Buying a new home can be an incredibly intimidating process. A home is more than just a place to lay down at night. Many of us are familiar with the phrase “home is where the heart is”, and while this phrase is unapologetically a cliché, it does hold true for so many of us.
Oftentimes, we have wonderful memories about our childhood homes or the homes of our close relatives and friends. It is only natural to want to find a new home that gets you excited about making new memories that you’ll treasure down the road. One thing that none of us want is to buy the perfect new home only to be surprised a month later with a major structural issue that needs to be fixed. This is where home inspections come into play.
In this article, we will talk about what home inspections are as well as cover some tips to keep in mind as a buyer.
What Are Home Inspections?
A home inspection is a non-invasive examination of the condition of the structure and systems of a real estate property. These inspections are conducted by a trained and certified home inspector who will assess the safety of the property as well as inventory any damages or necessary repairs.
Home inspections usually take place after a buyer has made an offer on a property that has been accepted by the seller. The buyer can then hire a home inspector — because a home inspection is a process that helps the buyer identify the state of the property they are purchasing, oftentimes it is up to the buyer to hire and pay for the home inspector — and proceed with the inspection.
Finally, a home inspection is not to be confused with a home appraisal. There are a few major differences between an inspection and an appraisal. The most important one is that a home appraisal determines the value of the property whereas a home inspection determines the condition of the property. Additionally, the seller will organize a home appraisal, but a home inspection is often up to the buyer to organize.
Why Do a Home Inspection?
A home inspection will help you to see what repairs are needed before moving into the house. A home could look perfect at first, however a major structural or systemic issue would need to be addressed and can add to the overall price of the purchase.
This is why many buyers add a home inspection contingency to their real estate contract. This contingency states that the purchase of the property is contingent on the findings of the home inspection. Basically, this means that the findings in a home inspection can be used to negotiate price reductions or pre-closing repairs with the seller or outright cancel the sale. Note, however, that a home inspection contingency must be added to your real estate contract to negotiate or cancel the sale due to the home inspection findings.
The Process: What Buyers Need to Know
The home inspection process can be broken down into 4 simple steps:
1. The Home Inspector
Ultimately the decision of who does your home inspection is up to you. Many real estate agents can recommend one for you if you need it. Be sure to check that the inspector or company only does inspections and does not provide repair services. This is so that they do not mislead you into making expensive and unnecessary repairs.
2. The Day of the Inspection
While your home inspector is the expert, it is important that you are with them during the inspection and able to see any damages or issues yourself and can ask questions. Discuss any questions about the home with your inspector, instead of only reading the inspection report. This will give you a more in-depth understanding of your home.
3. The Report
When the inspection is over, the inspector will give you the report that notes all of the major features and issues that would require (or could use) addressing. As it is their job to note every flaw that they see in their inspection, these reports can be quite long — especially for larger houses. A good inspector will walk you through the entire report so that you are sure to understand everything.
4. The Negotiation
If your report notes significant damages, you may be able to negotiate a price reduction with the seller or have them cover the repair costs. Only negotiate the cost for the more major repairs, this will result in the highest chance of success in negotiating the price of the sale.
Parts of a Home Inspection
The inspector will examine the major parts of the house to assess its condition. These parts include:
1. Structure — this is the house’s building skeleton, the founding, and framing
2. Exterior — this includes the roof, driveway, sidewalks, doors, steps, siding, decks, etc
3. Interior — this includes ceilings, walls, floors, windows, doors, attics, and basements
4. Electrical Systems and Plumbing — this includes breakers and fuses, control panels, heating, cooling, ventilation, insulation, water supply, hot water, and drainage
Home Inspection Tips
Buyers should keep these things in mind regarding home inspections:
- Make sure to accompany your home inspector during the inspection.
- Take note of the major points that come up in the inspection.
- Call contractors or repair companies to determine repair estimates for the necessary repairs.
- Not everything included in the inspection report needs to be fixed.
- Use the home inspection findings to negotiate price reductions or repair cost coverage with the seller.
- Make sure to ask questions during the inspection.
Home inspections are a crucial part of buying a home. It can seem intimidating, but following our steps, tips, and tricks, it will be a breeze! FresYes is here to help you through your house-hunting process in the Fresno area.