning.

As always, if you have any questions, call me, message, or email. I’m happy to answer any questions regarding inspections, or anything else in the home buying process!