As difficult as it is to reign in the excitement, it’s in every buyer’s best interest to not grow attached to a potential home until it’s passed an inspection by a certified professional.
Unlike an appraisal, the home inspection will shed light on if the home requires minor or major repairs. While some items on the repair checklist are negligible, any work involving the foundation, heating and cooling systems, plumbing or electrical systems, can prove costly. Having a full scope of the necessary work can give you some negotiating power, or, in a worst-case scenario, give you an acceptable reason to back out.
After the contract has been signed, a certified home inspector is usually hired immediately to perform a comprehensive inspection of the home and to provide a detailed report of their findings. As a precaution, ensure there is a clause in your sales contract confirming your final obligation to purchase the home depends on the results of the inspector’s comprehensive report.
As a Buyer
- You hire your own home inspector – talk with people you trust and get their recommendations.
- Visit American Society of Home Inspectors to find a local expert.
- Check your contract and confirm there is an inspection contingency clause stating your final purchase obligation is conditional on the results of the professional home inspection.
- Provide the inspector with a list of any questions or concerns you have about the property.
- Plan to be present and get a firsthand explanation of the inspector’s findings.
- Budget enough time to be there – a typical inspection lasts between two and three hours long.
- Prepare to review the extensive written report after the inspection is completed.
- Set realistic expectations – every home has flaws.
- If major problems are discovered and you feel uncomfortable moving forward, know you have the right to ask the seller to make repairs or counteroffer.
As a Seller
- Fix dripping faucets, leaks or clogged drains.
- Ensure smoke detectors are installed and in good working order.
- Replace burned out or missing light bulbs.
- Change the air filters in your cooling system.
- Tighten loose door knobs, door hinges, kitchen and bathroom cabinet knobs or handles.
- Make sure all windows open and close smoothly and that there are no broken locks.
- Remember to groom the outdoors – trim trees and shrubs away from the home’s exterior.
- Prepare a list of any recent repairs or renovations, including the dates/costs and attach receipts.
- Thoroughly clean inside and outside – an unkempt home suggests inattentive owners.
- Be ready to hand the inspector over keys to check all doors and locks.
- If the home isn’t occupied, arrange to have all utilities (electricity, gas, water, etc.) connected.
- Make sure the pilot lights on the stove, furnace and water heater are lit.
- Clear the areas surrounding electrical panels, appliances, etc.
- Secure an offsite location for pets while the inspector is working.
- Plan to leave the home for at least three hours.
If you would like to learn more, contact us online or call 800-317-7463 to have a PrimeLending loan officer provide insight.